Are the Bills Better Off Without J.P. Losman?

Greg Campbell@GregTheBillsFanSenior Analyst IOctober 13, 2007

IconWith the NFL trade deadline fast approaching, some observers have suggested that the Bills should trade J.P. Losman while they still can.

Losman is under contract with the Bills through the end of the 2008 season. That means this season is very likely his "contract" year.

Losman's play in 2007 will determine the value of his next contract with Buffalo—or whether he'll even be offered one at all.

Is it crazy to call for the Bills to dump a guy whom they've spent four years developing?

2007 was supposed to be Losman's "breakout" season. Unfortunately, he was injured on the first play of the third game—but his performance to that point had hardly been of the "breakout" variety.

After Trent Edwards' first start, I echoed the sentiments of Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News in declaring the beginning of the Trent Edwards Era. Of course that's premature, but I saw in one game from Edwards what I've been wanting to see for three years from Losman.

I've never been a J.P. basher. If you had to label me, in fact, I'd likely fall in the "J.P. Supporter" camp. I do see the upside of Losman.

But in all of two starts, I've seen way more upside from Trent Edwards.

Poise, confidence, composure, quick release, quick decision making, accuracy, arm strength— I'd say on all but the last one Edwards possesses at least a slight edge over Losman.

The main difference between the two is Losman's 30-plus NFL games to Edwards' three. But so far that difference only appears to matter on paper.

I know trades don't happen that often in the NFL, and are especially rare during the season. However, let's look at some positives of moving J.P. Losman right now:

Contract

The Bills will be making a decision this year about whether or not to extend Losman's contract. Has he shown enough in his four years here to warrant an extension?

Maybe the Bills are asking themselves, "Has Edwards shown us enough in just three games?"

If a change is inevitable, it makes sense to make a move now. I think the Bills know what they're going to do with Losman. If they shop him around and find a buyer now, they can get something in return. Not sure that happens in the offseason.

Controversy

Buffalo has had far too many QB controversies since Jim Kelly retired.

Flutie/Johnson, Bledsoe/Flutie, Bledsoe/Losman, Losman/Holcomb...and now the playoff-starved fans are sensing another one.

Losman has never won the hearts of the Buffalo faithful. Not that they hate the kid, mind you—he's just never completely won the city over.

Enter Edwards. Enter controversy.

An immediate trade would end said controversy—and save the rest of the team from distraction.

A Seller's Market

I joked a week or two ago about Atlanta needing a QB because of how awful Joey Harrington is, but now there are even more desperate teams to talk to—desperate enough to bring in 43-year-old QB Vinny Testaverde in Carolina!

Miami, Carolina, St. Louis, and others are all hurting for a good QB. J.P. has the physical talent to be just that.

Desperate teams may be willing to offer something for Losman based on his potential, despite his track record as a Bills starter.

Do it for J.P.

Again, Losman has never won the hearts of Buffalo fans.

He's a likable guy, and I think he's well regarded in the locker room—but from what I've heard and seen, there's more reason for confidence in Edwards.

Sometimes it's best to just move on. With a year left on his contract, J.P. needs to make a good showing—and a trade would allow him to do so, while bringing the Bills some compensation. (Maybe more than they might otherwise get, given the need around the league.)

The dilemma for the Bills is this: Do you take a chance on the kid (Edwards), or do you show some loyalty to a guy you've developed for four years—and who also wears the C on his jersey?

Losman is one of the six captains of the 2007 Buffalo Bills. That has to count for something.

And I believe that's what Dick Jauron thinks as well.

My opinion is that the right move for the Bills—and for J.P. Losman—is to move him right now. There should be some willing takers, even if the deal only nets a draft pick. (The way the Bills have been drafting the past two seasons, that could be a very valuable pick!)

If Edwards is the guy, there's no reason not to pull the trigger.

That said, we'll more than likely see J.P. back under center against Baltimore, and then the NY Jets...and then I'm not sure what will happen.

If Losman plays up to his potential, he keeps his job, and the Bills do have a QB "controversy" on their hands.

If he's mediocre or worse, he rides the pine the rest of the year as the Bills develop Edwards.

The teams has until October 16th to decide. My vote is to let the Edwards Era begin.

We'll have to wait and see how Levy and Jauron rule.

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