By Paul Wanecski
Sashi Brown, the Cleveland Browns General Manager since the start of the 2016 season, LOVES draft picks. This year the team has five selections in the first 65 picks, just the start of eleven total selections in the upcoming draft. Interestingly enough, the Browns were able to acquire fourteen total selections during the 2016 NFL draft, meaning that in the last two seasons alone, they have drafted more than enough players to completely fill out an entire offense and defense. Even after that, they still have a very long way to go.
by Mario Granata
Much has been made of the not-so warm and fuzzy relationship at One Bills Drive between Doug Whaley and new Head Coach Sean McDermott and a lot of people are speculating that Whaley is all but gone as the Bills General Manager. There are other reports that state that if Whaley is in fact on the outs, it would be foolish for the Bills not to retain him as a scout in some capacity. While other fans are reveling in the drama that they could only find in reality television, here are a few items to consider that point toward Whaley counting the days he has left in Buffalo.
by Mario Granata
Now, much has been made of the recent acquisition of Andre Holmes by the Buffalo Bills recently, probably because there have been more people to walk on the moon than are present in the Bills Receivers Meeting room as of late. All jokes aside, did the Bills get a “find” by signing Holmes to a 3-year deal or is this just another case of a player that is out of his element?
We all love to fill out NCAA brackets. For the last few years, my young children have wanted to fill one out as well. Obviously school name wasn't enough for them to pick a game, so I would have to translate each college into the team's mascot. Surprisingly, each year they did pretty well. Instead of doing this all by myself this year, I thought you all would enjoy it too.
Share this with your kids or friends and family that might not be as familiar with the tournament as you. I have excluded each teams rank because, to be honest, if you are filling out a bracket focused on who the mascot is, does rank really matter? Exactly.
Even if you take your bracket seriously, try this. You could choose each team based on the mascots creativity, or, picture each round as a Celebrity Death Match fight to the finish. However you do it, I can promise you, this is a lot of fun.
By Paul Wanecski
On March 7th the NFL will official open the flood gates to rumor-mill central. Buffalo Bills incumbent quarterback Tyrod Taylor is only a few days away from learning his fate at One Bills Drive. With some seeing him as an impending free agent, would his agent be able to contact other teams to gauge interest? We have all heard that the Browns would have interest in Taylor if he were to become a free agent. So, Taylor’s agent can find out exactly what kind of dollars the Browns are willing to offer since we are about to get into the “legal tampering” phase, correct? I mean, the Bills sound like they want Taylor to renegotiate, so his agent should be able to find out what his market value really is, right?
The short answer is no.
Before we get too deep into that, I want to point out how smart it was to sign Taylor to an extension, specifically a team-owned option, if not only for the following reason; The Buffalo Bills can allow the major wave of free agency to happen all prior to determining if they will pick up Taylor’s extension. The league has instituted a “Legal Tampering” period which allows agents to talk with all other NFL teams two days prior to the actual start of free agency to (watch out, official NFL verbiage about to happen) “discuss the parameters of a potential contract” without offering an official deal. The catch is the player needs to be a free agent. The player is unable to visit or discuss anything personally, all communication goes solely through the player’s agent (as an example, players like recently released Russell Okung who represent themselves are unable to negotiate their own contracts during this time-period because the player is not allowed to be involved directly in the process, even if eligible). This legal tampering period is designed to field offers for all players who are free agents. Taylor is currently under contract with the Buffalo Bills until March 12th, he and his agent are not able to discuss a possible contract or value with any other team during the legal tampering period.
The impact that this has with Taylor directly is he and his agent are unable to know exactly what other teams would offer on the free agent market which would be important information since the Bills have asked Taylor to renegotiate his pending extension. If Taylor and his agent think that he would be able to fetch more on the open market, the Bills can hold him until 4 days after the free agent market officially opens. In total, simply by the Bills signing Taylor to an extension, it allowed the team to completely exclude Taylor from nearly the entire first week of free agency. Teams are far from patient in free agency, especially at the quarterback position.
The dates installed in Taylor’s contract are far from abnormal. Around the league, this is a pretty standard time table. While teams are able to discuss trades at any time with players under contract (which Taylor is), free agency is a completely different story. Basically the Bills can check in on potential trade targets like (for illustration purposes only) Tony Romo and AJ McCarron and even acquire them once the league year opens on March 9th, which is four days before the deadline on Taylor. They can negotiate and sign free agents like (seriously everyone, these are just examples and not a promotion of) Brian Hoyer and Mike Glennon, again, all prior to telling Taylor about what his future is with the team. It is obvious at this point that the Bills intend to wait until closer to the 4pm EST March 12th deadline to inform Taylor what logo will emblazon the side of his helmet in the 2017 season.
By Paul Wanecski
Jerry Jones is currently in control of Tyrod Taylor’s future. I know it is a strange statement to hear but perhaps in a moment, you will understand what exactly I mean. The Buffalo Bills have been the target of criticism following the week 17 benching of starting QB Taylor and rightfully so; Taylor’s performance this season, on paper, appears pretty solid. So what are the Bills really hesitant about and how could Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, have a hand in controlling Taylor’s fate?
The NY Giants have granted wideout Victor Cruz his release. The slot receiver crashed on to the scene his rookie season in New York. Most know him for his Salsa Dancing in the end zone. Will he bring his dancing shoes to Buffalo?
Cruz is entering his age-30 season, after missing major chunks of the last two years. A once scary opponent out of the slot, Cruz has slowly disappeared in the Giants system. In his last 30 starts (out of 35 games), he has only six touchdowns.
If he were willing to accept $1.5 million per year on a two year contract, it would be worth bringing him in. The Buffalo receiver group could certainly use the help and having a slot receiver with Cruz's success would be well worth the money. Unfortunately, he will likely wait things out. Given his situation, if he is on a NFL team week one, his contract becomes fully guaranteed for the year, which with his injury history is a bit of a concern. The Buffalo Bills worked around that issue with Jerome Felton, who was released prior to week one and brought back afterward, this avoiding any guarantees.
Truth be told, Cruz would be an effective role playing receiver wherever he goes, but don't break the bank. This is a player who didn't get seperation by being a great route-running wideout. He was afforded his receptions through mismatches against linebackers and being able to get to top speed very quickly, meaning his was a terror up the seam, quickly getting above the linebackers and below the safeties before they could come downhill on him. Those days are over. Cruz will need to learn to evolve and not solely depend on his quick step as it slowly diminishes.
By Paul Wanecski
If you are alright with the Buffalo Bills moving on from Tyrod Taylor, then you need to be alright with whoever they bring in to compete for a starting job. Let me tell you, the market – and draft for that matter – is slim picking. Given the current roster, the only quarterback outside of Taylor is Cardale Jones, so if Taylor is going to be released you will need to bring in other options. While certainly not endorsing this idea, it should be discussed. Brace yourself: Nick Foles rumors are coming.
by Mario Granata
Doug Whaley says that the Bills are "close", but he doesn't even know what that means. I have been trying to come up with some way to accurately describe my travels through the Hashtag Vault. I initially couldn't find the words, but then it hit me: Blow this sh*t up already. The Buffalo Bills, for the past 17 years have been treating the symptoms and not the disease, which is the reason for their streak. It is finally time for some changes.
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: