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Confessions of a Buffalo Bills Football Freak

Welcome to the confession. The critical point of this social space is to interact and strategically place my humble opinions at the forefront of your brilliant mind. The essential outline is simple and is as follows.

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First up, my unique take or direct reaction to something from the week. Second, a comprehensive look at a vital piece of the official roster. Third, is a prediction or declaration of what the possible future holds. Fourth, a little knowledge check/fun fact.

It shouldn’t take much of your time but will hopefully provoke you to get involved and maybe even all worked up enough to allow me to know how much you agree or disagree with what I am saying.

So, let’s begin with the first confession!

NFL, NFLPA discussing plan for potential player opt-outs in 2020

Among the lingering questions ahead of an unprecedented season in 2020, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports that the NFL and NFLPA are discussing a plan for potential players who want to opt out of this upcoming season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reaction:

The NFL and the NFLPA have agreed to put something in place to allow players to “Opt-Out” of the upcoming season. Um, say what?

I guess I am just not seeing the reason why we are allowing this to take place. Yes, we are in a pandemic, and there is a possibility that anyone at any time could contract the Covid-19 virus. Yet I still don’t see why we allow “employees” of business to opt-out of showing up to work. I understand the beating that it takes for these men to play this game week in and week out. For that same reason, they are rewarded and paid very handsomely to do so. I don’t see the guy working at my local 711, or my post lady getting an option to opt-out of showing up to work because they have a concern. I have not been approached by my employer, asking me if I feel like opting out of work due to my concerns.

So my only real question about it is this: why are NFL players above the likes of the guys and gals putting in work on the daily exposing themselves? These NFL players will be going into facilities that are disinfected like hospitals and be tested on the regular to make sure they are not contracting the Covid-19. As much as I can believe that there is concern among players, I don’t think they should be able to say no thanks, not this season. Not only could this hurt specific teams if high profile players decide to sit out. Then what? Do we even count the year, or does it come with an asterisk next to the Super Bowl champs? I’m all for the player and personal safety, but this feels like it is just another pedestal that we are putting athletes on while regular folks who will be spending their hard-earned money on the NFL this year continue to show up at their own risk to work each day.

Roster:

https://twitter.com/TesslerSports/status/1280971446769070081?s=20

This is one of my favorite parts. Especially nowadays, this team is deep! Let me wipe away my smile for a second. Some news that broke this week made me look at a position group that I feel could still use some help. The report reads, “Mostert requests trade from San Fransico 49ers”. Now this kind of news would typically turn me away, as you can probably tell from the last portion of this article. I am not a fan of NFL players doing things outside of their current obligations or, in other words, trying to force the hand of a team. These are also the type of guys I would prefer to stay away from usually.

Yet, in this case, I am okay with it because of the reasoning behind the request. Mostert is requesting that he receive pay like a running back and not just a special teams player. For a guy who led his team in rushing and was a massive part of the run to the Super Bowl, I can’t say I blame him for this request.

Raheem Mostert

Embed This 49ers, RB Age: 28-313d Exp: 6 Years Undrafted: 2015, Eagles College: Purdue Agent(s): Raheem Mostert signed a 3 year, $8,700,000 contract with the San Francisco 49ers, including a $1,000,000 signing bonus, $3,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $2,900,000.

Contract details via Spotrac.com

I am begging that Beane at least sees what it would take to make this happen. I know what you think. We have “Motor,” and we just got Moss, but there is a lack of real depth behind those two. Plus, we have to remember this is just the second year for Singletary, and Moss is a rookie. Behind them are the likes of T.J. Yeldon and Taiwan Jones. I am not bagging on these two guys in any way, but Yeldon is the elder statesman. While he does have NFL experience under his belt, and Mcdermott has mentioned he has faith in T.J., I still cannot help but feel like a guy like Mostert is an immediate step up from both Yeldon and Jones in the special team’s department as well as in the running back room.

Mcdermott and Beane loved the idea of having Frank Gore around to teach, if not anything else. Adding Mostert increases the room’s quality and immediately gets a guy back in there that knows what it takes to make it in the league. Another reason to consider this is that Mostert is only looking for about four million a year. With two backs in the room on rookie deals, we have the funds to add some veteran depth. I won’t be devastated if this doesn’t take place because I believe San Franciso would be foolish to let him go, but it made me take a more in-depth look at the running back room. I feel we must add some more/better depth at the position.

Top landing spots for Mostert via Bleacher Report

Prediction/Declaration:

The defensive line needs to trim some fat before the start of the season. Per Spotrac, the Bills have the highest-paid defensive line in the league based on their 61.6 million cap number for this season at the position. That makes up nearly 28% of the entire cap for the team. As a reference, that is almost 20 million more than what the offensive line is earning this year and nearly 10 million more than the next closet team in the NFL (Superbowl Champs Kansas City). So, let that sink in a minute. The Bills, not a team with an Aaron Donald or another colossal named defensive lineman, is paying the highest salary for their defensive line.

Digging into the contracts a little deeper, the most obvious way to make a significant savings cut would be the release of Trent Murphy. He is carrying the highest cap hit at the position and is in the final year of his current deal. If he were to be released, the team would save just over 8 million in cap this year alone. At the bare minimum, I cannot see how we can keep him at that number. If Beane believes he still has the value they are looking for, then I feel they must approach Murphy and provide him an option to stay at a much lower price and maybe even add an option for next year. The main point is that his production does not fit the highest cap hit on the defensive line, and that must change in my opinion.

With a youth movement at the defensive line’s interior, the other player’s contract that I feel the team needs to address would be that of Star Lotulelei. He is the oldest player on the roster at the defensive line position and carries the highest cap hit for said position. The issue there is he still has two more years on his contract, and he takes big cap hits even if he was released. They could approach him to address his contract with a restructuring of sorts, but that would require him to want to work with the team. The way his contract stands now, he would be in the driver’s seat on any negotiations. I still feel like this should be considered since he is turning 31 this year, but I would not anticipate that anything would get worked out.

With so many huge deals coming up this year at the end of the season and the next season’s conclusion, the team must find ways to save money while matching the dollars with production.

Every teams positional breakdown with cap numbers per Spotrac.com

Fun Fact:

I would bet that just about everyone in their right mind has heard about the epic run the Bills made in the early ’90s (slash late 80’s) with the four-peat (which no team has matched to this day). I wonder if people know that this was the second epic run in the team’s history. In the early years, the Bills went to three consecutive AFL championship games (1964,1965,1966). They won the first two and lost the third one in 1966 to the Chiefs.

The third and final was the most important of the three games because the winner went on to play in the first-ever Super Bowl. The Bills came up well short in this effort, and the Chiefs went on to play the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl, which Green Bay won. The Bills would never again make the playoffs in the AFL, and it wasn’t till four years after they officially became part of the NFL (1970) did they make another playoff appearance (1974).

Some action from the 1966 AFL Championship game

Well, this first confession has come to a close. It would be best if you didn’t treat this like a regular confession where you keep every word to yourself. I encourage you to share with as many soles as possible and let me know how much you dislike my opinions.

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