Marcus Stroud Traded to Buffalo Bills: The End of an Era

Farewell and Good Luck Marcus!

Marcus Stroud is now on the Buffalo Bills.  It's almost hard to fathom.  

Like I said, it's officially the end of an era  The Twin Towers of our defensive line are broken apart.  Marcus Stroud is now a proud member of the Buffalo Bills and John Henderson is without a partner in crime.  Marcus excelled with the Jaguars as a three time Pro-Bowler, but greatly declined into a shell of his former self in 2007.

It's rumored that Marcus just wasn't going to return to his Pro-Bowl form, despite his reputation.  Microfracture surgery is no sure thing and the powerful bull rush and aggressive approach of his previous seasons just wasn't there.  What made Marcus Stroud so impressive as a lineman was for his massive size he was quick enough to get penetration and disrupt plays up the middle.  There wasn't a pocket in the league that Stroud and Henderson couldn't collapse up the middle, and the ballet between the two is priceless.

In 2007 that grace and power was gone.  Stroud without his quickness makes him just another big guy on the defensive line.  A very good big guy, but not a five or six million dollar a year sort of guy.  Marcus got beat more often on the line and did not provide the intensity that we expected.  Remember, Stroud was to be the highest paid player on the team, that's an awfully high price for inconsistent and non-dominant play.  If you add in the 4 game suspension, it just felt like the right time for Stroud to leave the team.  It's by no means on bad terms, it's just the right time.

Now, let's be honest here, Jacksonville absolutely fleeced the Buffalo Bills.  I thought we'd be lucky to get one pick for Stroud, but thankfully the market was hot for DT's and we got two picks.  Though I might be too harsh here, Buffalo needs a guy like Stroud, and they did have an extra 3rd and 4th round pick, so it's not like they gave away their ONLY picks, so good for them.  I honestly hope Stroud returns to his dominant form and gives the Bills the extra boost they need to seize control of that division.  I hope that Stroud eats Tom Brady for lunch. In fact, if Stroud were to go to the Pro Bowl because of next season with the Bills, I wouldn't even be upset, that's how OK I am with this move.

Jacksonville is deeper at Defensive Tackle than most teams, and we can move on gracefully.  Sure, we'll look at getting one in the draft, but these extra picks might give us the firepower to move up enough to grab the defensive end we really need to take our defense to the promised land.  

The last 48 hours have been completely tremendous for the Jacksonville Jaguars.  We've made more space under the cap and gained two more draft picks by moving Marcus Stroud.  Wide Receiver, Cornerback and Quarterback all found depth and strength.  We're set to go into the Draft Season with open options to move and the ability to get the exact guy we need.  We also still have plenty of room to re-sign David Garrard in the next few months, especially since the 5 million owed to Stroud has gone away.

To say I'm very pleased with what's happened so far in Free Agency would be a massive understatement.

Interview with Buffalo Rumblings:

Brian of Buffalo Rumblings was kind enough to do an interview with me about the trade.  His questions to me are here.  

Big Cat Country: Why did the Bills need someone like Stroud?

Brian:

Buffalo's had one of the weaker run defenses in the NFL for quite some time, and haven't had a "star" at the position since Pat Williams and Sam Adams played inside.  Run D isn't the only problem, either - we're looking to upgrade our pass rush as well.  A healthy Stroud helps out in both departments while bringing a little credibility to our front four.

Big Cat Country: Who will be complementing Marcus as the other defensive tackle?

Brian:

Buffalo rotates defensive linemen heavily, so it will change from down to down.  Third-year man John McCargo is expected to start and continue his development, but Spencer Johnson - a former Viking we signed today as well - should see a lot of time as well, especially on pass downs.

Big Cat Country: Are you excited about the trade?

Brian:

Certainly, but not as excited as I am about the big picture of our defense.  Last season, we were overwhelmed by teams - most notably the Jaguars and Giants - that were able to routinely pound the rock right at us.  The Bills have addressed that quickly this off-season, bringing in linebacker Kawika Mitchell, as well as Stroud, for some added beef and physicality.  We haven't had this much depth in years, and adding a Pro Bowl talent like Stroud is just the icing on the cake.

Thanks Brian for taking the time.  If you've ever wanted to know more about the Buffalo Bills, I implore you to visit Buffalo Rumblings

Final Thoughts:

Wow. What a start to the 2008 NFL year.  If you're not excited you better check your pulse.  We're off to one hell of a season and it's only March.  Only six LOOONNNGGG months until we get to see all this on the field in a real game.  That's pretty depressing, actually.  

I'd expect that things slow down a bit for the Jaguars as far as free agents go, look for some depth at DE and DT to be signed, but not till the market adjusts down a bit.  Unless Travis LaBoy decides that Jacksonville is the place to be, that is.

-Chris

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