The clock seems to be ticking on Marshawn Lynch’s career in Buffalo these days. It’s something that has been speculated since the end of the 2009 season, and with the NFL Draft quickly approaching next Thursday, it’s time for the Bills to look for buyers.
According to a team source who spoke to the National Football Post yesterday, Bills ownership has grown tired of Lynch’s act — and he doesn’t look to be a fit for new head coach Chan Gailey. Although that isn't an automatic ticket out of town, the solution is simple: Trade Lynch while he’s still considered to have value throughout the league.
Buffalo needs players. It has an open QB competition coming this August during camp, and although it owns the ninth pick of the draft, this is a roster that needs major upgrades. Happens with a coaching change for sure, but we’re talking about a franchise that has to find a way to beat New England for the first time since the 2003 season before it can become a contender.
To do that, Gailey is going to need players who fit his scheme and buy into his program.
Draft picks start to carry major weight, and the more that Buffalo can get — while dumping players that don’t have the character or the desire to play for Gailey — the more opportunities this club will have to start making those upgrades with young talent that it can build a team around.
I do view Lynch as having some value on the trade market. Although his production was down last season (450 yards, 3.8 per carry), he’s still a former first-round pick who has shown that he can play at a Pro Bowl level. The off-the-field issues? Something to think about if you’re a GM looking to make a deal, but if you see Lynch having production in your system, it’s easy to pretend those issues don’t exist.
For the Bills, this is a trade they should look to get done. Fred Jackson is the starting running back for this team. He has a unique first step to the hole, runs with a nice blend of speed and power and, more important, finishes runs with his pads square to the line of the scrimmage. A good, solid running back who has a lot of miles left in those legs.
Add that to the idea of Gailey selecting a back though the draft who can complement Jackson in the Bills’ third-down sub packages — a player in the mold of Ole Miss’ Dexter McCluster — and I don’t see how Lynch fits with this team on offense or in the eyes of the front office.
We talk about it all the time with coaching changes in the league, and this could just be another example of Gailey cleaning house. Or it could be an example of the team looking to move on from a player who doesn’t fit what it’s trying to do from a team aspect.
Either way, the Bills need to get something done and get something in return if they can pull off a deal — and start upgrading this roster to compete in the AFC East.
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