Want to know what the best part about playing armchair GM is?
No matter how preposterous a deal I come up with, there's no worries of retribution. There are no fans threatening to boycott games, no players or agents screaming at me for a new contract, and no owner questioning my every move.
It's pure bliss.
So I figured that I'd weigh in on the Jason Peters debacle that has been brewing in Buffalo even before last season began.
For those of you who don't know, Peters is the Buffalo Bills starting left tackle, and two time Pro Bowler. Not bad for an undrafted tight end who was signed by the Bills in 2004.
After winning the right tackle job in 2005 from all-time bust Mike Williams, Peters was rewarded with a new contract, five years, $15 million. Midway through the 2006 season, Peters was shifted to left tackle, where he's been the starter ever since.
Prior to the 2008 season, Peters lamented about his current contract, refusing to participate in any of the offseason workouts, mandatory minicamps, and the entire preseason. He finally showed up the day before the season opener, and that was only after receiving assurances from the Bills that they would discuss a new contract. For his stubbornness, Peters was fined $600,000.
Despite a sub-par season, Peters was selected to his second straight Pro Bowl. However a knee injury kept him from making the trip to Hawaii.
Well here it is, 2009 and Peters is a no-show at the voluntary offseason conditioning program—again.
It's believed that Peters wants to be the highest paid left tackle in football, something higher than the $11 million the Carolina Panthers gave Jordan Gross back in February.
Peters current contract has two years remaining on it, and will pay him a total of $7.2 million.
Since nothing seems to be getting accomplished at One Bills Drive, I figured I'd better step up and try to resolve this impasse.
First we need to explore our options. The Bills could just pay him what he wants. Left tackles like Peters are invaluable, and since it seems like Trent Edwards' bones are made of soft crystal, the best available protection of his blind side should be a priority. However, the Bills are a small market team, usually spending well under the cap, and not prone to overspend on one player like that—no matter how important he may be.
A trade would be another, more viable option. A premiere left tackle like Peters would fetch a first round pick for sure, and in the process get rid of the headache known as his contract demands.
If the Bills were to trade Peters, they would still have good, usable options for the left tackle spot. Langston Walker, the Bills best overall lineman last year, could swing over to left tackle from his right tackle spot. The Bills could then use a draft pick on a big offensive lineman to fill the void at right tackle.
Or they could try and sign a veteran like Orlando Pace to a one-year contract, draft a tackle in the first round, and let Pace groom the young stud for the 2010 season.
Finally, the Bills could just let Peters sit and rot on the bench. True, he'd still be collecting just over $3 million to ride the pines, but it would send a message to Peters, and the rest of the team.
Like millions of others in this country, in this economy, just be happy you have a job. Take the contract you signed for and honor it. Period.
Very unlikely the Bills would do this, although it'd be nice to see a team stand up to the demands of a player for a change.
So there you are Buffalo—I've laid out options, and in my opinion, the second one seems best. Trade him. I'll even find you a trading partner.
Buffalo meet Philly. Philly meet Buffalo.
On behalf of myself and many other Buffalo Bills fans, do something already. Whatever, just do it so the team, and the fans can move on.