The Buffalo Bills once had C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch stocked up at the running back depth chart. Now on paper, this would appear to be one of the finest three-headed rushing attacks in all of football.
However, the Bills made the decision to trade their Pro Bowl running back to Seattle in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick in 2011 and conditional pick in the 2012 NFL draft. Could the Bills have gotten more value out of Lynch in a trade? Probably. But the results of the swap should leave Bills coaches and fans smirking for a variety of reasons.
Here are three reasons Buffalo supporters should be pleased with how things have worked out.
Reason No. 1
With the departure of Lynch, Spiller and Jackson have been able to develop. Spiller gained more reps as a rookie in 2010 and was ready to explode when given the opportunity. Jackson started the remaining 13 games after Lynch left and finished with 927 yards on the ground.
In 2011, Jackson was playing at an All-Pro level before he got hurt with 934 rushing yards, a 5.5 yards-per-carry average and 442 receiving yards in only 10 games. After Jackson went down, Spiller stepped in and finished the year with 561 rushing yards and a 5.2 yards-per-carry average.
Now in 2012, the Bills find themselves in a great situation. They have two stellar backs who can bring a lot to the team. Their only problem is that they aren't quite sure how to divide the carries.
Reason No. 2
The picks acquired from Seattle were a fourth-rounder in 2011 and a fifth-rounder in 2012. With those picks, Buffalo added tackle Chris Hairston and linebacker Tank Carder.
Hairston started seven of his 13 games as a rookie and has a chance to start in 2012. Even if he doesn't start, he has time to continue developing and eventually be a bigger factor.
Carder is entering training camp as an early sleeper and has a chance to compete for minutes. He should get into the rotation early on and grow as a player to earn a bigger role.
So while these two players aren't exactly tearing up the NFL, they provide value and upside to Buffalo. Both players have a chance to be big factors this upcoming season.
Reason No. 3
As good as Skittles taste and as powerful "Beast Mode" was, Lynch also brought a lot of baggage to Buffalo. Teammates never complained to the media that he was a bad teammate, but how can a person like Lynch positively influence a locker room?
Lynch was arrested in 2009 for a gun charge and suspended for four games in the 2009 season. In 2010, Lynch, despite being a millionaire, was in trouble for stealing $20 from a woman in an Applebees. And of course, 2012 brought about his DUI arrest.
So who really cares in Lynch made the 2011 Pro Bowl or stunned the Saints with a run for the ages. Lynch is trouble, and for all of his talent, he had no place on the Buffalo squad.
The Bills got rid of a troublemaker and in turn got a lot. They let their own talent develop to a level that they might have never known existed. They even got two decent players in the draft. And more importantly, they didn't get the bad publicity that would have come with Lynch's newest error.
So, Beast Mode, tell us how good those Skittles are during the first few weeks of the 2012 NFL season.
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