CAPACCIO: Trade sends clear message - Bills are all-in on ending playoff drought in 2017

October 31, 2017

This is it. They’re going for it. 

As of 4 PM Tuesday, The Bills' front office sent a clear message to both their own locker room and their fan base.  Maybe even the rest of the NFL. They are All-In on 2017 and believe they can end a playoff drought that has weighed on this organization like an anvil for 17 years.

At 5-2, with most of the AFC looking mediocre, GM Brandon Beane seized on an opportunity to make his team better.  And by doing that, he squarely announced (without actually announcing) that they are making a run at the postseason.

Kelvin Benjamin, who the Bills acquired for third and seventh-round draft picks next year, immediately becomes the team’s most productive wide receiver.  His 32 catches and 475 yards this season are both MORE THAN DOUBLE the top WR on the Bills so far in both categories, Jordan Matthews with 15 and 193, respectively. 

At 6-5, 245 pounds, Benjamin adds a red zone presence to a team that has had trouble finishing drives with touchdowns.

This was the seventh trade the Bills made this league year involving a roster player.  But for the first time, they didn’t trade one away.  Cadale Jones, Sammy Watkins, Ronald Darby, Reggie Ragland, Kevon Seymour, and Marcell Dareus were all dealt away within the past three months.  

The Bills received future draft picks back in five of those six deals.  The first five also all occurred before the regular season started.  And each time one of those trades was announced, the same refrain was said by anyone with a microphone or a keyboard - “the Bills are tanking.  They’re gutting the roster and trying to get to the bottom.”

Well, a funny thing happened on the way down.

They played solid defense, took the ball away at a record pace, didn’t give the ball to the other team, got clutch kicking, contributions from the entire roster, and won five of their first seven games.

Of course Beane and head coach Sean McDermott never had any intention of throwing up a white flag this year.  They told anyone who would listen that, yes, they were setting themselves up for future success, but they also planned on winning now, too.  

At 5-2, with nineteen picks in the next two drafts, including twelve in the first four rounds, Beane realized he could dip into that draft capital to add a valuable piece to the 2017 puzzle.  

“You take every year in its own,” he told reporters Tuesday evening.  “If you’re 0-7, I’m not sure you’re giving away a pick.  So, each year is a different year.  It’s a different season.  No matter what all the prognosticators have out there.  I’ve been a part of teams that were predicted to go to the Super Bowl and we went six and ten. Those aren’t the years you try and make a move that's out there, necessarily, at the trade deadline.  So again, years where you start like this, you’re always looking to help yourself win now and win in the future, and I honestly think that's what this does.”

Looking to the future is something we’ve come accustomed to in Buffalo.  And “win now” has been said by several who've come before this new regime.  It al sounds great and gets fans fired up.  Yet here we are, eighteen years in, still waiting for now to arrive.

Maybe it has.  So many want to believe and hope that’s the case.  But it’s tough to go down that emotional road, knowing how many times it’s hurt in the end before.  

Not for Brandon Beane.  He’s not driving a tank.  He’s got a bulldozer, and he’s driving it right into that playoff wall.

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