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A few weeks ago, the Bills completed their efforts to lock up one of their star players for a few more years. Lee Evans signed a contract that will keep him playing in Buffalo through the 2012 season. That’s a good chunk of time, and Evans is a great player to build an offense around. In his first three years, he is on pace to be one of the best Bills receivers of all time.
But the Bills can not be satisfied. They have a bit more work to do.
Some fans and most of the media believe that the front office should now turn their focus toward left tackle, Jason Peters. Peters certainly has shown he is a great talent at that position, but I really believe he hurt his cause this past off-season by not only holding out, but reportedly refusing to even communicate with the Bills at all.
Where did that get him? So far through 4 games played he has been directly responsible for a couple turnovers, and some bad, drive-killing penalties. He has deservedly faced the reproof of many fans. And with two years remaining on his contract after this season, I’m really not sure it’s in the best interest of the Bills to focus on extending his deal right now. What can he do? Hold out again? Would that work for him?
No, there are two players who clearly are the heart of the offense moving forward. Two players who have at least a couple more years on their contracts, but who should be the primary focus of an aggressive and determined front office. Two more players you can really build a team around, not only because of talent, but character, heart, work ethic, and other such intangibles.
Trent Edwards and Marshawn Lynch should be directly in the crosshairs of Russ Brandon and his staff.
Edwards has proven already in his very short career that he has an understanding and command of the game of football, and an ability to read defenses and make decisions that goes beyond the talent he also has to get the football downfield to the receiver. His record as a starter is 9-4He is definitely a franchise quarterback, and needs to be treated as such. The Bills do not want to be renegotiating his contract in the final season of his current contract. They would do well to begin talking this offseason.
By the numbers, you could argue that Bills RB Marshawn Lynch is not a spectacular, franchise running back. He almost never cracks the century mark. His touchdown production has tailed off. His average per carry is usually under 4.0.
But numbers do not always tell the story.
If you get to watch Lynch, you know that his heart is enormous. When his team is down, he incredibly steps up his game another notch or two. He runs hard on every run, and usually is fighting through a few tackles before he even reaches the line of scrimmage. He calls his second gear “Beast Mode”, and over his short two year career there have been some amazing displays of that extra tough running.
Aside from the raw talent of both Lynch and Edwards, both players have displayed a strong work ethic in practice and in the off season, and that “second level” of determination to win in games. When they are on the field, the team – and the fans – can count on them to produce. That is rare, and critical.
So with Evans on the payroll for four more seasons, it’s time the Bills lock up the other two pieces of their main offensive attack: Marshawn Lynch, and Trent Edwards. With Edwards, Lynch, and Evans as the core, the Bills could have a potent offense for a long time to come.