We’ve heard from plenty of Bills fans tonight that their favorite team traded receiver Lee Evans to the Ravens for a fourth-round draft pick. This tells three things. First, said Bills fans weren’t reading PFT this afternoon, or they’d already know this. Second, said Bills fans read only the first page of the Rumor Mill, missing all but the most recent 15 stories. Or, third, Bills fans are still looking for any way to vent about the move that they can.
Most of the fans likely fall into the third category, especially based on the content of the messages we’ve received. Many think that the Bills are folding the tents even before the season begins. Though we realize that more than a decade of futility would cause Buffalo fans to fear the worst, we think it made sense to move on.
First, Evans had the worst season statistically of his career in 2010, which also happened to be the first season featuring Ryan Fitzpatrick as the full-time starter. If those two simply don’t click like they should, there’s no reason to keep Evans around.
Second, Steve Johnson has emerged as the No. 1 wideout. That changing of the guard can create awkwardness and discomfort in the locker room. It makes sense to remove that dynamic before it gets in the way of what could be a better season than expected.
Third, with Johnson drawing double coverage based on his breakout performance in 2010, the Bills can plug in cheaper options at No. 2 and enjoy similar production.
Fourth, while Evans was one of the best players throughout a bad stretch for the Bills, he has only two 1,000-yard years in seven NFL seasons, and he’s a zero-time Pro Bowler.
Fifth, and perhaps most importantly, coach Chan Gailey has had a full year to study Evans, and Gailey has decided that, for whatever reason, Evans no longer justified the $3.3 million he was due to earn each of the next two years.
Right or wrong, the Bills seem to be a no-nonsense bunch under G.M. Buddy Nix. Sure, some of their decisions will end up being wrong (and every team that makes decisions will make some bad decisions from time to time), but the Bills are trying to get better, even if to the casual fan a trade of one of the few widely-recognizable names on the team looks like the opposite.
And the Ravens, given what they otherwise have, made a smart move to bring Evans in. He should complement Anquan Boldin well, and Evans could get plenty of attention from quarterback Joe Flacco.