I'm noticing that the yearly disappointment that comes with being a Buffalo Bills fan is creeping in a little earlier than usual.
Since the NFL and its players came to an agreement on a new labor contract, teams have been busy signing and trading players, some of them with very big names. And some of them with big names and diminished skills. Some trades have seen quarterback Donovan McNabb go from the Washington Redskins to the Minnesota Vikings while his teammate Albert Haynesworth has been traded to the New England Patriots, where I'm sure Bill Belichick will get the most out of the former star player, who, in recent years, has decided he'd rather be fat than a football player. Reggie Bush has gone from the New Orleans Saints to the Miami Dolphins and the rumor mill has the much-hated Fins acquiring quarterback Kyle Orton from the Denver Broncos. Orton, who is being pushed out of the Mile High City to make room for Tim Tebow, threw for nearly 8,000 yards and nearly twice as many touchdowns (41) as interceptions (21) in his two years since coming over from Chicago in the Jay Cutler trade.
Wouldn't it be nice if the Bills' brass had the stomach to take a chance on a player like that? Not that I don't appreciate what Ryan Fitzpatrick did last season, but it's becoming harder to swallow some of the decisions that come out of 1 Bills Drive.
Why can't the Bills go after some of these big-name players who are available through free agency or via trade? Do they not have room under the cap to offer players who are looking for big money or the contracts they are looking for? Could they not go out and trade for a player like Kevin Kolb, who is on his way out to the desert?
One reason the Bills won't make deals like the ones mentioned above can be found in comments made earlier this week by Chief Operating Officer Russ Brandon, who said, in pretty clear language, that the Bills will not be spending big money on any of the available free agents. But why Ralph, why?
Now I know it's not as simple as I'm making it sound, but for the love of all that is good and decent in this world, the Bills' brain trust needs to start taking chances on players a class or two above the likes of Tyler Thigpen, who to this point, is their "big splash" in the free agency pool.
It is clear that the war-room-crew has little to no idea how to make quality first-round picks (i.e., Donte Whitner, Aaron Maybin, Marshawn Lynch), so they might as well start trading those picks away for current players who are worthy of them and to teams that are actually capable of making an educated decision with them.
The Bills haven't made the playoffs since 1999. Every football fan in Western New York knows that. And every Bills fan deserves better than what we've received over the last decade.
Maybe it's the New York Yankees fan in me, but I would rather see the Bills spend big in free agency and fail, than not even make an attempt to bring in big-ticket free agents. The Bills need to start working harder to create a culture of winning like they did throughout the 1990s. They need to spend big on as many players as they can, and that includes keeping their own top-of-the-line players (you know, pending they ever draft any). If the Bills keep heading down the track they've been on for the last decade, the stadium will become increasingly empty, a ghost town of team that will always be loved, but not respected.
Unlike other sports which see teams consistently end up in the red, the NFL is set up to be a successful business venture. I just wish the Wilson family would stop spending like they were the Scrooges and start spending like they were the Steinbrenners.