What Will the Bills Have to Give Up to Move Into the Top Five?
“Bills ‘Trying Like Hell’ to Trade Up to Take QB” This was yesterday’s big headline in the NFL. After the Bills traded for the 12th overall pick, there were reports of them still wanting to trade up. Those reports died down over of the last month or so, but have now resurfaced. It wasn’t clear before how far the Bills were trying to move up in the draft, but now we know they want to move into the top five to take a quarterback.
There are five quarterbacks who should be off the board in the first round. While quarterbacks are usually a hot commodity every year, this year seems to be different. We know the Browns are taking a quarterback first overall. The Giants might take a quarterback second and the Jets are for sure taking a quarterback third. The Browns are back on the clock at four, and although they won’t take a quarterback, they could trade out of that spot. Then at pick five you have the Broncos, who will strongly consider taking a quarterback. It’s possible that all five quarterbacks considered worthy of a first round pick could be off the board within the first five picks. When you consider this, the Bills wanting to move into the top five makes total sense.
To get into the top five, Buffalo may have a bit of a tough time for a couple reasons. One reason is who picks in the top five. We know Cleveland isn’t moving out of first and the Jets aren’t moving out of pick three. That leaves the Giants at two, the Browns at four, and the Broncos at five. If the Giants want to take a quarterback this year, they won’t move out of that spot. It’s one thing to get a quarterback, but getting the guy you want at quarterback is more important. If the Giants want the quarterback they want, they stay put at two. The Broncos may consider trading down, but if their serious about getting a quarterback, they have to stay put. Picking at twelve is not going to get them a long term quarterback option in this draft.
This leaves the Browns at pick four. Out of all the teams in the top five, I think they’re the most likely to trade down. Yes, they could get another talent like Saquon Barkley or Minkah Fitzpatrick at pick four, but they could also trade down and add some additional picks. They already have three second round picks in addition to their two first rounders. Trading down with the Bills may not allow them to pick at four, but it could allow them to have picks 12, 22, and maybe another second rounder in addition to the first overall pick. That’s a lot of talent.
In my most recent mock draft, I mocked a trade between the Browns and Bills at pick four. When I mocked the trade, I wasn’t really thinking about what Buffalo would have to give up in order to move up that far. The only thing I thought about was Buffalo keeping the 22nd overall pick because if it were me, I’d do everything I could to keep that pick. It may not be realistic to do so, but we’ll talk about that more in a little bit. Yesterday I received a comment on my mock draft from fellow blogger, usfman, in which he asked, “What do you think the Browns will receive for allowing Buffalo to trade up to the 4th pick?”
This question came at a perfect time because of the news about the Bills wanting to trade up, and it really got me thinking. What will they have to give up? My mind went first to the Jets trade with the Colts. To move up from pick six to pick three, the Jets had to swap their first rounder and give up two second round picks this year along with a second round pick next year. That’s a significant amount to give up to move up three spots. To make a trade with the Browns, Buffalo would have to move up eight spots. The least they could move up to reach their goal of getting into the top five would be seven spots. If moving up three spots cost the Jets three second round picks and swapping first rounders, what will moving up somewhere between seven and 10 spots cost?
In response to usfman’s question, here was my initial response: “I’d say it’d have to be pretty significant. I think Buffalo would want to keep their 2nd first round pick if possible, but they do have 2 second rounders and 2 third rounders this year. So they’d give up the number 12 pick, one of their second and third rounders this year, and probably a second rounder next year at least. When you consider the Jets and Colts trade, the Jets gave up number 6, 2 second rounders this year, and a second rounder next year, so the Bills would probably have to give up more. Maybe both of their second rounders this year and one next year along with a second or third next year. They may end up giving up their 2nd first rounder, but if it were me I’d do what I could to keep it.”
The more I think about this, the more I think the Bills will have to trade the 22nd overall pick, along with at least two other picks this year (second or third) and at least one pick next year (likely a second rounder). After my response, usfman responded by saying, “Under those circumstances, Buffalo would be unwise to trade up with the Browns then.” I agree with him mostly. If they give all that up to get a quarterback and he turns out to be average or terrible, it’s unwise. If they give all that up and the quarterback they take ends up leading them to a Super Bowl win in three, five, or even ten years, it’s worth it.
What we have to consider is what the Bills are willing to trade to get their guy. When asked what he’d be willing to give up, Bills GM Brandon Beane said, “If it makes us a lot better, and if it’s a player that would be worthy of that, yes, we’ll do anything we can to make our roster better. I’m not locked in that I would or I wouldn’t. It would have to make sense and be a player that we really felt strongly about to do that.” If the Bills think they can get their franchise quarterback with the fourth overall pick, then according to Beane they’re willing to give up whatever it takes to get him.
We all know it’s going to take a lot for the Bills to move up in the draft regardless of where they move up to, but especially if it’s within the top five. The good news for them is they have the assets to make a trade happen. Because of what they have to trade, it’s likely the Bills will be able to get to where they want to be. I’m excited to see how this draft will play out, especially when it comes to trading up for quarterbacks.