Dukes of Awesome

The Curious Case of Fred Jackson by errantremark

So Freddie Jackson is another no-show to Bills voluntary workouts, along with Terrell Owens and Jason Peters.

With TO, you know you’re gonna get a top flight athlete who knows the game, regardless of his off-the-field shenanigans.

With Peters, it’s a situation that we knew about, with him holding out for a new contract or new team, whether he deserves it or not.

Now there’s Fred Jackson, a restricted free agent. The Bills do have the upper hand, owning his rights and the ability to match contracts with any other team. And with a glut of free agent veteran backs out there, there’s a very good chance the Bills won’t have to match one of those offers.

So at face value, the Bills are playing this smart, in line with their usual negotiating style. Eloquently titled “Fuck you negotiations” by realwiley – the Bills always play like they have the upper hand, even if they do not. And with the market and needs (lots of RBs, having a stud back in Lynch), this seems smart.

But the Bills would be smart to simply sign F-Jax to a reasonable contract and get his ass into the fold as quickly as possible:

  1. The looming suspension of Marshawn Lynch: The safe bet is the Bills will be without Marshawn Lynch for at least two games, but possibly as many as four. So it’s understandable that the Bills looked for a veteran backup – Fred Taylor and… Maurice Hicks? I guess if you’re getting a backup-backup, Hicks is a step up from Xavier Omon, but not much. Fred Jackson had almost twice the yards of Hicks’ best season (2005) last year. And F-Jax has been very effective both in support of and in place of Marshawn Lynch. And while there are more experienced replacements out there, they’re also more expensive.
  2. Public Relations to NFL Players: Right now, Buffalo has a reputation of being a team of last resort for many veteran players. All you have to do is look at our free agent signings and losses over the years – Marcus Stroud was considered damaged goods, and it took a lot of money to win his services. Terrell Owens was pretty much out of options. Jason Peters wants out, and so did Pat Williams, Antoine Winfield and more. Mainly because the Bills didn’t want to pony up for proven talent that they developed. Kawika Mitchell was a lone exception – the Bills were insanely lucky to get him (even if his impact has yet to be gauged). I know money plays into this, but being proactive in signing F-Jax – a reliable contributor – could have an impact in how Buffalo is perceived by players.
  3. There’s no one out there better: The current crop of NFL free agent RBs includes Ruben Droughns, Ahman Green, Rudi Johnson, Warrick Dunn and Dominic Rhodes, about the only back that would be intriguing for the Bills would be….I guess Dunn, really. Johnson wants to start full-time, and the others are either old or ineffective now. Dunn is old, but he can still play and probably would take a back seat to Lynch. But that would render F-Jax to 3rd back, when he’s much more than that, and being only 28, gives you more production at a chaper price.

So I just don’t get why the Bills are holding back on F-Jax – we can’t afford valuable contributors to be out of workouts with the regularity the Bills seem to maintain – it sets bad precedent for the current team and any other players we might hope to attract. And it certainly isn’t making Turk, Dick and Perry’s job any easier.

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