How much is too much?


Last week the New York Jets put the fear of God into Bills fans everywhere. By moving to the third overall pick, the Jets have applied just enough pressure on General Manager Brandon Beane and the Bills to ask the question, “How much is too much?”

When the offseason started and I fully turned my attention to April’s draft, I’d been under the impression (for a long time) the Bills would eventually trade up to find their franchise quarterback. Trading Tyrod Taylor for the 65th pick and Cordy Glenn and the 21st pick for a swap with the Bengals to acquire the 12th overall pick all but validated that.

They’re taking a quarterback; the question becomes where and for how much? Before we do that, let’s set the stage:

Let’s start this by assuming the New York Giants have a willingness to move out of the number two pick – an idea that I’ll admit I’m worried might not be a reality. Let’s then assume the Cleveland Browns take either Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen with the first pick, as well.

To me, that means Beane and Sean McDermott must (if they haven’t already) identify at least two potential franchise-type quarterbacks at the top to protect themselves from trading all the way up to the second pick just to miss out on their guy. Whether that’s Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, or Baker Mayfield, identifying that there are at least two players worthy of mortgaging your future is task number one.

Then you look at every draft since 2000 and ask yourself, “How likely is it that the guy I take at two pans out?”

Well, cover your eyes because the history isn’t pretty. Since 2000, two quarterbacks have been taken in the top three only five times. In that span, quarterbacks were taken one and two just three times – but it’s important to note that two quarterbacks have been drafted with the top two picks three of the last six years.

Considering that most people believe there might be as many as four taken in the top five of this year’s draft, you have to ask yourself – is this really the best quarterback draft in almost two decades? If you asked folks this time last year about the quarterback class of 2018, you might find a few people to agree with that.

A lot of those same people would have probably told you the 2017 class was one of the worst in that span, and knowing what we know now about that class, it starts to put things in perspective how much of a crapshoot this thing really is.

So how much are you willing to spend to get your guy? Let’s see what you had to say:

Considering the Bills haven’t had a legitimate quarterback since Jim Kelly, there’s likely a premium set for the fan base to acquire that quarterback. But Bills fans aren’t the only people placing a premium on having a franchise guy.

“If you look at the playoff teams, the consistent guys that at least qualify for the playoffs or are close every year, most of them have QBs, most of them have a legit quarterback. If you want to use the word franchise, whatever word you want to use, so I understand that. If you’re a GM, you have to find a franchise quarterback. It obviously helps keep you on a consistent playing field if you have one, so I get that.” That was Bills general manager Brandon Beane last year.

So, what’s it going to cost? Many people have speculated it’d take 12, 22, 56, 65 and potentially a second or third round pick in 2019. I’ve all along felt it was going to take including 2019’s first-round pick to get to where they need to be.

I know, three first-round picks Nate? But hear me out. If the Bills can manage to keep four of their top six picks this season to fill out the remaining holes on their roster while also drafting their franchise guy, then that would be a huge victory for this franchise.

Is that pick going to hurt next season? Maybe. If the Bills take a step back in 2018 and that first round pick has a top-10 value, then you might look back and really regret trading the pick. But I’d have to imagine the Texans feel alright without a first round pick this year in exchange for Deshaun Watson. The same probably goes for the Rams and Eagles in previous seasons.

All in all, I think I fall in the group of people that believes there isn’t a price too high for the right guy. We all know what trading the farm and getting this wrong would mean for the franchise. The pressure is on, but I truly believe the people in place have the right DNA to get the job done.