by Mario "Game" Granata and Paul "Closer" Wanecski
With the Draft a over a month away, check out what the Bills and Browns have been discussing.
Anthony Barr is considered by some people to be the best linebacker in the draft (outside of Khalil Mack) and where he will fall seems to fluctuate more than the Dow Jones lately, but there have been some early reports out of Buffalo of a possible trade to get the UCLA star.
People have been talking around the Western, New York area (spurned on by an article on NFL.com) that the Bills are inquiring about a trade with the Houston Texans for the number 1 overall pick in the 2014 Draft, and who and what they will be giving up to obtain that pick is still a mystery.
Reports that came out today is that the trade with Houston was just a smoke screen for the real trade that has been discussed, with former defensive coordinator, and current Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine. With the Browns also owning another first round pick, they can be a little more risky when it comes to trading their first pick (4th overall) to anyone.
It is no secret that both the Bills and the Browns need bodies, and need players to dig themselves out of the slump that they have been in, and especially for the Bills who have encountered a 14 year drought of January-less play, maybe a drastic move to trade up is just the kick start that the Bills need.
League free agency has slowed down to a crawl, so the movements that are to be made from here on out will involve draft picks. But who are the Bills willing to part ways with? Who on the Buffalo Bills defense does Mike Pettine think is worth the 4th pick in the draft, and moreover, with the league has been more aerial in nature, and talks of Stevie Johnson playing opposite Josh Gordon have also leaked from the Bills and Browns’ camps, per sources.
Forgetting the recent season that Stevie Johnson had, it would seem impossible for the Bills to give their most veteran receiver, and their most talented slot receiver to the Browns, to form a tandem of that nature, but with the recent developments of Desean Jackson, maybe the Bills aren’t worried about letting Stevie go.
One on hand, it would be a fresh start for the Bills, and some of the younger wide receivers that they signed and drafted will get more of a chance to show what they can do, and gain some much needed experience, but to release Johnson in order to move up in the draft, and obtain a linebacker with the 4th pick, seems like there would be a log jam in Jim Schwartz’s 4-3 defensive scheme.
On the other hand, the Bills could be more creative with their defensive schemes if they had the bodies to move around. Other reports coming out of Bills camp is that they were willing to part ways with Jairus Byrd, in order to sign Aaron Williams, yes, but with the projected move up to 4th to take Barr, news of Kiko Alonso moving back to free safety was on the table. Can you imagine the Legend in the secondary? Kiko Alonso, per sources, has already dropped 10 pounds and has been working with multiple strength and conditioning coaches for his foot speed and quickness. Brian Urlacher moved from the secondary to inside linebacker when he turned pro, who’s to say that Kiko couldn’t move back to the secondary?
Last but not least, there is the compensation of what draft picks that the Browns will want if they trade back with Buffalo? Stevie wasn’t a first rounder, but at times has played like one, when he has been given the chance to play in the slot, and with the Bills needing their draft picks, which ones, and how many would satisfy moving up to take Barr?
Surprise moves have happened before when the draft was right around the corner, but with the draft over a month away, this was certainly a startling development, and a bold move by both the Browns and the Bills. The smoke screen with Houston is what happens in the NFL, and happens often. But to trade up for a linebacker seems like a stretch when you have the current roster like the Bills have. No word on the identity of the informant(s) for both the Bills and the Browns, but this could definitely shake up the draft.
Now, if you took the time to read this article and you are shaking your head in any way, shape or form, I would like you to go back to the top of the article, and write down the first letter that began each paragraph in this article (minus this one). We know we are a couple days early, but have a great April Fool’s Day everyone, and be sure to tune into Hashtag Sports tomorrow night at 9pm for some ‘real’ late breaking news.