Bills General Manager Doug Whaley and the franchise owners seemed to forget the Golden Rule when trying to acquire players for the Bills. If an athlete does not want to play here, then don’t mortgage off your house, Buffalo Waterfront, and New Era Field to entice this person to play on the team. Playing in the NFL is a privilege. This year, Buffalo has 24 free agents and may only be able to keep a handful of them. Buffalo has a bad history of laying out the big money for players who have not proven their worth or would rather play in warmer cities.

Here are some of the worst contract deals that the Bills have made in recent years.

Marcell Dareus

The defensive player started out with high energy and sacks, but Marcell Dareus has disappointed fans with his continuous substance abuse violations. Giving Dareus a $100 million contract in 2015 after numerous drug violations was not the smartest decision. Dareus thought the original $90 million was too low. That is when Buffalo should have shown Dareus the door and let other teams deal with his chronic issues. Dareus did not have a good 2016 season. He missed the first four games, due to another suspension and seemed out of shape when he returned in the last half of season. He only racked up 3.5 sacks and complained that Rex Ryan’s defense was too detailed.

Cutting ties with Dareus can free up some cap space, so Buffalo can sign some safeties and wide receivers.

Tyrod Taylor

Giving quarterback Tyrod Taylor a $30 million option for the 2017 season has been biting Doug Whaley. The contract also guaranteed the $30 million for Taylor in case of an injury. Why dangle that much money in front of a second-year rookie starter?

Taylor had a mediocre season last year with 17 touchdowns and a little over 3000 yards passing. That is decent, but not worthy of that kind of option for one year. The Bills need to be smarter and save the big bucks for the post-season when a quarterback has already played his game. Now, the Bills are stuck between a rock and a hard place with no better quarterback waiting in the wings to take Tyrod's place.

Ryan Fitzpatrick

The Bills dumped Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2012. They screwed up by giving him a big contract extension after 6 games in the 2011 when he had a good streak. He finished the season horribly and Buffalo let him go after the 2012 season. Buffalo should have known better than to give a huge contract to Fitzpatrick. He was a mid-range quarterback at best with a terrible habit of tossing 4th quarter interceptions in the red zone. In his last two seasons with the team, he threw almost 40 picks. The New York Jets signed him for 2015 and 2016. He choked in the final match-up of the 2015 season, as Buffalo’s defense intercepted him and spoiled the Jets’ playoff chances. Fitzpatrick did even worse last year.

It is doubtful that New York will keep him on the 2017 roster.

Free agent contracts

With Robert Woods, Stephon Gilmore, and Jerome Felton slated as free agents, the Bills need to write come new contracts for players they want to keep. Let’s hope these contracts do not follow in the bad footsteps of Dareus, Fitzpatrick, and Taylor.