Since Buffalo only had two quarterbacks (Ryan Fitzpatrick and Levi Brown) on the roster headed into free agency, it was a certainty that the Bills would try to sign a veteran to compete for the backup role. It was widely speculated that the Bills would bring in Dolphins free agent Tyler Thigpen, as he had previously worked with head coach Chan Gailey when both were with the Chiefs.
To the surprise of no one, that speculation became reality late last night, as the Bills inked Thigpen to a deal. Terms have not been disclosed.
So what should our expectations be for Mr. Thigpen during his time in Buffalo? Here’s a little breakdown:
Career Stats: 22 games, 54.2% completion percentage, 3167 yards passing, 21 TD, 17 INT, 73.7 QB rating
Strengths: Very familiar with Chan Gailey and the offensive system he will use, thanks to a year under Gailey when Gailey was offensive coordinator for Kansas City. Starting experience from that season. Athletic and fast. Capable of making plays on the run out of the pocket. Pretty decent arm strength. Good enough size. Knows his role as a backup and won’t make waves.
Weaknesses: Has a year of starting experience, but he hasn’t been very successful in terms of wins and losses (1-11 as a NFL starter). Accuracy and decisiveness in the pocket has been a problem. Already on his fourth NFL team. Couldn’t get on the field much for a Dolphins team with a terrible QB situation.
Outlook: Obviously, bringing in Thigpen – especially with the short off-season the lockout has caused – allows Buffalo to have a capable hand ready on deck who knows the system and isn’t afraid to step in when called upon. And it was smart of him to come to Buffalo. It’s a system he likes and a guaranteed #2 job.
There’s a lot to like about Thigpen, but he’s not a franchise quarterback by any stretch. He makes too many mistakes and his accuracy isn’t quite there. However, you can certainly do a lot worse in a backup quarterback. Just don’t expect a savior here if Fitz falters.