This Jason Peters holdout could kill the Bills' season. Left tackle is not exactly a high-profile position for non-football fans, but real fans know this guy protects the blind-side of the quarterback, usually taking on the defense's best rusher. And Peters is a good left tackle. Heck, he was our only Pro Bowl selection last year
The Bills also like to run behind Peters. He contributed mightily to last year's two-headed running attack, with Marshawn gaining 1,100 yards and Freddie Jackson looking solid as well. And, now Peters is holding out from training camp for a bigger contract. And the thing is, he's under contract for like the next three years... The Bills apparently signed him to a long-term deal a couple years back at like $2 million a year, which isn't small potatoes, but makes him the third-highest paid lineman on his own team, and puts him pretty far down on the pay scale for left tackles. But, the thing is, when the Bills signed him, there was no guarantee he'd become a star.
The guy was originally an undrafted free agent who played mainly tight end in college. The Bills invested in him and helped develop him, and now he wants his come-uppance. Can I fault him? Probably not, based on the short careers of NFL players and the fact that they need to grab all the money they can while they can. But, it sure sucks for the Bills.
Buffalo has a relatively easy schedule this year (although it may have just gotten harder with the Jets trading for Brett Favre) and had a realistic shot at winning 10 games, even with a fairly mediocre team and a second-year quarterback. However, losing Peters for the year would seem to jeopardize all that.
Reportedly, the two sides are barely even talking. There is some rumor that Peters hasn't fully recovered from off-season sports hernia surgery and that is why he is not showing up. The guy also apparently likes to lay pretty low in the offseason and there is talk that he is just carrying that attitude over into his holdout.
The Bills seem to be in a bit of a quandry. Peters has a pretty hard-ass agent who is also currently orchestrating a holdout for Steven Jackson in St. Louis. This agent has formerly worked for people like Deion Sanders and been responsible for things like "the largest contract for a rookie ever at the time." And the Bills don't want to renegotiate with a guy with three years left on his contract - especially while he is not in camp... It's all fucked up.
Most "experts" can't see Peters holding out into the season because of the money it would cost him. Let's hope they're right. Or let's just hope that in this case the team is bigger than the man, and the Bills can develop somebody else who can step in and fill Peters' shoes without too much of a downgrade/disaster.
The bottom line is that this Peters thing has the potential to ruin what was shaping up as a promising, if not somewhat misleading (based on schedule strength) season for the Bills. I think it bears more attention than it's been getting in the media.