The Bills will have a difficult time winning over this recruit…and not just because Dick Jauron lacks Nick Saban's schmoozing rhetoric.
A playoff-less decade bellying an astronomical '08 collapse pales in comparison to a team that resets its Super Bowl hopes every season. So maybe this is all for naught.
The Providence Journal reported that Fred Taylor will visit New England and Buffalo this week. Taylor, 33, said he's aiming to pass Jim Brown on the all-time rushing list and to win a Super Bowl. In short, the Bills probably would need to offer a thick wad of dough to beat out New England. They've got the money to lure Taylor – it's just not disposable income. With major needs at wide receiver, tight end, defensive end and outside linebacker (with Angelo Crowell's pending exit), inking the former Jaguar would seem utterly superfluous.
But that was before Marshawn Lynch's joy ride in California.
Give the Bills credit for adjusting on the fly. For the second year in a row, Lynch is in the midst of crime. Last year his SUV hit a woman on the bar strip in Buffalo. This year he was charged with three gun-related misdemeanors. Knowing that their running back won't simply receive a tap on the wrist this time, the Bills appear to be in hot pursuit for Taylor.
If he somehow escapes New England without a contract, Taylor could be Buffalo bound. Because on the Bills' end, Taylor is worth the re-adjustment. No way should Russ Brandon give the elder back the $6 million base salary he was scheduled to earn for Jacksonville this year. But with a sizeable one-year show-me type of deal, Taylor is a cunning addition for 2009.
It's time the team took a hard-line stance on character. Sure, the NFL will levy some type of suspension on Lynch. Roger Goodell (rightfully) punishes repeat offenders with the tenderness of Cyclops. But beyond the league's actions, the Bills need to address themselves. Signing Taylor and rewarding Fred Jackson with a multi-year deal would give Marshawn Lynch the loud wake-up call he desperately needs.
Signing Fred Taylor may be the wake-up call Marshawn Lynch (above) needs.
Two years in, Lynch's career is spiraling out of control. He clearly did not learn from his mistakes last summer at all. Simply plugging him back in as the starter when his suspension expires is hardly the timeout Lynch deserves for his reckless actions. To save his career, the Bills need to derail Beast Mode manually. Making Lynch earn his way back into the lineup is the only way for him to genuinely learn from his actions.
A predetermined benching must follow the suspension. Watching a Taylor/Jackson combo mash ‘n dash opponents from the sidelines is the bitter lesson Lynch deserves. Maybe it's four games, maybe it's eight, maybe it's an entire season. Rectifying Lynch's career begins with tough-love punishment.
Is this what Buffalo is thinking by pursuing Taylor? Eh, who knows. Last season, the team treated Lynch's hit-and-run like a parking ticket. Maybe we shouldn't expect strict parenting. Lynch started the whole season despite the incident – and despite the fact that Jackson was arguably the better running back. Fred Taylor may be a stegosaurus by running back standards. At 33 years old, you'd expect the chassis to self-destruct any moment.
With 2,428 carries on his treads, Taylor might be one pulled hamstring away from retirement.
Then again, the 6-foot-1, 228-pound back is only one year removed from rushing for 1,202 yards on 5.4 yards per carry with five touchdowns for the 12-4 Jaguars. The Bills know all too well that Taylor's legs are still fresh. During that 2007 season, Taylor rammed through Buffalo's ‘D' for 104 yards on only 15 attempts with a 50-yard breakaway, I-still-have-it touchdown. It was one of several games in which Taylor vultured yards from Maurice Jones-Drew on your fantasy football team.
In a part-time role alongside Jackson, Taylor could anchor a powerful "Freddy x2" backfield. Through his 11-year career, he has only averaged below four yards per carry twice. The legs are still spry. The value's still there.
Properly fed, Fred Taylor would be a key addition to an offense starving for playmakers.
And who knows. Maybe Marshawn Lynch would get the memo this time.
Go to the Taylor thread in the Rockpile to say what you think....