Bills GM Brandon Beane Saying He Doesn't "Want To Suck Bad Enough To Get Ja'Marr Chase" Isn't The Flex He Thinks It Is
This isn't as big of a deal as some Bengals stans are making it out to be, but not gonna lie, it's still pretty damn funny to see Brandon Beane be salty as fuck after watching his team get their teeth kicked in at their own stadium.
"OH MUST BE NICE TO SUCK. I CAN'T RELATE TO SINKING THAT LOW." is basically what he's saying. Thought it'd be interesting to dig into the history of these two proud franchises a bit and see if I could better wrap my head around what Beane was saying here.
Beane took control of Buffalo's front office in 2017. In his first year, they made the playoffs and got bounced in the Wild Card Round. Next year? 6-10. Then you draft Josh Allen. He's awful as a rookie and better but still pretty substandard in Year 2. You claw out a one-and-done overtime loss to Houston at the end of all that.
Regarding the concept of "lean years" Beane refers to, does he understand what the Bengals have been? EVER YEAR is an innately lean year, because they have the least-liquid owner this side of Mark Davis in Mike Brown. The organization, until the past three years or so when some fresher, younger blood starting calling more of the shots, was an antiquated, cost-saving, conservative-to-a-fault operation.
Despite all of that, and hanging on to a coach in Marvin Lewis and a "franchise QB" in Andy Dalton for multiple years too long, they won four AFC North titles, and secured seven playoff berths from 2005 through 2015. In that span, the Bills had zero postseason appearances. Hadn't gone since 1999, in fact.
In the 17 seasons preceding Beane's arrival, Buffalo scrounged out a winning record only twice.
SO I'M SORRY. That the resources-and-cash-strapped Bengals clung to Lewis and Dalton for dear life in a state of denial, and bottomed out following some friskier and 7-9 teams in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Finally, in 2019, Cincinnati decided to get a little more, you know, 21st Century by hiring a young offensive head coach from the Sean McVay tree in Zac Taylor. A widely panned hire at the time. And it was only the year before when Duke Tobin finally got a chance to take over as personnel director to call the roster shots.
Tobin has not only crushed the draft with picks OTHER THAN Ja'Marr Chase and a no-brainer in Joe Burrow, but has acquired a shit ton of quality free agents.
One abhorrent 2-14 record in 2019, and the Bengals cashed in by drafting Burrow. Unlike Allen who took till Year 3 to truly blossom, Joe Brr was pretty much ready to fucking roll when he first stepped foot on an NFL field. Mind you, with a far worse roster than he has now, an awful o-line, the COVID-shortened offseason program and zero preseason reps.
When Joe's knee exploded in the third quarter Week 11 against Washington, he was coming off a half of 195 yards passing. The Bengals proceeded to lose 20-9, with his backup Ryan Finley as their co-leading rusher at 19 yards. They fell to 2-7-1. Prior to then, they had five losses decided by one possession and had very little business losing any of them. With even a modicum of help for Burrow, maybe one additional decent player, that record could've easily been 8-2, or hell, 6-4 if you're a cynic.
The ultimate silver lining came when Cincinnati inevitably collapsed most of the rest of the way sans Joe Shiesty — their draft stock sank enough to be in position for Ja'Marr Chase. Like I said, one decent player could've made all the difference. I believed Joe was gonna take the Bengals to the playoffs as a rookie. That's how highly I thought of him out of the gates.
Aaaaaaand would you look at that. Cincinnati has already doubled the number of AFC Championship Games Beane's Bills have appeared in and played in a Super Bowl. The Bills had a two-year head start with their superstar, high draft status QB. Have made one Championship Sunday. Didn't win.
So really like any way you slice it, the Bengals have had more sustained success than the Bills almost two decades looking back. And right now? They're still better. I find that funny. With the grand exception of one season, Cincinnati has actually had a much better go of it than Buffalo.
Brandon Beane has his own job and organization to focus on. I just don't appreciate the gross lack of context here. Like the Bengals are being blamed for evolving their culture.
I'm not saying luck and timing don't play a part in building a successful, sustainable winner in the NFL. Please relax if that's what you think this is. The stars aligning to get an all-time QB-WR duo in Burrow and Chase is almost impossible. I'm just trying to show that there are layers to this situation, and you can't oversimplify it. Otherwise, you ignore the incredible work the Bengals have done internally to turn over a new leaf and genuinely embrace the golden opportunity to build an AFC juggernaut.
But yeah, once Joe Burrow, Tee Higgins and Ja'Marr get paid, things will change. The salary cap will explode, though, and Cincinnati has proven it has the free-agent and draft savvy to stock the roster with talent regardless of the circumstances or means of acquisition.