ADVERTISEMENT

Maybe Marshawn Lynch wasn't worth the trouble.

But he's obviously more valuable than what the Buffalo Bills got for him.

Lynch especially will be on our minds for the next couple weeks. The one-man stampede helped power the Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl, rushing for 109 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 23-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

The Bills drafted Lynch 12th overall in 2007, but his off-field issues and the front office's penchant for collecting halfbacks made the superstar expendable.

You'd think a savvy front office would be able to turn Lynch into  quality asset or two.

When the Bills traded him, he was only 24 years old and already had been to a Pro Bowl. In his three full seasons with Seattle, he has averaged 1,350 rushing yards, scored 40 touchdowns and been named to the Pro Bowl every time.

For those who've forgotten -- and that's understandable -- Buffalo wound up with tackle Chris Hairston and linebacker Tank Carder. That's who Buffalo drafted with the 2011 fourth-round draft pick and the 2012 fifth-round draft pick Seattle paid for Beast Mode.

Hairston started seven games in 2011 and eight games in 2012. This season, he spent training camp walking laps around the field before landing on injured reserve.

Carder didn't survive final cuts and never played a down for the Bills. He has started twice over the past two years with the Cleveland Browns.

Fox Sports insider Jay Glazer reported the New Orleans Saints were stunned at the trade. Glazer reported the Saints would have given the Bills a third-round pick, but the Bills never came to them.

Either way, Lynch pounded onward.

The Bills, of course, were in a bad spot with Lynch. Much of it was Lynch's fault, but the Bills were at least partially to blame.

Dick Jauron couldn't get Lynch to buy in completely. Not making the playoffs since 1999 can do that. The Bills also drafted C.J. Spiller in 2010, and there was no way Lynch, Spiller and Fred Jackson could've co-existed.

To this day, it can be argued the Bills haven't learned how to maximize their deep backfield. Remember, the summer the Bills owned Lynch, Jackson and Spiller they also had undrafted rookie Joique Bell, who has gone on to be a key backup for the Detroit Lions.

Lynch has caused problems off the field. In 2008, a 3:30 a.m. hit-and-run on Chippewa Street drew NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell's glare. A year later, gun charges in California got Lynch suspended.

Lynch hasn't been a choirboy with Seattle. He was arrested for suspicion of drunk driving near his hometown of Oakland in 2012, a transgression that caused me to write the Bills were winning the trade.

I whiffed then.

My mind has been changed on that forever. Even if Lynch gets suspended again, the Bills already have lost that trade. That's how little the Bills got for a juggernaut who has been critical to the NFC champions' success.

Part of my reasoning for the Bills winning the Lynch trade back then was how relieved they were to be done with him -- even for the paltry sum of a Hairston and a Carder. General Manager Buddy Nix and coach Chan Gailey had done an admirable job of clearing problem children from their roster.

Character was at a premium, and Lynch didn't fit.

But under new president Russ Brandon, new GM Doug Whaley and new coach Doug Marrone, the Bills showed they were willing to take risks on players with checkered pasts. They drafted Kiko Alonso (suspended twice at Oregon) and Duke Williams (suspended three times at Nevada).

The Lynch saga is yet another symptom of an organization that has been without a master plan, a front office making things up as it goes along.

The Bills invested a prime draft pick and millions of dollars in Lynch. They failed to motivate him and then they dumped him for tokens.

In two weeks, we might see Lynch lift the Lombardi Trophy while confetti falls at the Meadowlands.