Lee Evans traded to Baltimore

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that the Bills have traded Lee Evans to the Baltimore Ravens for a 4th round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

This is a major move for the Bills as they are trading away one of their most lethal offensive threats, well at least on paper. Evans hasn’t been the same threat since J.P. Losman was removed as the starting quarterback. Since then Evans has seen his number dwindle -blast year he recorded a career-low 37 receptions.

That is pretty much the end of the reasons why it made sense to trade him. Frankly, he is a highly paid decoy. He doesn’t do much other than run a mean nine route, but he freeze up plenty of coverage for Stevie Johnson.

Now Johnson and David Nelson become the top receiving threats for the Bills as they hope that Marcus Easley and, San Diego castoff, Buster Davis can produce. All of that for a fourth round pick next season.

The main need for the Buffalo Bills is to fill their holes at tackle. They continue to ignore that need and the years pile up since the last time they had a true duo of NFL tackles (Howard Ballard and Will Wolford by my count). Instead Nix opted to remove a veteran talent for a draft lick that will turn into a guy like Dwayne Wright, Shawn Nelson, or Ko Simpson. Forgive me for not jumping out of my chair for this trade.

It seems like the Bills are turning into the Cleveland Indians from Major League, just get enough players to fill the roster and play the games. No need to worry about winning in these parts I guess.

Brad Smith listed as a QB, Moats moved to ILB

The Bills opened training camp today and there are already a few interesting tidbits floating around.

Arthur Moats was deadly at OLB last season, apparently the Bills prefer him as an ILB

The first comes from Mark Gaughan’s report in The Buffalo News. Right now, Brad Smith is listed as a quarterback on the roster. This means two things to me. One, they do not want to sacrifice one of their wide receiver positions on Smith when they can “hide” him elsewhere. Basically, Smith can play a variety of positions and you can’t necessarily pigeon-hole him into one. I was concerned after his signing because NFL teams have such ridgid numbers set as they enter camp and the regular season. It is a safe bet that the Bills will not have more than six receivers on their roster entering the year meaning Smith would have likely forced out either Marcus Easely, Donald Jones, David Nelson or Naaman Roosevelt. Now that he is listed as a QB the Bills won’t likely have to part with one of their youngsters.

The second thing this points out to me is the fact that they must really like Easley and Nelson. They are my favorites to secure the final WR spots behind Lee Evans, Stevie Johnson and Roscoe Parrish. I was particularly worried that Nelson would be cut due to the signing of Smith. Now it seems as if he may be safe. That being said, Jones and Roosevelt are likely the odd men out in the grand scheme of things. Smith can run out in kick and punt coverage like these two did last season. They became expendable when the Bills signed Smith. Continue reading

Bills opt for fringe signings as camp approaches

Surely the Bills are working towards some bigger free agent signings to address the holes they have at linebacker and offensive tackle. However, they have yet to sign any players at those positions. Rather, they have signed a back-up quarterback and a utility receiver/returner.

Brad Smith wouldn't be a bad signing if the Bills didn't have other glaring needs

Buffalo opened free agency by declaring their desire to get Paul Posluszny signed only to have him leave for more money and a better playing situation in Jacksonville. Buddy Nix was able to get Drayton Florence re-signed for three more years, a big signing considering the loss of their former middle linebacker.

They followed the Florence signing with back-up quarterback Tyler Thigpen. The three-year deal was necessary but extremely underwhelming considering some of the glaring needs on the Bills’ roster. However, I like that they pursued a player who is familiar with Chan Gailey and his offense. It is reassuring to know that the back-up quarterback will know the system and can have success if called upon.

The second free agent signing Buffalo made isn’t as impressive to me. Brad Smith is an exciting player and a valuable weapon. This is why I was happy to hear the Bills signed him. However, a third or fourth wide receiver is the last thing Buffalo needed. I guess the Bills are hoping to sport the greatest roster of kick returners ever assembled. Continue reading

Tom Modrak sent packing

The Buffalo Bills made a personnel decision many thought should have been made at least a year earlier. Tom Modrak was relieved of his duties as VP of College Scouting.

In fact, Mr. Modrak will no longer be with the organization at all. This ends a decade of average drafting based, at least partially, on advice from the team’s former number one scout.

Just to highlight some of his handiwork, Aaron Maybin, Donte Whitner, John McCargo, J.P. Losman, Mike Williams and three different running backs. Of course, not all of these picks can be saddled squarely on Modrak’s shoulders. But it is safe to say his scouting staff and influence in the war room had something to do with it. Add to that the fact that the Bills haven’t had a largely successful draft class under his watch; you’re eventually led down the road of termination.

This is a strong move by the organization. Many have pointed out that this is the time (after the draft) that scouting staffs see turnover. Additionally, many have said that the reason he wasn’t fired last year was due to the fact that it was the first year under Chan Gailey and Buddy Nix. Basically Modrak was given a grace period before being shown the door.

Fans should be glad he is gone. There is little doubt that he orchestrated a great deal of the poor drafts the Bills have had in the past decade. Obviously the new regime has identified the people they should keep and the one they need to jettison. While this won’t expedite the rebuilding process, it does offer a ray of hope that the team will begin to draft well once again.

The only depressing part of this story is that this guy was able to stick around for 10 years. Perhaps if this move had been made a few years earlier the fan base wouldn’t a massive gray cloud hovering over them in the form of a three year rebuilding project.