Tumultuous Bills Offseason: Desperation or Beginning of Big Future?

Tom MitchellContributor IApril 19, 2009

ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Marshawn Lynch #23 of the Buffalo Bills scores Buffalo's second touchdown against the San Diego Chargers on October 19, 2008 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. Buffalo won 23-14. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

The 2009 Buffalo Bills offseason was the most eventful and busy in recent memory. 

The stories from this past offseason littered the headlines, most notably the signing of Terrell Owens to a one-year, $6.5 million deal, the arrest and suspension of running back Marshawn Lynch, and most recently the dealing of beleaguered OT Jason Peters to the Philadelphia Eagles for a first-round pick (28th), a fourth-round pick, and a sixth-round pick in next year's draft.

These moves, coupled with the departure of starters Jabari Greer and Duke Preston through free agency, mean the Bills team that the Patriots see this Sept. 14 will look much different than the one they saw in the last game of the season last December.

The signing of TO has been criticized and praised by both national and local media members alike.  One thing we can all agree on is that it will shake up an offense that looked methodical, at its best. The addition of Owens creates two threats on the outside, something the Bills have truly lacked since Eric Moulds and Peerless Price caught balls from Drew Bledsoe.

If the Bills can find a way to work the dangerous Roscoe Parrish into the fold, they will possess three receivers capable at any time of taking it the distance.  When coupled with the dynamic running group of Lynch, Fred Jackson, and the recently signed Dominic Rhodes, the Bills are handing Trent Edwards the keys to a potentially fearsome offensive machine.

The skill and speed the Bills possess on the outside and in the backfield contrasts drastically with their lack of experience and talent on the front line. Peters moving to the Eagles was expected because of the inability between the two sides to work out a new contract for him.

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Peters was demanding top money and the Bills, who never spend to the cap, were not going to give it to him. Peters put the Bills in a difficult position, leading to the trade.

As has been seen in the Bills' past, the trade seems to give away too much for too little. Peters, at 27, is in the prime of his career and might even have his best years ahead of him, having only played OT since his second year in the NFL.

His athleticism and talent are unquestioned. In his rookie year Peters was the most devastating middle-kick coverage man I have seen, and he ran a 4.88 40-time coming out of Arkansas.

For all of this the Bills received a lowly 28th overall pick, a fourth-rounder, and a future sixth rounder. This screams desperation and a lack of patience from the Bills management.

The Eagles are in dire need of an OT, having let long-time starters Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan depart. They may have been willing to part with their other first-round selection (21st) if the Bills had waited until draft day to make a deal.

Instead, the Bills parted with a player who has made the Pro Bowl in his only two full seasons as a starter for pennies on the dollar.

Despite this failure, if the Bills are able to turn the 11th pick into a starting left tackle and a DE/OLB, the draft can be seen as successful.  If the Bills' early second-round pick (11th) can be used on a TE that can work the middle of the field, such as South Carolina's Jared Cook, then it would just add to the weapons at Trent Edwards disposal. 

Those first three picks, combined with the outcome of the TO deal, will be the determining factors contributing to the success of this offseason.  An offseason that could be viewed in the future as when the Bills went wrong with a talented young nucleus, or when they made the moves to take the step from 7-9 to the playoffs and beyond.

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