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Are The Bills Better Off Without Losman?

Estimated reading time: 5 minute(s)

With the NFL trade deadline fast approaching, some have suggested (even starting right here with Your Truly of the Buffalo Bills Review) that the Bills should trade JP Losman while they still can. Losman is under contract with the Bills through the end of the 2008 season. That means this season is very likely his “contract” year. His play in 2007 will determine the value of his next contract with Buffalo—or if he is even offered one.

Is it just crazy talk to be suggesting the Bills dump a guy whom they have developed for four years now? This was to be his “breakout” season. He was injured on the first play of the third game this year, so we only saw him play in two games, but it would certainly not qualify as a “breakout season”.

In an article following Trent Edwards first start, I echoed the sentiments of Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News when I declared that game the beginning of the Trent Edwards Era. Of course that is premature, but I saw in one game what I have been wanting to see for three years from Losman. I have never been a JP basher. If you had to label me, I would likely fall in the “JP Supporter” camp. I do see the upside of Losman.

But in all of two starts I have seen way more upside from Trent Edwards. Poise, confidence, composure, quick release, quick decision making, accuracy, arm strength… I’d say on all but the last one Edwards possesses at least a slight edge over Losman. The main difference between the two is Losman’s 30-plus NFL games to Edwards three. But so far that difference only appears to matter on paper.

Benefits of a Trade
I know trades don’t happen that often in the NFL. They are especially rare during the season. However, let’s look at some positives of moving JP Losman right now.

  • Contract:
    The Bills will be making a decision this year whether or not to extend Losman’s contract. Has he shown enough in his four years here to warrant an extension? Maybe the Bills are asking themselves right now, “Has Edwards shown us enough in just three games?” It makes sense to make a move now, if they are going to do it inevitably anyway.

    I think the Bills know what they are going to do with him. They know whether they will offer him an extension, or not. If they shop him around, and find a buyer now, they can get something in return. Not sure that happens in the off-season.

  • Controversy:
    Buffalo has had way too many QB controversies since Jim Kelly retired. Flutie/Johnson, Bledsoe/Flutie, Bledsoe/Losman, Losman/Holcomb, and now the playoff-starved fans are sensing another following the excellent play from rookie Trent Edwards. Losman has never won the hearts of Buffalo fans. Not that they hate the kid, mind you. He’s just never completely won the city over. Enter Edwards. Enter controversy.

    A swift and immediate trade would end said controversy. Trent Edwards has looked more than competent at the helm of the Bills ship. Without the option of going to Losman, there would be no QB controversy. There would be no distraction for the rest of the team.

  • There is a Need:
    I was joking a week or two ago about Atlanta needing a QB (because of how awful Joey Harrington is) but now there are even more desperate teams to talk to. Desperate enough to bring in 43-year-old QB Vinny Testaverde in Carolina! Miami, Carolina, St. Louis, and others are all hurting for a good QB. JP has the physical talent to be that, which earned him his status as a first-round selection in the 2004 draft. Desperate teams may be willing to offer something for Losman based on his potential, despite his track record as a Bills starter.
  • Do it for JP:
    As I stated above, Losman has never won the hearts of this city. He is a likable guy, and I think he is well liked in the locker room. But from what I have heard—and just my opinion from observing Edwards’ play—there is more reason for confidence in Edwards as the QB than anything we’ve seen from Losman in his entire career here in Buffalo. Sometimes it’s just good to move on. With a year left on his contract, JP needs to make a good showing, and perhaps with the QB shortage, trading him allows him to do just that, while offering the Bills some compensation for him. (Maybe more than they might get otherwise, since there is an immediate need on several teams.)

So the dilemma for the Bills becomes, do you take a chance on the kid (Edwards), or do you show some loyalty to a guy you have poured four years of development into, who also wears the big C on his jersey. Doesn’t that mean something, too? He is one of the six captains of the 2007 Buffalo Bills. That has to count for something.

And I believe that is what Dick Jauron thinks as well.

My opinion is that the right move for the Bills—and for JP Losman—is to move him right now. There should be some willing takers, even in exchange for only a draft pick. (The way the Bills have been drafting the past two seasons, that could be a very valuable pick!) If Edwards is the guy, there’s no reason not to.

That said, more than likely we will see JP back under center for the game against Baltimore, and then the NY Jets, and then I am not sure what will happen. If Losman plays up to his full potential, he keeps his job, and the Bills do have a QB “controversy” on their hands. If he’s mediocre or worse, he rides the pine the rest of the year as the Bills develop Edwards.

The Bills have until October 16th to decide. My vote is to let the Edwards era begin.

We’ll have to wait and see how Levy and Jauron vote.