The Bills and Steelers have become linked in many ways over the last several years, and recently just set up their first-ever dual-team practices before their preseason game Saturday. We reached out to Brian Galliford, the editor of SB Nation's Bills site, Buffalo Rumblings, for some answers. Follow Brian and Buffalo Rumblings on Twitter @BuffRumblings
Outside of keeping the team in Buffalo, what's the one thing you'd like to hear from any prospective Bills owner in regards to a vision for the franchise?
It's worth noting that the stipulation you mention - keeping the team in Buffalo - is the top priority by such a wide margin from a fan's perspective that not much else is being discussed. To me, however, the next item beyond that is the stadium situation. The Bills will be in Ralph Wilson Stadium for another nine seasons under a scenario in which a new owner is keeping the team in Buffalo, and there's no question that the league eventually wants a modern facility in the area. If they end up staying in Buffalo, they'll have a good long while to figure out how and when to build a new stadium, and work has actually already begun on that front.
How has the loss of Ralph Wilson been met in the Bills' community?
Just in terms of general sentiment, it likely was very similar to how Steelers fans felt when Art Rooney passed away in 1988. Mr. Wilson was the founder of the organization, and the entire reason that our fan base shares in this passion. His loss had been expected for some time, but that doesn't dull the blow. Where the Rooney comparison doesn't work is that Wilson hadn't passed the team to an heir; beyond the grief, there's an undercurrent of fear that the team won't be here much longer.
Evalute the performance of general manager (and ex-Steelers personnel assistant) Doug Whaley through his first year and change as the head man in Buffalo.
I actually evaluate Whaley back further than just from the moment he became nominal GM, because he's had a heavy hand in the direction of the organization as far back as the hiring process for Doug Marrone. He's the guy that will be ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the EJ Manuel pick, even though Buddy Nix made the call. He'll obviously be judged for the balls-to-the-wall Sammy Watkins trade he made in May. Whaley has a good head on his shoulders and negotiates with conviction; that's a start. Whether or not he'll get a longer look at the job will depend on the ownership situation and Manuel's long-term prognosis.
Was a first round and fourth round pick in next year's draft worth Sammy Watkins, based on what you've seen so far?
The trade was certainly rich, but Watkins has had an outstanding training camp. He's exactly as advertised - a game-breaking after-catch talent, with the type of catch radius that increases the margin of error for a quarterback like Manuel, who has spotty mechanics and therefore inconsistent accuracy. Buffalo will be a run-heavy offense under Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett, and they're counting on guys like Watkins and Mike Williams to make a few bail-out plays for Manuel so that teams can't key on the run as often as they did in 2013.
Will RB C.J. Spiller be traded before the regular season begins, and what would it take, in your estimation, for the Bills to make that move?
I don't think the Bills are considering trading Spiller. He's their top tailback through the rotation, and until further notice (i.e. Watkins starts to consistently produce), their best big-play threat on offense. Fred Jackson is 33 years old, Anthony Dixon is more of a niche player than a true every-down back, and Bryce Brown has had ball security issues. If another team came along and blew the Bills away with an offer - one that would recoup them the first-rounder they flipped for Watkins, I'd imagine - then Spiller is staying, and they'll probably negotiate with him about a long-term extension, too. All of this Spiller trade talk is purely speculative and quite overblown.