The aggressive efforts of Bills running back LeSean McCoy and quarterback Tyrod Taylor to lobby the Bills to sign receiver Jeremy Maclin necessarily created pressure on the front office and coaching staff to pursue him. Pursue him they did, but not zealously enough to sign him, yet.
Publicly (albeit perhaps not privately), coach Sean McDermott downplayed the idea that two of his players pressured the organization to give Maclin a job.
“We don’t look at it that way,” McDermott told reporters on Thursday. “I appreciate the fact that those guys know and respect [Jeremy Maclin] in this case. . . . [T]hat’s a healthy dynamic that we have with a lot of our players. They’ve got to know that they have a voice too and there’s ownership. I respect that and that’s healthy. That said, we’ve got to do what we feel is in the best interest of this team. . . . We’re always going to listen. I would like to believe the good Lord gave me two ears and one mouth, so I would like to think I’m a good listener. That said, like I said before, we’re going to do what’s in the best interest of this football team.”
Determining the best interest of the team hinges on plenty of factors, well beyond whether players on the team want to team up with him.
“[W]hen we talk about short- and long-term, this is a good person, number one, and a good football player that at any point — whether it’s a guy we’ve had experience with, in this case Jeremy, or any other player, we’re always going to look to add to this football team,” McDermott said. “Guys that have the character we’re looking for, the types of skill we’re looking for, the D.N.A. — call it what you want to call it — we’re always looking to add competition at every part of this roster. This is no different, in that situation.”
The ultimate decision is the result of a balance involving the financial investment, the age of the player, and the extent to which he can help over the short-term or the long-term.
“There’s great consideration given [to those factors],” McDermott said. “We’ve given great consideration like we do. You’ve heard me use the term multiple times, methodical. And thorough. And it’s no different in this case. There’s no knee jerk reactions. Those are not healthy over time. Usually those put you in a bad position as an organization. In this case, it’s very methodical. It’s not emotional. It’s driven by the short- and long-term goals and vision of this organization.”
McDermott likewise said he’s not concerned that projections from McCoy that Maclin will generate 1,300 to 1,400 yards and 90 to 100 catches will impact negotiations.
“The times have changed,” McDermott said. “Twenty years in the league and times have changed. My job has changed, [the media’s] job has changed. We do what we can to bring good players on board so we will see where this goes.”
So where will it go?
“Sometimes those decisions are going to be agreed with and sometimes they’re not,” McDermott said. “Leadership at times is lonely and I’m [OK] with that.”
Ultimately, the question is whether the Bills are OK with Maclin, whether Maclin is OK with the Bills, and whether both sides are OK with the money.