Bills top wide out Stevie Johnson had a performance to forget on...
Lloyd, Wayne Among Attractive Options to Shore Up WR Depth (UPDATED)
Update: Mike Klis, the Denver Post reporter who originally broke the story, is now reporting that the Broncos are looking for a 3rd to 5th rounder for Lloyd. This increases the chances of the Bills making a move significantly.
Now that it’s been confirmed that the Buffalo Bills will be without Donald Jones for the next 4-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain, we thought we would quickly run through the different options that are facing Buddy Nix regarding shoring up some depth.
Brandon Lloyd- What Sniper suspected yesterday has been made official today: Broncos WR Brandon Lloyd is on the trading block and will likely be playing for a team other than Denver following next Tuesday’s trade deadline. Buffalo is also rumored to be loosely interested, although not for a 3rd rounder than Denver is reportedly asking for.
As Sniper outlined, Lloyd is coming off a breakout season and would be an excellent deep threat across from Steve Johnson. Lloyd was 5th in the league last year with 18.8 yards per catch (by comparison, Lee Evans was 17th), and would instantly be the most athletic receiver on our roster. His contract is expiring, so Buffalo would either need to negotiate an extension or accept him as a loaner. His salary comes in at 1.395 million dollars this year, so prorated that wouldn’t be a concern. Denver apparently wants a third rounder, which means he’s probably doable for a 4th (which we have an extra from the Evans trade). If Buffalo manages to swing this deal, it’s far more likely they would extend him (as encouraged as everyone is by this team, the idea of Buffalo giving up 4th rounders for a one year run at the Super Bowl seems unrealistic, given Nix’s “Build Through the Draft” mantra). Lloyd is 30 and is probably looking for a longer term deal, so this is probably critical in whether or not Buffalo is interested.
Reggie Wayne- There haven’t been any reports of Indianapolis interest in dealing the 33 year old all pro receiver, but Schefter recently suggested on Sportscenter that the Colts may be wise to deal him to Buffalo. It’s another intriguing option, as Wayne is more accomplished than Lloyd (or just about any WR, really) and also has an expiring contract, but is also 3 years older with an uncertain amount of time left in the league. Wayne has managed to be relatively productive in his life without Manning, and would instantly solidify the Goon Squad, if not quite a goon himself. The same logic applies with Lloyd in regard to the Bills not likely to be interested in renting players for a 4th round pick, and Wayne’s salary is significantly higher.
Terrell Owens- Another big name who’s popped up in the past week. Many thought he would be a late training camp add to a team hurting for WR depth, but reports of a possible off season knee problem kept him a free agent. More recently, Owens recently was rushed to a hospital for a possible prescription pill overdose. Details on both incidents have been hazy at best, but if they turn out to be inconsequential, it’s an intriguing option. While TO probably wasn’t worth the 7 mil he made in Buffalo, locker room issues were non existent, he openly preferred Fitzpatrick as a QB (albeit post facto), and all in all seemed to enjoy his time here. Owens was also more productive than expected last season in Cincinnati and has mentioned that he is preparing for a comeback on various media outlets. We wouldn’t be opposed to bringing in Owens in for a reunion tour, but given the murky health incidents and the fact that Nix’s first move as general manager was to not bring back Owens, we’re not exactly holding our breath either.
Buster Davis- Signed by Buffalo in August, than released during final cut downs, Buster Davis would present the size and speed to give Buffalo an athletic option on the outside. Also, Davis spent time learning the offense, so the familiarity would give him an edge. However, he has been released once already, meaning Gailey possibly did not like what he saw. Don’t rule him out.
Kamar Aiken- Buffalo has already signed WR Tim Toone to the practice squad, in addition to Aiken who has been there since final cuts. Aiken has the size to play outside, speed to get downfield, and was a solid deep threat at UCF. Aiken played well in his opportunities in the preseason, and has the benefit of having spent the entire season practicing with the team and learning Curtis Modkin’s offense (I couldn’t resist). If the Bills decide Aiken is ready, he could be a nice combination of potential, youth, and value to give the Bills another athlete at WR.
So after examining all the options, we believe the Bills will try to make a deal for Lloyd, but only if the right price. Since trades aren’t common at the NFL deadline, it’s not a great bet, but it is something worth keeping an eye on. After trades, the most likely option we believe is Kamar Aiken. While he may not be an impact player immediately, he has good potential, and Gailey has gotten production out of undrafted rookies with David Nelson and Naaman Roosevelt. Also, the fact the Bills signed Tim Toone to the practice squad leads us to wonder if they aren’t preparing to promote Aiken to the 53 man in the near future. One thing is clear: with the spread offense that Gailey prefers to run, we are going to need more than the 4 active receivers we have now, at least until Donald Jones returns.