Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott talks about his team’s surplus of offensive tackles.
ORCHARD PARK – Nobody pays attention to the woeful Cleveland Browns, so you may have missed the news that longtime star left tackle Joe Thomas tore his triceps Sunday and is out for the season.
Plenty of fans are paying attention to the Philadelphia Eagles because they have the best record in the NFC and just played on Monday Night Football, so the news of left tackle Jason Peters’ season-ending knee injury was in plain view, and is a big storyline this week.
In that same game, the Washington Redskins saw three line starters suffer injuries that knocked them out of action — tackles Trent Williams and Morgan Moses, and guard Brandon Scherff.
And in Seattle, the Seahawks offensive line — which includes struggling first-year starting left tackle Rees Odhiambo — continues to underwhelm and is one of the key reasons why some observers don’t believe Pete Carroll’s team can contend for a championship this season.
Memo to all four clubs: The Buffalo Bills have an abundance of offensive tackles, and for the right price, the majority of them are available.
“Oh, those conversations take place every day, regardless of surplus or not,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said Wednesday morning regarding trade talks. “We do have surpluses at certain positions and the good part about it is we’ve got good football players at those positions. But those are conversations that do take place every day.”
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McDermott stopped short of saying Bills’ general manager Brandon Beane is actively shopping the likes of Cordy Glenn, Jordan Mills, Seantrel Henderson and Connor McDermott (rookie second-rounder Dion Dawkins is safe). But it makes perfect sense for the Bills to field offers because they have some leverage, particularly with those three teams.
Bills rookie offensive lineman Dion Dawkins working on technique during practice. (Photo: JAMIE GERMANO, @jgermano1/Staff Photographer)
The biggest name on the list, of course, is Glenn. He’s an established player in the NFL, but he has a hefty salary cap number that would impact the team acquiring him. If the Bills were able to deal Glenn, they’d be on the hook for approximately $9 million on their salary cap next year, which isn’t great, but it’s not a deal-breaker. The team that acquires Glenn would, as of today, owe him around $5.4 million for the rest of this season, and would essentially inherit what amounts to a three-year, $30 million contract moving forward.
Philadelphia seems like a perfect fit for Glenn, given that they have a real chance to do some damage this season, and Peters is a Pro Bowl talent who has left a gaping hole. Seattle has already reportedly inquired about Glenn’s availability, so there’s a little smoke there.
Cleveland is a young team going nowhere, and Thomas is already well-compensated and will likely be back next season, so the Browns wouldn’t seem like a good candidate to take on Glenn. However, Mills or Henderson — middling players who have experience — might interest them.
The Bills are high on Dawkins, and if Glenn were to be traded, he would immediately take over at left tackle, a position he has already played this season. And if Mills were to be traded (though the expected minimal return might not make it worthwhile for the Bills), Dawkins could move into the right tackle spot, too.
Given Henderson’s suspension history, he carries almost no value, while McDermott is a rookie whom the Bills seem to like and may think enough of to keep around. He was a sixth-round pick of the Patriots out of UCLA, a two-time All-Pac-12 player who was waived at the end of the preseason and quickly signed by the Bills on Sept. 3.
McDermott has said on several occasions that he’s still trying to find the right combination of five starters up front, and seven different players have already started at least two games. It remains a work in progress.
“I like where we’re going as a team,” McDermott said regarding the offensive line. “And that speaks to some of the depth and the way the guys have worked to this point.”
Here are some of the other topics McDermott covered in his press conference.
McDermott: “Jordan’s going to be day to day so we’ll see how it goes this week. We’ll prepare everyone, and that’s why our approach is the way it is every week. And the players take great pride in preparing even though they may not have been the starter before now, so that when their number’s called, they’re ready to go.”
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Bills Marcell Dareus looks to make the tackle on Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22). (Photo: JAMIE GERMANO, @jgermano1/Staff Photographer)
► Marcell Dareus had his best game of the season last week as he was in on five tackles and played 57 percent of the snaps. It was the type of performance the Bills need much more of from their highest-paid player, and McDermott said he liked how Dareus improved.
McDermott: “His week of practice last week, when you develop habits during the week, more times than not you give yourself a chance for that to show up in the game and I thought I saw that, so we’re moving in the right direction as far as that goes and I’m anxious to see how we do this week in that regard. I thought he played his best football last week.”
► McDermott was asked whether he’s concerned that rookie Tre’Davious White is so hard on himself when plays don’t go his way. White was more interested on Sunday about the fact that he allowed Mike Evans to score the go-ahead touchdown than in the fumble he forced and recovered that set the Bills up for the last-second victory.
McDermott: “I think it’s probably somewhere in between. It’s a great quality to have, and he’s also young. There’s two parts to that. He also takes a lot of pride in what he does, whether it’s on the field or off the field. You hear the saying ‘winning is an all-the-time thing, not just a sometime thing’ and that’s the type of guy we’re talking about. What you saw the last three plays of defense, but in particular, two of the last three back-to-back, touchdown (against White), and then very next play he comes back and makes a play going the other way. When I see plays like that, I don’t worry as much about that in terms of the mental toughness and being able to bounce back.”