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  • Writer's pictureRyan Thomas

Tremaine Edmunds : From Phenom to Free Agent?

There have been few moments in Bills history that the "Bills Mafia" can point to a picture and say "this day changed the franchise for the better". The last moment for me goes back to the 2018 NFL Draft when the Buffalo Bills drafted a quarterback out of Wyoming named Josh Allen. The pick of Allen was met with jeers from the crowd of the Buffalo Bills draft party at the Bills field house. As well as the draft party that I threw. I invited all of my highschool buddies over and they were ticked when Buffalo took Allen. They won't admit it but they were. Chants of "we want Rosen and "we drafted the wrong Josh". I heard it all, but oddly enough when I look back on that night I remember the cheers and quiet claps from the moment the Bills selected Virginia Tech Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds.


I'll put it to you this way, I had Edmunds rated as the 1B to Roquan Smith at the position heading into draft night. It was very hard for me to see Edmunds as "2nd best". His physical tools were eye popping at 6'5 245 lbs to see his speed and his closing ability at the collegiate level. What a sight to see. His age, 19 years old while declaring for the draft. Are you serious?, I had never heard of that before or since.


To put it simply, Edmunds was a phenom and Buffalo found their way to a "raw talent" in Allen and a "phenom" in Edmunds. I was over the moon given the pre draft process with both players featuring eye popping moments from the combine measurables standpoint that had every draft nerd including (Mel Kiper) foaming at the mouth. To end up with both players, what a start for Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott.


The message was that we were drafting for cornerstone players and that both guys would god willing be developed properly, turned into superstars, and most importantly be here to stay.


Fortunately, the first two parts have largely been accomplised. Allen is the first "favorite son" of Buffalo since Jim Kelly. Edmunds has made multiple pro bowl's and for my money is coming off of by far his absolute best season as a pro, all while playing in a defense riddled with injuries and featuring a scheme that is under fire by many around the league.


The NFL is as tough of a league now as it's ever been. Free Agency breaks teams apart, the draft is a hope and pray guessing game despite the years worth of preparation by every scout in the league. You truly never know what you are getting. Yet, the most difficult dynamic within any offseason for most teams is balancing the salary cap. For years Bills General Manager Brandon Beane has been able to move money and restructure contracts with bonus money and turn it into salary in the later years of a contract. It's a smart tactic in a pinch and allows the team to keep a player that they otherwise couldn't.


The downside in making those decisions depends on a couple simple questions, which player do you ask and how do you ask them. Right now, the Bills have big money primarily paid out to Allen, Diggs, White and big FA acquisition from last offseason Von Miller. Fortunately, the Bills are finally paying their best players the most money but unfortunately the process of asking the best players to take less is not always easy.


Which brings us as fans to where we are now with Edmunds. Listen, has it always been a cakewalk for us as fans watching Edmunds play?, was the transition from the collegiate football ranks to the professional football ranks seamless for Edmunds?. The answer to those questions would be no.


I have even vented and aired my frustrations in regards to Edmunds on the air via radio and on my podcast. Now, 5 years later and with Edmunds' exit from the Bills more likely now than ever due to the almighty dollar, I say I regret some of those frustrations. I'll eat some crow. I believe Tremaine is just hitting his prime and frankly the next team that signs him will get the best version of him that has ever been seen at any level. I have doubts that Edmunds will resign with the Bills on any "hometown discount" and to be quite honest he shouldn't. I have always been of the believe that every single player should try to make as much money as humanly possible within their small window of opportunity that is an NFL career.


I could pick any team that has massive amounts of cap space and it would automatically make sense for that team to sign Edmunds. I predict that we see a team sign the potentially former Bill to a 4-5 year contract with an average salary per season of 15-16 million dollars per season. Oh, as well Edmunds will be one of the highest guaranteed money contracts at the linebacker position.


What makes this so difficult is the idea that Bills developed Edmunds through his NFL growing pains to only potentially see him walk to go play his best football with another team and meanwhile the Bills mock drafts will feature the Bills filling a hole that they created themselves.


I hope we see the return of 49, but if not I want to say thank you for the years you played in Buffalo. We have watched you grow into a true leader that isn't fully at his best yet but I know he is eager to be.


If this is the end best of luck to Tremaine Edmunds you will (potentially) be missed.

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2 commentaires


Swank
Swank
03 févr. 2023

Gut, wrenching really well written and great points my man. It really sucks to see the bills implement and follow a process to the T but then fall short by means of scheme and cap space. Look forward to many more, you’re the talk of the town RT!

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Rob Mullen
Rob Mullen
03 févr. 2023

It's a very difficult question to answer because they fully guaranteed his 5th year option at $12.7 million dollars for 2022-23....and his market value is still somewhere around $11 million per season moving forward according to Sportrac.com. And it's an even bigger question as if he truly fits this system as an 'Off the ball' MLB (in pass coverage for a larger % than vs the run) which qualifies him to have the 'Market Value' of a DE according to the CBA. That fact alone means he could command a figure exceeding $15 million per season in the open-market and to 'franchise' him would put him at a figure equal to the 5 highest paid players at his position, wit…


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