BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills put themselves in a better position to fill a big need at quarterback in the draft. The Cincinnati Bengals added much-needed protection for their own franchise quarterback, Andy Dalton.
The Bills moved up nine spots in the draft by swapping first-round picks with the Bengals, who also acquired high-priced left tackle Cordy Glenn in a trade Monday, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press.
The person spoke to The AP on the condition of anonymity because teams are not allowed to announce trades until the NFL’s new business year opens Wednesday. Buffalo moved up to the No. 12 spot in the draft by trading the first of its two opening-round selections, 21st overall. The Bills also have the No. 22 pick.
Buffalo also traded its fifth-round pick (158th overall) for the Bengals’ sixth-round selection (187th) as part of the Bills’ second major trade in three days. On Friday, Buffalo traded starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor to Cleveland for a third-round pick.
The moves helped place the Bills in a position to use one of their first-round picks to draft a quarterback. The Bills have the assets to move up even higher in the draft order by having two picks in each of the first three rounds.
Nathan Peterman, a fifth-round pick last year, is the only quarterback on the roster.
General manager Brandon Beane has said he intends to land a franchise quarterback through either the draft, a trade or in free agency.
Beane has paid close attention to what is considered a top-heavy draft class of quarterbacks. He has said he planned to meet with all the draft-eligible quarterback prospects.
The offensive line is Cincinnati’s biggest focus in the offseason. The offense finished last in the league in large measure because its line couldn’t protect Dalton or open holes for the running backs.
The Bengals ranked 20th in allowing 40 sacks and 31st in yards rushing last year.
Cedric Ogbuehi took over at left tackle after Andrew Whitworth was allowed to leave as a free agent a year ago. Andre Smith was signed from Minnesota to play right tackle, which was Ogbuehi’s spot. The arrangement didn’t work.
Offensive line coach Paul Alexander was fired after the season, indicating an overhaul was coming on the line.
Glenn has been a Bills starter since being selected in the second round of the 2012 draft. He was limited to six games last year due to a left-foot injury that eventually required surgery. He also hurt his right ankle.
When healthy, Glenn has been dominant in both pass protection and run blocking. He was part of a Bills team that led the NFL in yards rushing in both 2015 and ‘16.
Dion Dawkins is in position to replace Glenn as the starter after filling in as a rookie last season. The Bills still have a need at center after Eric Wood was diagnosed with a career-ending neck injury in January.
Trading Glenn also solves yet another salary-cap related issue Beane inherited upon replacing Doug Whaley, who was fired a day after last year’s draft concluded.
Glenn has three years left on a $65 million contract he signed in 2016, and is due to make a $9.25 million base salary this season. Despite being traded, a portion of Glenn’s bonus money will count against the Bills’ salary cap this season.
Beane has taken a bold approach to reshaping the Bills through trades.
On the same day in August, he traded starting receiver Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams and starting cornerback Ronald Darby to Philadelphia. In October, the Bills traded their highest-paid player, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, to Jacksonville for a sixth-round pick.
The depletion of talent didn’t hamper the Bills from finishing 9-7 and making the playoffs to end a 17-year drought, which had been the longest active streak in North America’s four major professional sports.
AP sports writer Joe Kay contributed to this report.
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