Editor’s Note: Alright, I can’t get past how much Siemian looks like Bobby Boucher from “The Waterboy” in this picture. We here at HashtagSports hope he continues to drink that high quality H2O
Trevor Siemian, the former 250th overall selection (7th round) of the 2015 NFL draft who just completed his second year, has a winning record as a starter. He led his team to an 8-6 record. Now that Mike McCoy has accepted the Offensive Coordinator role in Denver, along with new head coach Vance Joseph, the clear connection between McCoy and Pro-Bowl (and disgruntled) quarterback Phillip Rivers is pretty clear. That would give Denver a recently drafted first round quarterback in Paxton Lynch, current starter Siemian, and Rivers all on the same roster, which is simply too much of a logjam. So would Siemian be a fit for the Buffalo Bills?
At first glance it makes sense:
Siemian looks like an NFL quarterback, standing at 6’3”. In 14 games, Siemian threw for over 3400 yards, a near 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio, and played through a non-throwing shoulder injury for nearly three months that required surgery within the last two weeks. Obviously you would want to see the completion percentage to be at or above 60%, but at 59.5%, it is pretty close. His salary is $615,000 for 2017 and $705,000 for 2018; Affordable and productive. If the Bill were to offer a 3rd round selection and a conditional 5th next season, this deal would likely happen.
Comparing his passing production to Tyrod Taylor, who has a salary cap figure that twenty-six times Siemian’ s for 2017, the numbers are reasonably comparable.
From a passing perspective, it appears that Siemian is the more effective player, having accrued more yardage, more passing attempts, higher Yards per Attempt, higher Yards per Game, and lower Sack numbers. Clearly, not many quarterbacks in the NFL are as elusive as Taylor, so attempting to compare Taylor’s rushing total to Siemian’s is really a waste of time. Just know it is not close…at all.
So what is to say the Bills couldn’t save nearly $16 million dollars in cap space and use that to sign Alshon Jeffery or resign Stephon Gilmore or Zach Brown? It’s the advanced metrics that tell a different tale (the following statistics courtesy of playerprofiler.com):
Deep Ball Attempts (passes attempted that traveled long than 20 yards)
Siemian: 51 (or 3.6 attempts per game)
Taylor: 69 (or 4.6 attempts per game)
Deep Ball Completed
Pressure Completion (Completion Percentage when hit in the pocket or pressured outside of it)
Air Yards (the distance of the actual completion to wide receivers and tight ends removing yardage gained after the catch)
Siemian: 1982 (141 air yards per game)
Taylor: 1952 (130 air yards per game)
Red Zone Completion Percentage
Overall, even though Seimian’s total numbers look better than Taylor’s, the statistics state that Seimian’s are bolstered by a higher level of wide receivers. Here is another snapshot (from pro-football-reference) of similar advanced statistics. To put this in perspective, scoring a 100 is actually league average, so if you score 120, you are among the league best. Scoring 85 means you are among the league worst:
Y/A+ Yards Per Attempt
NY/A+ Net Yards Per Attempt
AY/A+ Adjusted Yards Per Attempt
ANY/A+ Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt
In an attempt to summarize; Seimian’s shows to be a below average quarterback, and Taylor isn’t much better. Is Siemian an overall better passer? Yes. Is Taylor an overall better runner? Yes. Is Taylor going to cost you twenty-six times more money to get essential identical total production? Yes. By comparison of Taylor to Siemian, is it worth a 3rd and 5th round selection? No, it isn’t. If Rivers (or Romo for that matter) goes to Denver, Siemian would not be an improvement over Tyrod Taylor.
By Paul Wanecski
t was April 25th, 2016 when Josh Norman signed a $75 million dollar contract with the Washington Redskins, leaving behind a Super Bowl appearance in Carolina. Just to put that date in perspective, it was a week after offseason workouts had already started for the Panthers. Norman had the right to take offers starting March 7th, meaning he was a free agent for 50 days; In the NFL that is an amazingly long time to be a free agent. He left the team 64 days after the NFL Scouting Combine and 3 days before the NFL draft. McDermott’s team responded by using three out of their first four draft selections on cornerbacks (James Bradberry (Alabama) with the 62nd overall, Daryl Worley (West Virginia) with the 77th overall, and Zack Sanchez (Oklahoma) with the 141st overall selections).
So why is that so important? The Buffalo Bills find number one corner Stephon Gilmore is close to leaving via free agency and McDermott finds himself in the same place he was last year when in Carolina. Initial talks having already taken place, it has been rumored that Gilmore is looking for top-5 money and that is hard to argue with; he would be the premier cornerback on the open market. Complicate that with the depth on the roster in current state and it isn’t hard to imagine that McDermott will likely have something to say about losing Gilmore. The highest paid cornerback on the roster is Nickell Robey-Coleman, set to have a $2 million cap number. Next comes Ronald Darby at $1.2 million. After that come all players making league minimum based on their tenure in the league. They are undrafted free agent Marcus Roberson (Florida) and 6thround pick (218 overall from USC) Kevon Seymour. The cupboards are pretty bare at the position. The Bills will have a chance in the NFL Draft picking 10th overall to secure a cornerback if they choose to do so. Unfortunately, the draft comes with no guarantees, which the NY Jets saw when they lost Revis and attempted to replace him with highly touted Dee Millner (which worked out so well that Revis returned to the Jets a few seasaons later). It is a mixed bag of results when drafting a cornerback that early; Jalen Ramsey and Eli Apple both player really strong this year in their rookie campaign, Justin Gilbert for Cleveland has been atrocious, and the only other player drafted in the top 10 since 2013 is the aforementioned Millner. So the question becomes less of “can we afford him” and turns more into “can we afford to let him go”. Can you say that about Tyrod Taylor?
Tyrod Taylor is currently set to cost just under $16 million against the salary cap for 2017, according to OvertheCap.com. In scope of the average pay for a quarterback, his contract is quite even in salary across all years and is relatively affordable. So what are the Buffalo Bills to do? You could look at available free agents, look for a trade partner, draft a quarterback, or retain Taylor (we did some of the hard work for you here). If we consider Doug Whaley’s history, he shows that he is pretty tentative to make roster moves at the quarterback position (remember, we had EJ Manuel, Thad Lewis, Jeff Tuel and Dennis Dixon as options in training camp...twice). With that being said, I would have to assume that McDermott has already built his coaching staff so it will be interesting to see what the Bills do moving forward.
Assuming the team is unable to work out a long term contract, the team may use the non-exclusive franchise tag which would cost the Buffalo Bills an estimated $14 million, which essentially offsets the cost of retaining Taylor. The Bills in current state, with Taylor on the roster, have about $25 million in salary cap space. They are currently at 42 players figuring to that number, so they are nine players short of having a real cap figure to work with. The non-exclusive tag allows Gilmore to take offers from other teams and if the Bills decide not to match the offer, they would be compensated by two first round selections.
It is possible to keep both players, but with a coaching change, it is common to see productive players get the axe. Not long ago, leading tackler Nick Barnett was shown the door in Buffalo when Rex Ryan took over. It will happen again, but if Gilmore does walk, it will be because they feel they can find his replacement in the draft (because I promise you, that player is not available in free agency).
To answer any doubts, since 2013 five quarterbacks have been selected in the 1st round, but none with the 10th pick. They have been:
-Jared Goff (2016- 1st Overall)
-Carson Wentz (2016- 2nd Overall)
-Jameis Winston (2015- 1st Overall)
-Marcus Mariota (2015- 2nd Overall)
-Blake Bortles (2014- 3rd Overall)
Quarterbacks taken in the 1st round, outside of the top 10 have been:
-Paxton Lynch (2016- 26th Overall)
-Johnny Manziel (2014- 22nd Overall)
-Teddy Bridgewater (2014- 32nd Overall)
-EJ Manuel (2013- 16th Overall)
Needless to say, teams that rank a quarterback outside of the top 3 players on the board are just simply not worth taking in the first round. With this draft class, the Bills could be aggressive to get to the 2nd overall pick if Mitch Turbisky slips by Cleveland because...well, they are Cleveland. (Editor's Note: for the value, I say the Bills grab a WR in the first then see if Kisler from Notre Dame is available in the second round) Regardless, Taylor will have already been told if he is a free agent or not and the team will really tip their draft-hand if only one of the two players (Taylor or Gilmore) are retained.
By Paul Wanecski
The Quarterback Option
By Paul Wanecski
Adam Schefter makes things up for a living. Alright, perhaps that was a little harsh. Adam Schefter takes his opinions, mixes them with “sources” (wouldn’t we all love a job where we can just say whatever you want and then just say you heard it from somewhere else), then spits interviews and flexes his Twitter muscles all in the name of giving you the information first. Remember the Patriots saying they want a first and fourth round pick for Jimmy Garoppolo? They never said that. Schefter admitted, when pressed for detail, that he thinks that is what they will get; he went so far as to say it was a “promise” the Patriots would get at least a 1st round selection for the back-up Quarterback. With as badly as I would like every tweet of his to go unread, he is not wrong in saying the Buffalo Bills will move on from incumbent Quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
Where does that leave Buffalo? Let’s examine trade partners or free agents.
Phillip Rivers – This is only here because I have heard this so often. Rivers has a no-trade clause in his contract and if he is hesitant to relocate his family if the Chargers are, in fact, leaving San Diego, I can’t imagine where he says that Buffalo is the place to go. Given the circumstances and roster, Denver makes more sense, but again, unlikely.
Kirk Cousins – Washington should place the Non-Exclusive Franchise tag on Cousins, which allows him to negotiate with other teams. If Washington refuses to match the offered contract, they receive two first round selections as compensation. The Non-Exclusive tag means that Cousin’s will be in line for $24 million dollars next season on a one-year deal. Will Cousin’s make more if he is offered a longer term deal somewhere else? With a signing bonus and base salary, yes he would, since he would receive his signing bonus right away.
Jay Cutler – Chicago might be just cut ties with Cutler, as it would actually save them $14 million in salary cap space. Cutler’s current contract for the next two years is actually rather affordable, but his base salary skyrockets in 2019 and 2020, however, those are all years that he can be released with no cost. None of his salary is guaranteed at this point. Cutler has been the definition of average during his NFL career (see his breakdown here)
Tony Romo – Romo has a massive contract but as is the standard with Jerry Jones, it is loaded with signing bonus money. Dallas would actually have to eat $19.6m if they can find a trade partner for him, which does save them $5.1 in 2017. That number is the same regardless if they trade or release him, but obviously, they would like to get something for the veteran starter (see his breakdown here)
Andy Dalton – As Marvin Lewis goes, so will Andy Dalton. The Bengals could save nearly $11m in 2017 if they decide to trade Dalton, who has just as many flashes of great play as he does head-scratching performances. He is currently signed through 2020 at a very reasonable starting salary (if traded, his cap number would be: 2017- $13.3m, 2018-$13.9m, 2019- $16.2m, 2020 - $17.7m). Dalton is currently 29 and if the Bengals determine his better years have passed him by, they will look to move on. The Bengals are an aging team that has missed in adding young talent.
AJ McCarron - McCarron will be a possible trade target too. He is 26 years old and entering the last year of his contract that gives him, if traded, a salary cap figure of $690,000. While in college, Nick Saban raved about how McCarron would call audibles, line-protection changes and was a confident leader, tools not typically given to college quarterbacks. Looking at his stat line from 2015, he completed 66.4%of his passes, a 3:1 touchdown to inception ratio and had a 97.1 QB rating. His 12 sacks in seven games is a touch alarming seeing as though he only had 145 drop-backs (that’s a sack rate of 8%), but given where the Bills are, Taylor’s sack rate was almost 9% in 2016. Only Colin Kaepernick was worse in 2016 than Taylor, as Kaepernick was at 10%. McCarrron’s number, as small a sample size as it is, still has more positive than negative. Expect the Bengals to try and get something out of the former 5th round selection in McCarron.
Napoleon Dynamite..um...I mean... Mike Glennon – Tampa Bay missed a great chance to get value for Glennon, who will now leave via free agency. Many will forget how rough Glennon actually was in 2013, fumbling seven times (losing four), 40 sacks, and attempting 416 passes, yet only throwing for 2608 yards. He is going to make a decent amount, but should not get the huge contract the Brock Osweiler signed this last offseason. Hitching your wagon to Glennon as your starter is risky.
Jimmy Garoppolo – Let’s not forget that if the team that has smoked you inside the division is willing to take your 10th overall pick to give you a quarterback, it is probably not something you want to do. Bill Polian said that Garoppolo was the best quarterback in that draft class. Given the success the Patriots have had playing musical chairs at quarterback, tread carefully.
Mark Sanchez – haha, just kidding.
Brett Hundley – Green Bay is in running back trouble in a big way. They picked up Christine Michael off of waivers, James Starks is showing seriously signs of age and Eddie Lacy is a free agent. Mike McCarthy is not known for loving rookies at skill positions and could look to add a 3rd down back via trade. Hundley was a bargain when drafted. He has a pretty quick release and showed last preseason that he could fit passes into tight windows.
Blake Bortles – New coach, maybe a new Quarterback? Having never completed more than 58.9% of his passes, Bortles showed strides this year taking 17 less sacks this year compared to 2015, impressive considering the Jaguars had no rushing attack. He did throw for 12 less touchdowns as well, but again, Jacksonville was terrible this year. Bortles clearly has some holes in his game, however, the team gains $3.2m in salary cap space for a player they didn’t pick up the 5th year option on if they are able to trade him.
By Paul Wanecski
And it was near 11am Eastern Standard Time that the NFL Mobile App tried to make the city of Buffalo explode, suggesting that the Buffalo Bills would be interested in Tony Romo and Jay Cutler if discarded from their respective teams. Both players come with major concerns and even bigger contracts, making it amazingly unlikely that the Bills would trade to acquire either of these quarterbacks.
Considering the lengthy contracts that will come in tow with Cutler and Romo, no fan should find concern in a trade for either player; that being said, it is still possible.Actually, if it were solely about money, Cutler will be significantly more affordable than Romo. Outside of the dollar figures attached to both, reviewing their respective resumes draws a very definitive line between them.
Jay Cutler, not that this is worth much, has only been named to one Pro Bowl. At 33 years of age, it is important to note that in the last six seasons he has only thrown for 20 touchdowns twice. He also hasn’t played a full season since 2009. His last (and only playoff appearance) was in 2010. Pro-football-reference humorously compares his career stats to Ken O’Brien, Jon Kitna and Brad Johnson. To be honest, it is hard to determine if it is funny or strangely disturbing. Since 2010, in the seasons where he has played at least twelve games (four times), he has been ranked in the top 10 of most sacked quarterbacks three times, meaning that years that he was actually the starter for the majority of the year, he was among the most sacked quarterbacks in the league 75% of the time. On the opposite side of that, since 2010, Cutler has appeared as a top-10 quarterback in leading comebacks three times. In 2014, he led the league in interceptions. His bounce back season in 2015 saw him throw for seven less interceptions, but also seven less touchdowns. Durability and consistency has been a huge problem over his, at this point, average career. For a player who hasn’t been in the top 10 in passing yards since 2008 (he was ranked third in NFL with 4526 yards, which followed a 2007 campaign when he threw for 3497 yards being ranked 10th in passing yards), he sure is sacked often. Of course his season ending on Injured Reserve this year for a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder can be added to the laundry list of concerns.
Tony Romo has missed very little time since he was named the starter in 2007. Entering his age 37 season and recovering from a cracked vertibre in his neck, Romo has started at least thirteen games seven of the last nine seasons. Career comparisons from Pro-Football-Reference state Carson Palmer, Joe Namath and Roger Staubach. In 2012, Romo threw for 4903 yards, which by comparison is only 434 yards short of Tyrod Taylor’s career passing yardage as a Buffalo Bill as of the date of this article (prior to the Bills vs. Steelers). Romo has appeared in the top-10 sacked quarterbacks three times during his career, the last time being in 2012. Much like Cutler, Romo has appeared in the top-10 comebacks three times. Romo led the league in interceptions the season he threw for over 4900 yards. While he did combine for 19 interceptions the next 30 regular season games, he had an alarming 5.7% interception rate in 2015 (7 ints vs 121 total pass attempts). During his career, Romo would look like a generational player for the Cowboys in one week and then be an absolute disaster the next game. He has also been seen as a choke-artist by the Dallas fan base, where nearly mythical tales of his 2nd half collapses will long outlive his NFL career. To his credit, in the seasons where he has started at least thirteen games (107 games total), Romo has averaged 31.6 touchdowns per full season. It is basically assumed that Romo has lost his job to rookie Dak Prescott.
With all that being said, you may be thinking that if the Bills felt compelled to take on one of these players, the choice may be clear. Unfortunately, trading for either of these players means you will also drag along the contract signed on his previous team. Both Chicago and Dallas will hope to get some return via trade but with little leverage due to the associated dollar figures, it would be a shock to see either player acquired in that fashion. Neither player would be worth what their contract stipulates on the open market, regardless of their respective accomplishments. Long story short, both have at least 3 years remaining on their current deals, however by acquiring the player via trade, Buffalo would have no penalty for releasing them prior to the start of any season. Take in mind that the only thing the Bills would be responsible for against the salary cap would be the salary per year (plus, in Jay Cutler’s case, a roster bonus).
Jay Cutler (credit to OvertheCap.com):
Tony Romo (credit to OvertheCap.com)
As you can see, both are expensive options. Could Buffalo pursue either Cutler or Romo via trade? Extremely unlikely. Would it be more likely they would sign either player on the free agent market? Given the current situation the Buffalo Bills find themselves, the front office and coaches know they need to win immediately. Romo would be your best chance to meet that need but he is just as likely to have a season-ending injury as he is to play 16 games. Romo might be an option to bridge to a drafted quarterback, but we have seen what that looks like before in Buffalo. Have little fear fans of the Buffalo Bills, neither of these players will be riding into town to lead you to the promise land.
By Paul Wanecski
As the Minnesota Vikings scramble to figure out how badly QB Teddy Bridgewater is injured, the phones have to be ringing off the hooks around the league looking for a replacement. Could EJ Manuel be a target? Absolutely.
While Manuel doesn't have an amazing resume, he has shown the flashes that make the chance worth taking, seeing as though the Vikings really don't have many serviceable options elsewhere. With only a little over $6 million in cap space, a moveo bring EJ in would cost only a small portion of that compared to having to sign a QB. The Bills would save about $1.6 million in the deal in cap space. With an offense based on a strong run game and built for a young QB without much need to read coverage, EJ makes a logical fit.
Of course, the real target will be Mark Sanchez. Good luck with that Minnesota.
by Mario Granata and Paul Wanecski
While there was much made of the resigning of Brandon Spikes after the injury bug bit the Buffalo Bills linebacker core, little has been made about the signing of David Hawthorne. Here at Hashtag Sports, we take a look at both signings and see which will be the more productive player and why. Where do you stand?
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By Mario Granata
Well, it seems that 2006 was a pretty good year in the eyes of the Buffalo Bills. With the recent acquisition of Reggie Bush, on a one-year deal, the Bills now have had in their possession 5 of the Top-10 picks from that draft class. How will Bush's fate end in Buffalo?
by Mario Granata
Now before any of you dismiss this as a failed attempt to troll Bills fans, or something that will show a meme of "Got'em" take heed of the team and the players that are on that team that Dri Archer is now a part of. I know on the surface it seems that Rex Ryan loves to pick up the scraps of the Jets and make them players to give the AFC East a jab every now and then, but with the explosiveness that Archer brings to the table, don't be shocked if Ryan tries to pull a rabbit out of a hat on this occasion.
by Mario Granata
Now that the dust has settled on the 2016 NFL Draft there are many questions that have been asked based on the players that were selected and which teams they went to, and no team has more excitement or confusion than the Buffalo Bills. During the first and second rounds, the Buffalo Bills addressed needs that they had at key positions to (hopefully) get back to the type of defense that they are accustomed to playing. However, when the weekend hit, the jubilation from Thursday and Friday were quickly met with a collective “What?” Perhaps the two men who have been the focus (along with Doug Whaley) are the result for the selections.