Update 10/5/10: Marshawn Lynch has been traded, but not to Green Bay. Jay Glazer reported today that Lynch has been traded to the Seattle Seahawks.
The idea of the Green Bay Packers trading for Marshawn Lynch in return for equally disgruntled linebacker A.J. Hawk, on the surface, seems to make way too much sense – especially after quarterback Aaron Rodgers said publicly that he would give his stamp of approval to being reunited with his former Cal teammate. (Will Yahoo Sports’ Michael Silver propose a Scott Fujita to the Packers trade next week??)
The Buffalo Bills need help on defense (they actually need help everywhere, except for punter), especially with linebacker Paul Posluszny constantly hurt. After the loss of Ryan Grant, the Packers seem equally needy for running back depth. And the Bills and Packers just happen to be playing each other on Sunday. After the game Lynch could just pack up and head into the other locker room, while Hawk can hop on the Bills charter to Buffalo. Seems like an easy enough way to make a rare player-for-player swap in the NFL.
Don’t hold your breath if you think it’s happening.
First look at this from a Buffalo perspective. The organization is currently too bad to even be desperate, the Bills will not be going to the Super Bowl this year. Does it make sense on their end to deal away a position of relative strength (running back) just to get a stop-gap linebacker making $4 million this year in return??
By watching their offense (or lack thereof), one of Bills more pressing needs is actually offensive line. One rumor had Green Bay’s Daryn Colledge as the current Packer the Bills would be most interested in. Unless the Pack thinks that rookie Bryan Bulaga is ready they don’t even think of parting ways with Colledge, and perhaps not even then.
Although Lynch seems like he’s been in the league for years (this is actually year #4) he is still only 24, and there is still potential with him. Marshawn had by far the team’s most successful running play in the team’s limited opportunities last Sunday v. Miami.
Rookie C.J. Spiller is listed as the starter, but did not impress in his pro debut, as he was impatient waiting for blocks that weren’t immediately happening. He will likely break through in future weeks as he gains experience. Fred Jackson is a solid north-south runner who earned the bulk of the carries over Marshawn last year, but at age 29 is likely at his peak, although potentially a back who could be had cheaper on the trade market and do well short-term.
Now for the Green Bay end of the equation. It was known going in that the Packers could quickly get into a bind going into the season with just two true halfbacks, especially considering Ryan Grant got dinged once in the pre-season. That indeed become a reality with Brandon Jackson now expected to carry most of the load.
However, I don’t see the Packers going into a panic mode. Without Grant for 2 ½ quarters last week, the team did just fine with Brandon Jackson. In addition, the team feels that fullback John Kuhn can also contribute in a pinch. The team’s current playbook centers more around the passing game anyways, where Jackson can contribute.
Maybe Brandon rushes for 1,200 yards while staying healthy the entire way, then the loss of Grant would be minimized. If Jackson were to also go down, then obviously the run game becomes a bigger issue. Even then though, I would not look for Ted Thompson to immediately scramble for a quick fix. The last time the team was in the market for a RB was early 2007, when Grant was quietly acquired for a sixth round pick, the rest was history for 2 ½ years.
Also remember Marshawn Lynch is in the league’s disciplinary program, being suspended three games at the beginning of the ’09 season, obviously if Lynch were to run afoul off-the-field again he would be looking at a much lengthier suspension.
The Buffalo asking price is going to be too high, like a second round pick, or Hawk AND a third-round pick. Thompson will not be making either of those trades. There’s a slightly better chance that Thompson would do a third or fourth rounder for Fred Jackson, but would the Bills want to deal Jackson, then see Spiller and/or Lynch go down??? And depending on Trent Edwards to carry the offense on his shoulders is not recommended.
My opinion is the Bills are going to try to find a way to keep all three of their backs happy, and would not be surprised to see them do a lot of Wildcat-type gadgets as the season goes forward.
Aaron Rodgers may want Marshawn Lynch, but Brett Favre also wanted Randy Moss three years ago, which at the time seemed like a good match. That didn’t happen neither.
Not even the quarterback gets to call the managerial shots in the Packers organization.