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Turns out the Bryce Brown trade took as long to complete as it did for us to understand it.

"It was long and complicated," Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon said. "We lost a couple brain cells."

Bills GM Doug Whaley revealed negotiations for the trade, which involves the conditional 2015 fourth-round draft pick they got from the San Francisco 49ers but factors in more conditions that could impact the 2016 draft, began a year and a half ago.

"That trade was uplifting just because of how long it took to consummate," Whaley said.

Brown was a 2012 seventh-round draft choice for the Philadelphia Eagles and, despite fumbling issues, showed glimmers of brilliance as a rookie backup to superstar LeSean McCoy.

Trade talks with the Eagles began so long ago that Whaley couldn't remember how they were approached.

Brandon and Bills senior vice president of football operations Jim Overdorf finally hammered out the deal late Friday night and Saturday morning with Eagles GM Howie Roseman.

"To get a player of Bryce Brown's caliber at a fourth-round pick next year, that value was intriguing to us," Whaley said.

Of all the positions on Buffalo's roster at the end of last season, they might've seemed most cemented at running back.

Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller both are under contract for another year and combined to rush for 1,823 yards and 11 touchdowns. They also have Ronnie Wingo, who finished last season as the third-stringer, coming back.

The Bills didn't draft any of the 22 running backs whose names got called over the past three days. But the Bills bolstered their depth chart by signing free agent Anthony Dixon and Anthony Allen earlier this offseason and then trading for Brown today.

"For me," Bills coach Doug Marrone said. "it was what happens if 'God forbid? What if you have injury? You have this? Where we going to go next?' "

Marrone pointed out Brown "has low mileage."

Brown turns 23 in a few days. He has had only 338 touches (127 in college, 211 in the NFL) since he left Wichita East High as one of the best prospects in the country. His disappointing college career hopscotched from Tennessee to Kansas State.

"One of our philosophies as a team is that competition brings out the best in everybody," Whaley said. "We want competition. We don't want people that come in here and say, 'This is my spot. I'm safe.' We want people to push people to be better."

The competition already has manifested itself.

Moments after the Brown trade, McCoy tweeted that Brown would start for the Bills on opening day. Jackson tweeted back at McCoy to propose a wager that Brown wouldn't beat out him and Spiller.