Hit ‘n’ Run

Buffalo runningback Marshawn Lynch, the team’s 12th overall pick in the 2007 NFL draft, has been missing from the workout and conditioning sessions which have been ongoing for the past two weeks. This, partnered with a report from a Yahoo! Sports writer has sparked some serious speculation about the possibility of Lynch being shipped out of Buffalo in the coming weeks.

Lynch had a promising start to his career (2151 yards rushing, 15 touchdowns, 4.0 YPC average in first two seasons) before running into trouble with the law prior to the 2009 season – and not for the first time – which led NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to place a four-game suspension on the team’s starting tailback. During this time, the league watched as primary backup Fred Jackson blossomed into a starting-caliber runningback and ultimately supplanted Lynch upon his week four return.

Marshawn never really did enough to win back his position in ’09, posting career lows in every category (450 yards rushing, 3.8 YPC, and only two touchdowns) and now the speculation around the locker room is that he wants out. Most fans would rather have an extra draft pick than the distraction he is assuredly going to bring to the team going forward, but by this point, his value may be much lower than most fans are willing to accept. According to various reports, the team believes the best that they could receive for him would be a fourth round selection, but for a kid only three years removed from being selected 12th overall, is that really what you want, Bills fans?

Apparently, that’s not what Bills GM Buddy Nix wants. Nix is reportedly interested in swapping Lynch for a player or players rather than the low-end value of a fourth round pick in this year’s draft. It’s not a bad idea, but you really have to wonder who Buffalo might be targeting with this one. What team is going to give up a quality or above average player for one that might find himself in enough trouble to be out of the league sooner rather than later?

The two options that seem most logical for me are to move Lynch for a 3rd in the 2011 draft, as future picks hold less value in trades and are easier to acquire or to ship him out in a three-team trade that would bring us back a player from a team that doesn’t need a back but could use another pick. BuffaloRumblings takes a look at possible trade partners and destinations if we were to do a traditional two-team swap, but in the event of a three team trade, those ideas wouldn’t apply.

The one scenario that immediately clicks to me contains Buffalo, Washington, and Detroit making a swap sending Lynch to Detroit, quarterback Jason Campbell to Buffalo, and Detroit’s 100th overall draft choice to Washington. It would help Buffalo with a solid quarterback going forward, at least in the short term, Detroit would get a starting back to help out until Kevin Smith returns from injury, and Washington would get back a selection in the draft, something that they are severely lacking in at this point.

It is my honest opinion that Marshawn Lynch has played his final game in a Bills uniform. No matter what happens, it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

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