Well, another Buffalo Bills season is about to end, again, without a playoff appearance. It's also apparent there will be some, if not all, of the important positions with vacancies.
Just out of curiosity, does anyone remember who the last player was to play quarterback in a playoff game for the Bills? It was Rob Johnson. Wow, that thought is just depressing. The coach of that team? Wade Phillips. At least Phillips still has a job. We now find ourselves 13 years and six starting quarterbacks later. And if you really want to get serious, since Jim Kelly played his final game in 1996, there has been little to no success at the most important position in the NFL. No wonder this team is now a joke.
Of course, the 2013 NFL Draft is projected to be a very weak quarterback class, and just a year after seeing the best since Kelly's 1983 class. That just figures, doesn't it. My proposition is to bypass any thoughts of taking a quarterback in this coming draft.
Whoa! Hold on! There may be more options than you think.
There's one materializing in our own division. Mark Sanchez, the (former) New York Jets savior, is available. I know, I know, you can't trade within the same division. Well, we got Drew Bledsoe from the New England Patriots. He was thirty at the time, and, in hindsight, he was probably best described as a bust. But Sanchez has far more potential than Bledsoe. He's also never had proper offensive training since donning a USC Trojan uniform. He only started one year at the collegiate level before arriving in NYC. He has all of the physical characteristics necessary to be solid NFL starting quarterback.
Have Rex Ryan and the Big Apple ruined his psyche? Probably, but with the proper tutelage, he could be repaired. How much would he cost? Maybe a 3rd or 4th round pick. I don't see how that wouldn't be worth it, maybe if just for a one-year audition.
Another guy I've had my eye one for quite some time now is Blaine Gabbert. He was starting to look better this year, even without the help of Maurice Jones-Drew, who spent most of the season on the sidelines with an injury.
Gabbert appeared to be getting things, albeit slowly, but he's another example of a player who saw limited action in college and probably jumped to the NFL too early. He was thrown into an absolutely horrible situation last year in Jacksonville. And, except for the emergence of Cecil Shorts and the arrival of Justin Blackmon, the Jacksonville Jaguars still have a less-than-competent offensive line. He's absolutely available, and, can probably be had for about the same price as Sanchez.
The last possible trade candidate I'd like to mention is Kirk Cousins. We've seen the least of him. He spent a year behind Robert Griffin III and has been learning from the Shanahans. He started in place of RGIII last week and the Washington Redskins didn't miss a beat. Cousins, unlike the previous candidates appears to be a winner. He possesses intangibles that seem to elude most quarterbacks. He doesn't, however, have the same prototypical physical attributes of Sanchez and Gabbert. Also, with his showing last week, he could carry a larger price-tag.
My choice: Gabbert. He is the youngest and the most ideal pocket passer. I wrote at the beginning of the last offseason that the Bills should pursue him. Now, an unsuccessful year with an injury later, his price has dropped exponentially. I don't think he's any worse of an option than Matt Barkley, Tyler Wilson, or Landry Jones. I don't think Geno Smith will be around when the Bills pick and his skill set and lack of experience scare me anyway.
But, maybe they shouldn't listen to me. I also said I wanted no part of Russell Wilson because he was too short and lacked a big arm.
The Bills need something, and, with the likelihood of a new staff, hopefully we've seen the last of Ryan Fitzpatrick.