Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Why I hate the Marshawn Lynch trade

So, "Beast Mode" is gone, for a fourth round draft pick in 2011 and a conditional 2012 pick (a sixth that could turn into a fifth based on performance, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter).

I'll admit that I'm a bit biased. I was a Marshawn Lynch fan, and as a reward all I've gotten are reminders to not ever buy Buffalo Bills jerseys.

Marshawn exits Buffalo as a beleaguered person and a player underappreciated for his efforts on the field. I wouldn't ever accuse him of possessing the field vision that Fred Jackson has, or the breakaway speed of CJ Spiller. Yet, I don't think there's a guy I've seen that runs harder, works harder for his yards when he is given a fair opportunity to do so. Perhaps that's the problem, though. When Marshawn wasn't given the opportunity, he kind of blew it off and was fairly sanguine about it. It's not exactly a bonus to have a player complaining all the time, but all the same, you want your players to want the ball and to be mad when they're not getting a chance to make plays.

The truth is that there weren't enough plays to go around in the Bills offense. There should now be enough that Jackson and Spiller, as "the guys," can gain some traction and actually increase the number of plays the offense runs. As such, Lynch's departure opens up some possibilities and it probably had to be done.

But those truths don't absolve the Bills' front office of criticism. I'm not about to engage in any armchair GM-ing and presume to know what the Bills were offered. Trades are tougher to pull off than any fan can understand. But Lynch is a former first-round draft pick, a two-time 1,000-yard rusher, a former Pro Bowler, and one who has gained 4.4 yards per carry despite limited opportunities this season. He is controllable for at least one, possibly two more years at a reasonable salary, and hasn't sulked for a raise. It has to be viewed as a failure to get fourth and fifth round picks, at best, for that much talent at that price.

The few remaining cheerleaders for this organization will cite the two strikes against Lynch as reason enough to cut bait, but I have to think we're going to be able to add Pete Carroll and the Seahawks to the list of parties to have made the Bills look stupid this season.

Meanwhile, let's take a look at the Bills' fourth, fifth, and for the sake of argument, sixth-round picks in the past 9 campaigns:
4 Marcus Easley Connecticut
5 Ed Wang Virginia Tech
6 Arthur Moats James Madison
6 Danny Batten South Dakota
4 Shawn Nelson Southern Miss
5 Nic Harris Oklahoma
6 Cary Harris Southern
4 Reggie Corner Akron
4 Derek Fine Kansas
5 Alvin Bowen Iowa State
6 Xavier Omon Northwest Missouri State
4 Dwayne Wright Fresno State
6 John Wendling Wyoming
4 Ko "I'm Worth Millions" Simpson South Carolina
5 Kyle Williams Louisiana State
5 Brad Butler Virginia
6 Keith Ellison Oregon
4 Duke Preston Illinois
5 Eric King Wake Forest
6 Justin Geisinger Vanderbilt
4 Tim Euhus Oregon State
4 Terrence McGee Northwestern State
4 Sam Aiken North Carolina
5 Ben Sobieski Iowa
6 Lauvale Sape
5 Justin Bannan Colorado
6 Kevin Thomas UNLV

We'll not worry about grades; these things are subjective. It's enough to say that the Bills traded a high-talent player for a couple of chances at players in the draft. The team's track record suggests that the best player they are going to get out of this trade will, in a few seasons, grade out to be of the Kyle Williams / Terrence McGee caliber. That means some nice role players - building blocks but not difference-makers. This list tells you enough about the odds of that.

The Bills have lowered the talent level on this team for a couple of scratch-off lottery tickets. Excuse me if I'm not impressed. Keep running hard and using that sick stiff-arm, Marshawn, and if you want to demonstrate it on your coach, we won't mind one bit. We wish you well. And to the Bills, good luck with those picks. We're waiting to see some results...

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