Why the Bills must re-sign Stevie Johnson
December 14, 2011 Leave a comment
The Bills have been in a meteoric free fall in the standings for the past two months. Fans are getting restless with the same old Bills. It’s easy to start looking around for scapegoats. It would be easy to look down on things like feigning a self inflicted gunshot to the leg in a Touchdown celebration. It would be easy to look down on an eccentric personality that wears hats that say F.U. (according to him standing for “FlyGuy University”) around the locker room. It could be easy at this time to say you’ve had enough with the quirks and let Stevie Johnson walk after his contract expires after this season. My advice to the Bills at this point would be this – don’t try and run away from Stevie Johnson’s big personality, embrace it. Embrace it to the tune of many years and many millions of dollars. Embrace it with billboards and posters and as much exposure around the league as you can.
Stevie Johnson is a excitable guy and, at least for now, he is excited to play football for the Buffalo Bills. Sadly you can not say that about every football player these days. Stevie embraces playing for the Bills, embraces what it means to represent the city and the fan base and for that the Bills should embrace him. How many guys can get people talking about the Bills on a national level? How many guys can get Bob Costas to go off on a long, boring, drawn out soliloquy on the youth of the nation like Stevie Johnson did after his Plaxico Burress-mocking touchdown celebration? Stevie’s just having fun out there. Like his Why So Serious? Joker celebration after a touchdown against the Bengals last year, mocking Cincinnati’s “Batman and Robin” receiver tandem of Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens. It was all in good fun. Things like wearing his hair in a fro-hawk with the Buffalo Bills logo shaved into the sides of his head…all in good fun. People are sick of the No Fun League and Stevie is a whole bunch of fun, in a place where people haven’t been having much fun at all for over a decade.
Let’s talk about production. In almost four years with the Bills Stevie has caught 157 balls for 1,975 yards and 18 touchdowns. Keep in mind that during his first two seasons, when he was buried in the depth chart behind the likes of Lee Evans, Josh Reed, and Terrell Owens, he only had 12 receptions for 112 yards and 2 TDs. He’s on pace for his second straight 75+ reception, 1,000+ yard, 8+ TD season, which would make him a bonified #1 receiver. He is getting better too. You can point to his 8 catch, 75 yard, 1 touchdown performance against the best cornerback in the NFL, Darrelle Revis, for that. Not many people can go right at Revis and have success like Stevie did that day. Plus Stevie has some great chemistry with Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Bills quarterback who was just signed to a 6 year contract extension. How many times do you sign a guy to a new contract only to turn around and get rid of his security blanket?
Here’s an idea for the Bills – re-sign Stevie Johnson and then add more players around him. Add another receiver who can line up on the outside. Add some overall depth to the team’s offense so they don’t fall apart when a few guys get hurt. Add some good players to a defense that gives up almost 30 points a game. Then maybe Stevie Johnson will be more than a Lee Evans, an Aaron Schobel, or a Terrence McGee who came to Buffalo and worked their asses off for years only to accomplish nothing because a team wasn’t properly built around them. That’s my two cents anyway. Hopefully the Bills offer him more than that in the off-season.