By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist
No. 46: March 6, 2003 – The Bills trade Peerless Price to Atlanta for a first-round draft choice in 2003 (Willie McGahee).
The idea in the world of finance is to buy low and sell high. You’d have to say the Bills did that with wide receiver Peerless Price, relatively speaking. Price was a second-round pick from 1999 who showed some growth in his first three seasons, but no one was ready for what he did in Year Four. Price caught 92 passes for 1,252 yards – just in time to negotiate a new contract.
The Bills put a franchise tag on him and started shopping. Atlanta wanted an elite target for quarterback Michael Vick, so the Falcons gave up a No. 1 pick for him. Then Price signed a seven-year contract for $37.5 million. Price then returned to his pre-2003 days, and the Falcons cut him before the 2005 season. The wide receiver even returned to Buffalo in 2006 to catch 49 passes.
But the real drama came with the first-round draft pick. Willis McGahee displayed superstar potential at Miami of Florida, but suffered a horrible knee injury at the end of his college career. Any team that drafted him would have to wait at least a year before he could play, and even then his effectiveness was a question mark on draft day. It was a bold move by the Bills, but they were rewarded when they received three seasons of play from him with at least 990 rushing yards.
(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)