This week’s confession will be a little bit of the typical pattern with so much going on. The theme for this confession is the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
The Good: Ed Oliver Cleared
Ed Oliver, being cleared of all charges from his DWI incident in May, is positive in a multitude of ways. First and foremost, for Ed himself, an event this early in his career could have been catastrophic to his development. He was also increasing the odds of him missing multiple games in the future. Getting him in the fold with no lost time after a positive first season is what he needs to reach the level he appears to be capable.
This news also becomes even more positive after the opt-out from Star Lotulelei this past week. The defensive line would have found itself in a world of hurt with Oliver and Star out, and Phillips is coming back of injury and brand new bodies in the fold. This team would have quickly gone from returning the starters from last year to a whole new rotation to begin this season.
I’m not saying you can’t build from scratch, but McDermott and crew always have stressed continuity, especially up front. Coming into the season, I would have viewed this as a strong point for the Bills having reliable continuity. So losing this many pieces early would have been a severe hit to my belief in the Bills being able to get back in the postseason.
The Bad: New Jersey Jets GM Joe Douglas
New Jersey Jets GM Joe Douglas, appears to know what he is doing. On the surface, this may not appear to be a bad thing when you first look at it. Mainly because they still have Adam Gase as the head coach, and to say the least, it is questionable if Gase knows he is the coach sometimes. All and all, though, Douglas is showing me very early that he has a plan and is entirely different from previous GM’s in NJ.
Douglas had what many analysts believe to be a solid draft, and has continued to make moves in the past couple of weeks. Trading Jamal Adams to Seattle, releasing Quincy Enunwa, and Brian Winters all remind me of when Beane took over in Buffalo. Not afraid to make moves that seem a bit silly on the surface, and made significant moves to provide salary cap relief. With just these three moves, the Jets have secured valuable draft capital (although it may be later 1st round picks), and have freed up a significant amount of money for next year.
These moves have me a bit worried that the Jets may have found the right guy to turn them around in the future. On the flip side, it also makes me believe that the Jets aren’t concerned with the upcoming season and are looking forward to 2021. Mosley opts out, all of the moves made a terrible coach and the 3rd most projected money for 2021. I believe we will see the NJ Jets tank in 2020. It makes almost to much sense for them not to. New GM, finally, can fire Gase, and potentially get his franchise QB as Darnald’s rookie contract will be coming to a close as well.
It may take some time for this to indeed be a bad thing for the Bills, but Joe Douglas, to me, is the real deal, and the future is much brighter in NJ than I would like to see.
The Ugly: 2020 Season
The opt-out is officially a thing and an Ugly one at that. In my first confession, I talked about how much I was against this in the first place. Now that there is a set date that players have to opt-out by (August 5th), and more information has come out about the deal. I am not on board with this new plan of action for this year.
First, I still don’t see why we are offering this to players. I understand all of the health concerns and everything else, but this is your job. Unless your reason genuinely makes you more vulnerable than the average person, show up to work. Other leagues (see WNBA) tell players no they can’t opt out even when they have requested due to serious health concerns. So, just letting a guy opt-out do to personal matters seems very unreasonable, especially with the testing provided and added safety measures.
Secondly, we are going to pay part of the salaries in advance and extend contracts? Ludacris, in my opinion. If I were an NFL GM, I would be furious with this. These guys have been building teams for the future and may have to pay a guy into another season when they had no intention of keeping them around. Also, now you will have a higher risk of losing players due to having to carry over unplanned money into next year. For the Bills, this could turn out to be a huge problem come next year. With key young talent coming up, the Bills now have to navigate very carefully moving forward.
Thirdly, I find this to be very risky for the players. Sure, if you are a superstar player, you probably have nothing to worry about, but what about the other guys? The NFL is already a cutthroat business where your position is never genuinely secure. There is always another guy trying to beat you out to get their shot. For some of these guys deciding to sit out, I feel like they are truly risking the possibility of coming back next year. One missed season can take you out of the fold very quickly. If I am a second or third-year player who is on a roster bubble, I would be incredibly nervous about missing a year no matter my concern. Even if I am a veteran player in my thirty’s as Star is, I would be concerned that my absence allows younger, cheaper options to replace me.
I am all about making sure the season goes on this year, but I wouldn’t say I like this approach. The only solution so far is to push the problem to next year, which will cause more issues than it will resolve, in my opinion.
Fun Fact : August 8th, 1961
Allow this isn’t an excellent thing for the Bills; it is still fun to look at some of the old school football from years past. On August 8th, 1961, the Buffalo Bills (AFL) played the Hamilton Tigercats (CFL).
The AFL & CFL played a total of 10 games from the 1940s through the 1960s. August 8th marked the last football game played between the AFL & CFL. The Bills ended up losing to the Tigercats 38-21. Throughout the series, the AFL did win 8 of the ten games played.