Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott are still handling the easy part of the Bills rebuild: tearing apart a roster that was never good enough. Even if some of those parts were still pretty good.
The new Bills braintrust sent another big time talent packing on Friday, dealing Marcell Dareus to the Jags.
No one shedding a tear because of Dareus’ departure. He takes with him a laundry list of off field transgressions and maybe the league’s most onerous contract.
However, he also is among the most talented players the Bills had and he’s the third proven talent dealt away for draft picks since August.
The discussion of the trade with Beane on a conference call Friday night centered much on how Dareus didn’t fit the new culture he and McDermott are establishing.
Culture and character and building a “team” are all well and good, but no Super Bowl has been won without a boatload of talent–either at quarterback or all over the rest of the roster.
Beane and McDermott apparently believe they can locate the requisite talent despite being limited only to talents that fit their character requirements.
The early returns have been spotty.
Tre’Davious White looks like a cornerstone. Zay Jones has been a disaster. Dion Dawkins is at best, a work in progress. Matt Milano might be a 5th round gem. Where Deonte Thompson produced fireworks, Kaelin Clay was a dud.
The good news is the Bills left themselves plenty of opportunity to find talent. They have 19 picks in the next two drafts, ten in 2018 alone and six in the top three rounds next year.
Even if they bat .500, the roster can be rebuilt at a breakneck pace. Without Dareus’ monster contract and what they would have been forced to pay Sammy Watkins, Beane and McDermott have created flexibility on the free agent market as well.
There is still plenty of rebuilding to do. Outside of the completely remade secondary, only four of the other 18 starters will still be under 30 in 2019. Two of those four are Zay and Jordan Mills.
The destruction of the Whaley era is not what will define the McBeane era. That’s the easy part.
Success for the Bills going forward will depend on how Beane and McDermott use their treasure trove of draft picks and cap space.
They already understand that talent without chemistry is a colossal waste.
But chemistry without talent is just a bunch of happy losers.
Finding the talent that checks all the character boxes McDermott demands… that’s the hard part.