Brad Smith Decision Is First Blunder of the Buffalo Bills Offseason
The Buffalo Bills have had one of their best offseasons is recent memory. Their work in free agency was nothing short of brilliant. The 2012 NFL Draft addressed immediate needs and brought in young talent. Everything they have done up to this point seemed like a great move.
However, the decision to move Brad Smith to an exclusive quarterback role just doesn't make sense.
Granted, the Smith experiment never really panned out how Buffalo anticipated last season. Perhaps the shortened offseason prevented Chan Gailey from utilizing Smith as an extensive playmaker in several ways.
So maybe Gailey realized that Smith would better the Bills by making plays in one area. Towards the end of last season Smith was making good plays as a receiver. Maybe Gailey saw Smith as a return guy or a short yardage or red-zone player. But moving Smith to quarterback is a waste of his talents and a waste of his $15 million contract.
There is absolutely no chance Smith starts a game at quarterback next season. That's something he hasn't done in the NFL. The Bills have invested into Ryan Fitzpatrick and it is his job to lose. And if he does lose it, which is unlikely at this point, Vince Young is more than ready to take that role and take advantage of it.
So the Bills have tens of millions of dollars invested into their starting quarterback. They have a two-time Pro Bowler and a proven winner in Young. And Young has the superior scrambling ability to Smith. If the Bills wanted a mobile quarterback Young would get the nod. Chances are that Tyler Thigpen, who has the most experience with Gailey of the quarterbacks, will not just disappear in training camp. Smith is probably the fourth best quarterback on the roster and this move just doesn't make sense.
What should Buffalo do with Brad Smith?
The Bills have a need at wide receiver. Outside of Stevie Johnson and David Nelson, the Bills are loaded with mediocre at best players. Don't fool yourself, the position needs an upgrade. Since Smith is a big target with decent hands, he could make plays starting opposite of Johnson. If the Bills wanted to use him as a red-zone threat, he can make plays in three different phases. Or the Bills could use Smith as the Jets did—as a receiver and runner. If the Jets didn't use Smith in the way they did, Buffalo wouldn't be exposed to his talents and thus would have no interest of him on their team anyway!
So Smith becoming an exclusive quarterback just doesn't make sense. Is it really worth it for Buffalo to mess up a rhythm on offense just to give Smith a few plays a game? Chances are the defense would already know what's coming. In all of last year, Smith threw one pass, coming in Week 1. And it happened to be an interception.
Sorry Buffalo, but you finally didn't make a good choice this offseason.
Although this move doesn't drastically hurt the Bills—Smith was never much of a factor anyway—it just doesn't make sense. Moving a top playmaker and a decent receiver to third string quarterback is simply going to limit his opportunities to make plays.
And for a four-year $15 million contract, you would hope for a tad more than a few touches a game.
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