Bills Should Forget Henson, Vie for Volek Instead

One thing that has always befuddled me is why NFL GMs, coaches, and front office personnel go flocking to the highest profile media gig in town regarding players. It usually only leads to teams overpaying and/or overcompensating for players and more times than not, not getting an equitable recompense in return.

In the era of the NFL salary cap, this is no way to optimize cap dollars. As a case in point, consider all of the current hoopla over major league baseball player wannabe Drew Henson. After three seasons of minor league ball, Henson is currently being touted as one of the hottest commodities in the NFL. Why? Because the media says so?

Henson has started a grand total of only 8 games, all in one season at Michigan, all during the 2000 season, none against teams ranked among the top 12 in the final AP poll for that season. Since 1997, Henson has started in 8 total football games during those 6 seasons. For this several teams are lining up to offer up who knows what in exchange for Henson. Presumably any trade with Houston will include a future first through third round draft selection.

Meanwhile, other players who performed at a higher level in college, for a longer duration in college, and who have been on the sidelines learning from one of the best QBs in the business while Henson was off playing stick ball in the minors, the NFL equivalent of the European League, are sitting idly by preparing to re-sign for their teams in what will be a veritable steal. That player is Billy Volek.

Billy Volek?s last season of college ball was better than that of Henson?s. Volek put up 30 passing TDs, added 3 more rushing TDs, and allowed only 3 interceptions on just over 2,700 yards and 65.0% completion percentage. In contrast, Henson, put up 18 passing TDs, added another 2 rushing, had 4 interceptions on over 2,100 yards and a 61.6% completion percentage. Granted, Henson played in only two-thirds as many games as Volek, but a straight extrapolation Volek?s numbers remain better than Henson?s.

In three seasons for the Fresno State Bulldogs, Volek tossed 57 TDs to only 12 interceptions. David Carr was Volek?s backup in Volek?s last two seasons. Volek appears to be of the highest moral character in keeping with the type of players that the Bills seem to prefer.

If any team in this league should be onto Volek it should be the Bills who witnessed first hand some of Volek?s poise, field presence, mechanics, and intangibles as he shredded the Bills? vaunted 2nd ranked yardage, 5th ranked scoring, and 2nd ranked passing defense in week 15 on the road at the Ralph. Volek threw for nearly 300 yards, 2 passing TDs, and a rushing TD while leading the Titans to a narrow win on the merits of their offensive performance in his first start ever. If anything, this should have perked the eyes and ears of Donahoe & Co. at One Bills Drive.

Yet, Donahoe, Mularkey, and Wyche flocked to see the Henson show as led by the media. This is fine, but why the Bills would gamble what is said to be required to acquire Henson given Donahoe?s massive failure with Bledsoe and with the organization?s high profile QB issues since Kelly?s departure, should be beyond anyone?s comprehension. Throw in that the team should be headed for a "run first" approach, and it remains befuddling as to why the Bills would desire to expend additional cap resources on risky high-profile moves.

What I don?t understand is why any team is willing to give up a potential first or second round draft pick for a player than hasn?t proven anything in the ranks of either college or pro football. Eight games in 6 seasons while not even participating in pro football for three seasons does not exactly scream out "bargain" here. Then again, I suppose finding those bargains are not something that the Bills? braintrust seems to pride themselves on.

Meanwhile, the word is that the Titans are fully prepared to re-sign Volek to an extension. Why are not the Bills interested? The Titans are in no position capwise to offer Volek much. In fact, the Bills could likely get away with easily with an offer in the $1.5 to $2 million range by my guess with an opportunity to start thrown in. The upside as well would be a contract with relatively low risk.

Instead, I suppose we can look to see where the media circus is, and like sheep, the Bills and other teams will be standing in line to see whatever the NFL and its accompanying partyline media says is the greatest show on earth. Meanwhile, bargains such as Volek will likely sit on their former teams as the Titans laugh about their fortunes as other teams herd themselves into the bigtop to see what is playing in the center ring.

E-mail: mweiler.billsreport@cox.net

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