My phone woke me up just after midnight this morning. It was a text message from the Buffalo Bills informing me that Marshawn Lynch, their first round draft pick was finally signed. Lynch ended his one-day hold out by signing for $19 million over five years.
Several hours later, I checked some sites to see what Sabres center Derek Roy was awarded in his arbitration. It turns out he never went because he and the team were able to agree upon a six-year, $24 million deal. Yippee.
For the most part, both signings are great news. The Bills get their new franchise running back and the Sabres get their new top centerman. Each shows that the respective organizations are willing to dish out competitive contracts for players they feel will have a positive impact on their teams.
The Sabres may have overpaid for Roy right now ($3 million in 2007, $3.5 in 2008 and 2009), but in three years ($4 million in 2010, $4.5 in 2011 and $5.5 in 2012), it could be considered a value signing. Now, that line of thinking may not bode well for the financial stability and “cost certainty” of the “new” NHL, but it may very well become a reality. Roy was the captain of his team in Kitchener, so the leadership skills are there and he’ll have to put them display now that he’s the man on the Sabres top line. More money equals more responsibility and Roy needs to be up to the task.
How he’ll truly pan out, however, is yet to be seen. It’s just crazy to think that a guy who didn’t even make the team out of training camp two years ago is now making $4 million. But what other choice did the Sabres have? They wanted to keep him and if he had gone to arbitration, then chances are he’d be gone after that two year contract he would’ve been awarded expires. So the Sabres did what they had to do and hopefully it’ll pan out.
With Lynch, the Bills have a running back that will be able to effectively catch the ball out of the backfield for the first time in years (since Thurman, perhaps?). Willis McGahee had just 18 catches last year. Even Anthony Thomas had more. Lynch is already an upgrade over McGahee…after all, as a starting running back, you can’t get much worse than 11 touchdowns over the last two years. Lynch will provide speed on the outside with the ability to break the long run. Scouting reports say he’s a decent pass blocker, and those are all characteristics the Bills desperately need.
Lynch may be able to provide the occasional goal line carry, but for now, it seems that the A-Train will shoulder some of that burden. Even though they may share many of the carries this year (think of how the Patriots used Kool-Aid Maroney and Corey Dillon last season), there is no doubt that Lynch is the future.
So it looks like I’m ready to go out and order my new Lynch jersey. It’s just too bad I can’t get a Michael Vick jersey at the same time. For Vick, that is.