Finally, it's over. The back-and-forth feud between the Buffalo Bills and Jason Peters has finally reached a conclusion.
The Bills have dealt Peters to the Philadelphia Eagles for the 28th overall pick in this year's draft, a fourth-rounder and a sixth round pick in next year's draft, according to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer.
Peters has been unhappy with his current contract for more than a year. He skipped the Bills' entire training camp last year, racking up more than $560,000 in fines. He showed up to camp out of shape and far behind in Turk Schonert's offense. His play reflected the absence too. Peters made his second Pro Bowl but surrendered more sacks than any starting left tackle in the league -- 11.5 sacks in 13 starts. He
He reportedly wanted to be paid as the richest lineman in the NFL, in the $11.5 million per year range. Buffalo was willing to re-structure the five-year, $15 million deal that Peters inked in July of 2006. But the astronomical asking price was far, far more than the front office was willing to pay. Peters' anger stemmed in the fact that he was only the third-highest paid player on his own team, behind Derrick Dockery and Langston Walker.
The Eagles were in need of a tackle after Tra Thomas signed with Jacksonville and UFA Jon Runyan is unsigned and injured after having microfracture knee surgery. He may retire.
Philadelphia will probably shift recently signed Stacy Andrews to right tackle and insert Peters at left tackle. The Eagles may not be able to officially announce the trade until Sunday because a contract will have to be in place for Peters.
The Bills get a first-rounder out of this mess, but now have a major hole to fill on the blindside. Kirk Chambers filled in admirably whenever Peters was injured last season but he probably isn't a long-term solution. With the 28th pick, Arizona's Eben Britton, Connecticut's William Beatty and Oklahoma's Phil Loadholt are possibilities. Buffalo could also bite on an upper-tier tackle at the 11th overall pick, though have a major need at defensive end also.
It's sad that it came to this for Jason Peters and the Buffalo Bills.
After all, this all had storybook glitz to it. Peters went from undrafted free agent 'tweener to one of the brightest left tackles in the league instantly. By his second season, Peters started 10 games. After countless failings along the offensive line -- including colossal bust Mike Williams -- Buffalo had finally struck gold.
Those ugly images of Rob Johnson and Drew Bledsoe biting the dust were over. Trent Edwards could operate in the pocket all day and all night with No. 71 having his back.
But as the market soared for left tackles, so did Peters irritation with the modest contract he signed in '06. Yes, he certainly deserved a raise. But no way does he deserve to be the richest lineman in the league. Not after giving up nearly a sack a game last season.
So...what now? Well, the Bills definitely options. Defensive end, offensive tackle and tight end will most likely be addressed with Buffalo's three early selections. And luckily, all three positions are rich in talent this year. Who and when are the questions.
Several pass rushers and tackles should be available at No. 11. Do the Bills value a Lawrence Taylor or a Walter Jones more? The blood-thirsty pass rusher or the guy blocking him? These are Buffalo's two biggest needs, by far.
The likes of Michael Oher, Andre Smith, Aaron Maybin and Everette Brown could all be available at Buffalo's first round pick.
No doubt, it's risky to dump a budding left tackle. But you can't blame Russ Brandon. Peters is not worth what he was asking for. It's naive to think he'd suddenly realize his potential and morph into a Hall-of-Famer after signing a mega contract.
Instead, the team can draft a tackle at No. 11 or No. 28 and save a ton of money in the process.