The Buffalo Bills haven’t been afraid to make a deal since general manager Doug Whaley took over for Buddy Nix in 2013.
Whether it be trading for Jerry Hughes, moving up to the 4th overall pick to select Sammy Watkins or shipping (The Legend Of) Kiko Alonso to Philadelphia for LeSean McCoy, the Bills’ GM has never been shy about taking a risk.
Whaley isn’t afraid to do it his way, and you’ll probably never be able to anticipate his next move. Heck, he sent Fred Jackson packing and “22” could end up on the Bills’ Wall of Fame one day.
Needless to say, with the 2016 NFL Draft just 17 days away, all of Bills nation should expect the unexpected once 8 p.m. rolls around the night of April 28.
Could Whaley pull another move like he did for Sammy Watkins? Could he try to stack up a few more picks in a draft class loaded with defensive talent?
Or…could he choose to do nothing at all and stay put with his eight picks?
Whatever the case may be, here’s a look at three players currently on Buffalo’s roster that could be used as possible trade ammo on draft day:
OK. I know what you’re thinking. The Bills would NEVER trade away the 10-year veteran who they selected in the fifth round of the 2006 draft.
I’m sorry to tell you, but you can never say never with Whaley at the helm.
Not many outside of One Bills Drive thought the Bills would actually go through with cutting Fred Jackson, but they did.
Stevie Johnson? See ya! Ohh, and remember Brian Moorman? Bye, Felisha.
The point of all that? Regardless of what your stature is amongst the locker room, the fan base or the community, it doesn’t matter to Whaley.
What matters is what you do on the field. And, for the most part, that’s how it should be when running a football team.
Kyle Williams has been a very productive player over his 10 seasons (469 tackles, 35.5 sacks and 1 interception) and has made the Pro Bowl four times along the way.
However, the former LSU Tiger will also be 33 in June and is coming off a season in which he played just six games due to suffering a knee injury against the Cincinnati Bengals on Oct. 18.
The Bills have been linked to plenty of defensive linemen heading into this year’s draft, and it could be very likely that the team wants to get younger at that position.
Add in the fact that Williams is probably better suited for a traditional 4-3 alignment rather than Rex Ryan’s 3-4 defense, and the team has plenty of logical reasons for moving on from the defensive tackle.
Now, do I think the Bills will actually trade Kyle Williams? No. But, could they? Sure.
I fully expect Williams to be in the team’s plans for at least the 2016 season, but don’t be shocked if he isn’t.
A second-round pick in 2013, Woods has been a steady target for the Bills’ assortment of quarterbacks over the past three seasons as he’s totaled 152 receptions for 1,838 yards and 11 touchdowns.
While those numbers are respectable, the former USC Trojan hasn’t quite met expectations in terms of being a top threat opposite Sammy Watkins.
After posting career-highs in catches (65), yards (699) and touchdowns (5) in 2014, Woods never looked comfortable last season and it showed on the field (47 rec, 552 yds, 3 TD).
It was reported that the receiver was dealing with a groin injury for most of 2015, but there’s generally little sympathy for players in a league where the only thing that matters is production.
And the Bills haven’t been shy about adding competition for the 6-foot wideout.
After seeing the Percy Harvin experiment fail, Buffalo has decided to go with cheaper signings (Greg Salas, Greg Little, Jarrett Boykin, Leonard Hankerson) when it comes to their recent additions to the wide receiver room.
Despite that fact, it appears the team isn’t satisfied with their depth at the position and will continue to look for options until a definitive leader emerges to step up alongside Watkins.
It’s been relatively quiet in regards to Buffalo’s opinion on this year’s draft class, but if a wide receiver that the team loves is there at either pick No. 19 or No. 49, then it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility that Whaley pulls the trigger.
If he does so, then the team might decide to move on from Robert Woods. Remember, it was reported last offseason that Woods was almost sent to Philly instead of Alonso.
The last player on this list, EJ Manuel is heading into the final year of his rookie contract after spending 2015 as Tyrod Taylor’s backup.
After losing the three-way quarterback competition in training camp, Manuel started last season as the team’s third-string signal caller before jumping up to the primary backup spot after Matt Cassel was traded to the Cowboys.
In his only two starts last year, the 6-foot-4-inch, 237-pound former first-round pick failed to win a game as he went 0-2 and threw for just 561 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions along the way.
It’s not really surprising that Manuel struggled in limited action last season seeing as how he has wildly underperformed thus far in his career (3,371 yards, 19 TD, 15 INT, 59.1 completion %) since being selected 16th overall in the 2013 draft.
General manager Doug Whaley and head coach Rex Ryan have consistently thrown their support behind Manuel despite his poor performance, but you have to wonder how concrete that support is.
With Tyrod Taylor entering the final year of the contract he signed last offseason, Buffalo has been scouring the incoming draft class for a quarterback to groom for the (near or distant) future.
Names like Cardale Jones, Paxton Lynch, Dak Prescott, Christian Hackenberg and, most recently, Connor Cook have all been linked to the Bills when it comes to the upcoming draft.
So where does that leave Manuel?
Well, if the Bills feel that any of those aforementioned players have a future with the franchise, then Manuel’s time could be limited in Orchard Park.
Although his cost is relatively cheap this season, the Bills might find it useless to have their former first-rounder on the team as a third option behind Taylor and whomever they decide to draft.
If that’s the case, then Buffalo might be wise to see what they could get for EJ Manuel in the trade market.
His play thus far has been underwhelming at best, but there’s still a reason why Manuel was taken in the first round three years ago.
With prototypical size, sufficient arm strength and desirable leadership qualities, Buffalo just might get a team to bite if they put him up for grabs come draft weekend.
Follow John Green: @JGreen_PRsports