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Monday, April 20, 2009
Bills fans passionate about Peters trade: Part 1


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

On a national scale, the Jason Peters trade didn't reverberate like the incredible news the Buffalo Bills had signed lightning rod Terrell Owens.

Yet among Bills fans, the decision to trade Peters to the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday was every bit as significant based on the reactions submitted to my AFC East mailbag.

Their opinions on the departure of a left tackle -- anonymous to casual football fans anywhere other than Buffalo and, as of 72 hours ago, Philadelphia -- were as plentiful and passionate as the acquisition of a relative household name.

The Peters ordeal had been festering for a year. His contract dispute had worn on Bills fans, who also know the value of an elite left tackle.

Some thought the undrafted college tight end was worthy of his Pro Bowl honors. Others thought he was overrated. Detractors also considered him disloyal for holding out despite three years remaining on his contract.

No matter. He's gone now, and here's what fans had to say about it. A healthy portion of the mailbag submissions came from members of Two Bills Drive, a popular Bills message board.

Joe in New York writes: This is the most depressed and angry I have ever been as a Bills fan. I really don't understand the muted response from Bills fans about the trade of Peters (and the possible trade of Parrish). Peters was the most talented football player on the team's roster, and the chances that our new first round pick will ever be an equivalent replacement or an all pro at another position are very slim. Prior to Jason Peters, it had been more than 15 years since the Bills had a good LT. You don't trade young, talented left tackles. I also don't understand the agruments that the Bills would have been overpaying for Peters or that he could not have had much of an impact since the Bills have been 7-9 the past couple of years. The reality is that this team has a ton of cap room and has been overpaying for other players on an all too consistent basis (Dockery, K. Williams, Johnson and even Evans). If 7-9 looks bad with Peters, I am dreading what the team's record will look like without him. Finally, I don't understand the support for the FO and the patience fans seem to have. It has been 10 years since our last visit to the playoffs, and the same people who have made poor free agent acquisitions during this time are still employed by the Bills.

Chris in Buffalo writes: The way I see it, Jason Peters was acquired by the Bills for nothing. A few years later, they receive a 1st and 4th round draft pick, effectively completing the cycle of turning nothing into something.

Tom in St. Louis writes: Jason Peters was a disrespectful player and I am glad he is gone. They gave him a pretty generous deal after one season, and they promised to renegotiate. He held out for the entire camp, then came in and played like Elmer Fudd. He gave up double digit sacks, and demanded to be the highest paid tackle in the league. He's gone. Who had a better year, Peters or that rookie in Denver? Who would you rather have? The Bills can replace him with a draft pick or a free agent.

Bill in London, England, writes: Between Madden Franchise Mode, Draft Value Charts, and all the other resources fans now have to play GM from their couch, we tend to focus so much on "fair market value" for players that often times we lose sight of the reality of the situation. Is Jason Peters talented? Yes. Does he have a ton of potential? Yes. but also: Did he want to play for the Bills? No. Would he have had any chance of reaching his potential with the Bills? No. If a no name player is plugged into LT and performs better than Peters did last year without name or pro bowl recognition, would you consider that no name player better than Jason Peters? Would you say that player is worth 3 draft picks, one being a first, on the open market? It all comes down to one concept that people tend to lose sight of: A "good player" that plays poorly on a team due to situation / circumstance, isnt a good player. Wes Welker was an average performer for the Dolphins, and a superstar for the Pats. Peerless Price was good for the Bills, and horrible in Atlanta. In reality, if a player is not going to play well on your team or for your club due to either FO issues or scheme or whatever, then that player should be replaced with another one who can succeed in your situation. --- At the end of the day, Peters was an undrafted player, who would not have played well for us this year because he didnt want to. When you consider recieving 2 draft picks, one a first, for that player, it seems like a great deal. Time will tell if the deal was great for Philadelphia or not.

Phil in Pittsburgh writes: Organizations that put winning first do not trade away young talented OLT's. The Bills have not been to the playoffs in how long? 1 + 1 = 2

Tom in Ithaca, N.Y., writes: The Peters trade comes down to this - he didn't want to play for the Bills. The contract he ended up signing with the Eagles, 6 years $60 million, is evidence enough of that. The Bills ended up getting a 1st, 4th, and conditional pick next year (much speculation has pointed this pick towards the 6th round). I was a little surprised at the compensation. I thought there was a higher perceived value of Peters throughout the league. I would have guessed a 1st, 3rd, and a mid to late round pick next year. I'm glad the guy is gone. Getting rid of a guy who has consistently shown he's a 'money first, team second' kind of guy will only help. How do you think it looked to his teammates? The guy turned his back on them for some cash that he thought he deserved even though he was still under contract for a couple years. The organization will be better for it.

Eric from Parts Unknown writes: Good riddance to Peters! The guy thinks he's the best in the league, when clearly he's not. The fact that he made the pro-bowl last year was a complete joke. All he cares about is money, and I'm glad the Bills don't want bums like him on the team.

Derek in Baltimore writes: The only personality we ever saw of Jason Peters was when he was holding out with three years left on his deal. This from a man who, just two years ago, signed a contract that was very good for an undrafted TE out of Arkansas. But, instead of gratitude, we get a guy who is all about himself. Based off his comments once in Philly saying that his contract sometimes distracted his play, I say good riddance. I doubt that whoever we plug in there will give up the most sacks in the league like he did. Overall, it seems like he just didn't want to play for the team whom we owed his career to. We offered him close to the same money, but that wasn't good enough. In terms of value, I think the Bills could have gotten a first and third, and preferably the first of the Eagles two 1st rounders. Considering that the Bills will now have to use a 1st rounder to replace him, we basically walk away with a 4th round pick and a 6th next year. But, once again, not bad for someone we didn't invest anything in to get.

Harry in Hooksett, N.H., writes: The Bills were put in a bad spot by a selfish player who would not even be in the NFL were it not for the Bills. In the end they did what was best for the team. The Bills did right by Peters from the start. They tried to lock up a promising young player. If Peters was jealous of what other free agents were making he a)shouldn't have signed a 5 year deal, and b) he could have asked the Bills to renegotiate. Instead he disappeared on the team, missed camp, and when he did show up he played poorly and hurt the Bills. What GM in his right mind would reaward that kind of behavior?

Philip in Washington D.C. writes: Peters successfully backed Buffalo into a corner. He wanted a long term very expensive contract when his attitude and long term performance is in question. Huge risk for Buffalo to sign him, and they could not let his situation adversely impact the season again. So really no choice but to trade him. Would have liked to have gotten a bit more in return, but under the circumstances the Bills got good value. IF he performs to his full ability in Philly, then Philly will have got the better of the deal. But that is a big IF, and Philly takes a significant risk both in terms of money and giving up picks. At bottom, I am glad with the Bills getting rid of this problem, for a decent return

Phil in Gloversville, N.Y., writes: Bills fans are so quick to throw him under the bus. If he was still in Buffalo they would still sing his praises. What we got could be seen as not enough, remember he was undrafted and so to get a 1, 4, and i think six for undrafted...We did well. It will all depend on how bad the bills reach or maybe they will draft another corner...The picks will be scrutinized!

Murt in New York writes: The Bills can give all the lip-service they want but the most frustrating part about the Peters trade is that nothing can be done to fix our holes at LT. -Walker is not athletic enough to keep up with the elite pass rushers in the AFC East -no rookie we draft could step in at LT -Bell was inactive for 16 games last year -Scott has minimal experience with the Lions

Dan in Mississippi writes: I must admit, I'm torn on the whole Peters' situation. On one hand, he's a very good offensive lineman and who wouldn't want a good offensive lineman on their team. On the other hand, I'm not sure how people can call him the best LT in the game - if you look at the videos from last season he left quite a bit to be desired on the field. On one hand, premier LTs are high-priced players. On the other hand, Peters seems as though he just didn't want to play in Buffalo at any price. So, in the end, what do we have? In my opinion, a good to above average LT that didn't want to play in Buffalo. So what's the team to do? Trade him. It'll take at least a week to see how the Bills' FO addresses this newly created hole on the line. However, I suspect it'll be about a year before we see just how motivated Peters is now that he's gotten his contract. It's fairly apparent that he didn't feel the need to play all that well to get the contract. Russ Brandon is sure making this an interesting off season. I guess we gotta give him that at least.

Dave in Orchard Park, N.Y., writes: i think the bills made out great the guy admitted to not giving it his all, and yes the eagles did over pay. For a guy that went undrafted you get a 1st and a 4th this year i think they did well. But they shoiuld of tried for the 21st pick i bet the eagles would of gave in. thanks

Jeff in Rochester, N.Y., writes: I am glad the trade of Jason Peters went down. He wore out his welcome in Buffalo last year with his extended holdout and sub-par play. He is an inconsistent player that went undrafted and unsigned by every team but the Buffalo Bills. If not for the Bills, this kid would never have even had a football career -- let alone a $10 mil/yr contract. I say good riddance and be careful what you wish for Philadelphia. My lasting memory of this so called Pro Bowl player will be the turn-style impression he did at the end of last year's NY Jets game that caused a blind side sack of JP Losman, fumble recovery and touchdown -- sealing the improbable come-from-behind victory for the Jets. Don't let the door hit ya on the way out Peters!

Mr. Anonymous in Potsdam, N.Y., writes: Peters, I believe really is one of the best OTs in fooball and was a tremendous asset to the Bills orginization. My take is that Peters did not adequately keep communication channels open with the Bills front office and if he had, he could have gotten his big pay day and stayed with the organization that drafted him. Unfortunately, his hardball approach has hurt the Bills and I think him too. Good luck Jason with your new team. You're going to need it.

Eric in Arlington, Va., writes: Glad Peters is gone, he clearly did not want to be in Buffalo. While Peters is a good tackle, I don't think he can be qualified as elite. And, yes, Philly over-paid; this will become evident during the regular season when he faces tough NFC East defensive lines.

Erik in Los Angeles writes: Andy Reid thinks Jason Peters is the best LT in the game. The Eagles have been to the playoffs plenty of times in the past 9 years. They obviously know something people at OBD don't. I mean, if you're negotiating with someone and they think that you have the top LT in the game, getting their later first round pick is a joke. How much would the Rams have gotten for Orlando Pace? Or the Ravens for Jonathan Ogden? Yet the Bills took essentially a 2nd round pick. And then they opted for a 4th plus a conditional late round pick. What an even bigger joke. This is a franchise that traded UP for J.P. Losman and John McCargo. I think it's obvious who got schooled here, and it wasn't the Iggles.

John from Parts Unknown writes: Regarding Jason Peters The trade was a good move, he was a distraction and a cancer in the locker room with the holdouts. It sends the wrong message to his other team mates. He didn't play all that good last year anyways, it was a good trade and the right thing to do.

Kevin in Clifton Park, N.Y., writes: Good riddance to Jason Peters. No one can deny his talent, but his selfishness really hurt the Bills. He showed no loyalty at all to a team that took an undrafted, overweight tight end and developed him into a pro bowl LT. I wish the Bills would have gotten pick #21 instead of 28, but I'm glad they got rid of the malcontent swinging gate they had at LT this past year.

Gary in Eden, N.Y., writes: Did the Bills make a mistake? Only time will tell, but for a guy who wanted to be paid like the best OT in the game, his inconsistency and motivational challenges don't look very Pace, Jones or even Joe Thomas-like. Since 2007, Peters has done very little to improve his off-season conditioning or shore up flaws in his game, like the best guys at ANY position do. He's just relied on his athleticism and not seemed to care about developing the 'edge' that goes along with actually being the guy you say you want to be.

Tom in Jamestown, N.Y., writes: Peters is not worth the money Phili signed him for. There was no way he should have made the pro bowl last year. He is a selfish player who plays for the money with no heart. He gave up a ton of sacks as well. I would of liked Phili's 1st pick but it
seems to be a fair trade. He did catch JP Losmans first touchdown though, so that has to count for something!

Steve in Dothan, Ala., writes: I personally am glad that the whole saga is over. Peters did not want to play in Buffalo IMO. Now he is running his mouth about how he didn't know how many sachs he gave up last year and that it didn't even matter to him. But he did say that each time he gave up a sack he thought about his contract status at least early in the season. Now that he's an Eagle he still says that it doesn't matter to him how many sacks he gives up. He's just gonna do his best!!! Thats funny. I think that by week 8 Philly fans will realize that this trade wasn't in their best interest!

Mike in Atlanta writes: While Peters is certainly a better player than his performance last season, he is not worth the money he was demanding and furthermore, could not have been a positive influence in the locker room. The Bills may have to 'make do' this year with Walker (and TE and/or RB) help on the left side and Chambers on the right. But I also think they'll draft their LT of the future on Saturday.

Matt in Springfield, Mass., writes: The bottom line is that good teams never make this move. Good teams make moves from a position of strength, and keep options open-the Bills closed theirs with Peters long ago, and everyone in the league knew it. Consequently they had to settle for a very low first round draft choice for a player who was worth far more. Realistically they should have paid Peters last year. He was ludicrously underpaid considering his performance and deserved an upgrade. Instead they alienated a young, incredibly talented player that still has upside despite his high level of achievement, who plays one of the most critical positions in the game. They were left with few options but to trade him as a consequence. For a team that supposedly recognizes a lack of talent this is an especially egregious move. Again, this is a quality, young left tackle. He could play at a very high level for years. He is one of the few star-level talents in the organization. So of course the talent-poor Bills trade him for a crapshoot in the draft. Their actions are completely incoherent with their rhetoric. Not only that, but they have no one to replace him. If they draft a tackle in the first round all they have done is replace something they already have. So this move results in the team spinning its wheels at best. So in the final equation we get the Bills taking its most marketable trading asset and turned it into a wash at best. At best!! Way to go braintrust, that's the way to rebuild a talent base.

Joe in Allentown, Pa., writes: I think the Eagles overpaid for a guy who was the worst LT in football last year when it comes to giving up sacks.

Scott in Buffalo writes: On Peters: I think from what I have seen and hear about him, he was almost definitely the most talented Bills player, but as they say, attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. How many extremely talented athletes have you seen that underachieved and/or wasted their talent? Especially after they have hit the jackpot? I am not sure how well he will perform for the Eagles, but the attitude he appeared to have developed towards the Bills, which he somewhat admitted to in his press conference, leads me to believe the he would never have played as well for the Bills as he could have. Everyone can say the bills are being cheap and it is all about the money, but I have to believe that for the Bills it was more about how sure can you be that you will get the expected return for the money and not the money itself. After being burned by another very large and talented individual (Mike Williams) not that long ago I can understand the Bills being a little cautious about giving a fortune away to someone who has already shown himself to be focused completely on himself. The long term outcomes of the trade, i.e., how well does Peters play for the Eagles for the next six years and what do the Bills do with the draft picks, will really tell the tale, but don?t assume that Peters would have done as well as a Bill. Take care.

Justin in Atlanta writes: Jason Peters dug his own grave in Buffalo over the last 12 months. Refusing to comply with the Bills management's requests, coming in fat and out of shape for week 1, and playing at a mediocre level for most of the season, it all added up to no mega-contract from wise decision makers. The Bills should have tried to get a little more out of the Eagles, like their other 1st, their 3rd and a conditional pick next round.

Matt in Rochester, N.Y., writes: Until the Peters trade, I thought Buffalo's off-season was a wash. Jauron remained, but TO came in to provide offensive diversification. When Peters was traded, the anger I had when Jauron was retained had resurfaced. For a team to trade a young Pro Bowl LT, no matter how maligned, it's unprecedented. Meanwhile, we'll be replacing an experienced veteran with most likely a first day pick, something Buffalo did in 06 with Whitner (Milloy) 07 McGahee (Lynch) and Fletcher (Posluszny) and ultimately replaced Nate Clements with McKelvin. Talk about spinning your wheels. People complained about Donahoe's inability to build an offensive line, but Levy/Brandon are making their OL out of low to moderate priced FAs and street free agents. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Rich from Parts Unknown writes: First off I do like your blogs, thanks for a lot or the info. Secondly, the one thing people, even sports writers have to understand is Jason Peters was not a 11 million dollar Left Tackle. I have watched every game with the Bills he has ever played in and he is mediocre at best. All of us in our Bills club were flabbergasted when he was sent to the Pro Bowl, again (my god, has anyone sat through and watched his games besides us?). He had more crucial penalties and gave up more critical sacks then any person on our line. A lot of people write about the Bills who dont even watch them or at most one or two games a year, and base their opinions on stats, highlights and AP articles. When stated in your blog that AFC East Coordinators are happy, I will also say that many Buffalo Bills fans are also happy, finally getting the splinter out of our foot. He was not worth no where near 11 million, so to say Philly got the better end of the deal is a bit premature. Getting a mediocre tackle is not too hard, but I like the idea of not paying 11 million to a mediocre tackle. Thanks again for you knowledge, Rich Capo

Mike in Buffalo writes: Tim, As a long time Bill's fan, I'm glad to see Jason Peters go. The Bills gave him his start in the N.F.L. as an undrafted free agent and in return he showed them NO LOYALTY! Besides, anyone who watched him last year knows that he had a poor season, regardless of the holdout. Good riddance to Peters and keep up the good work Tim!

Matt in Brooklyn writes: I am one Bills fan who is happy the Bills traded Jason Peters away. Its true that he may have elite talent, but after snubbing the team by sitting out the 2007 offseason that elite talent was nowhere to be found when he finally did show up. Therefore, he did not deserve the money he was looking for. He should have made his desire for a new contract known, shown up for all the 2007 offseason workouts/training camp, and shown a commitment to the team. If he had a similar season as he did in 2007, I would have had no problem with the Bills shelling out top dollar for him. The Bills are more than one player away from the playoffs, they can't hinge their money and hopes on a player with questionable character and work ethic.

Bill in New York writes: Some will try to justify this trade. They
will talk of JP's attitude, holdout, etc. The bottom like is that they traded away their best player, one at a position that they neglected for more than 15 years. And they in fact could have signed him last year for way less than he received. I respect Mr. Wilson and thank him for keeping the team in Buffalo, but he isn't capable of building a winning team, and one gets the sense that he is calling the shots. When he brought in Levy, a spent shell and he hired Jauron, a proven loser, it was all over. They are unable to replace Peters, as well as completely unwilling. The draft is on Saturday. Just watch these morons load up on defensive backs. This is what the Bills have proven that they are the most concerned about. Defensive backs and gadget players are their primary concern. It is sad, because we fans deserve more.