The Tyrod Taylor saga is dominating the Buffalo Bills’ offseason, but there’s another quarterback position that needs to be addressed — backup.
Cardale Jones is the only backup quarterback currently on the Buffalo Bills‘ roster. He is viewed as a developmental prospect and his performance in the second half the week 17 loss to the Jets (6-for-11, 96 yards and an interception) indicates that.
None of the Bills’ highly priced veterans are retiring or being traded, so there’s no sign that 2017 is a tank year. If Tyrod Taylor is let go, injured or even regresses during the season, the team cannot afford to have Jones as the starter during the season.
They need a veteran backup.
Quarterback musical chairs is an offseason tradition, so who would be the best fit for the Buffalo Bills? Below are players sorted by cost and talent.
Tier 1: Starting Quarterbacks You Can Actually Get As Backups
Jay Cutler: Put the pitchforks down for a moment and let me explain. Yes, Cutler throws a lot of interceptions. He doesn’t have the reputation of being a locker room leader.
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Most importantly, the Chicago Bears have been putrid the last few years with him as starter.
But what’s important is he’ll likely come cheap because teams know what he is. There’s no way he gets an expensive, multi-year deal the Bears gave him a few years ago.
Cutler is a strong-armed guy that’ll win you some games and lose you others, but can succeed if supported by a good defense and run game. That’s how he got to the NFC Championship game in 2010 and arguably the formula that gets the Buffalo Bills to the playoffs in 2017.
He knows new offensive coordinator Rick Dennison back when both were with the Denver Broncos. That means Cutler should pick up the offense quick. If Buffalo can utilize him the same way the Bears did in 2015 (shorter passes, relying on the run game), it’s a marriage that could work.
Colin Kaepernick: Stuck on a bad 49ers team with a bare-bones roster, but threw 16 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions. It wasn’t that long ago that he led the Niners within a few yards of winning a Super Bowl, so the potential is there.
Dennison’s offense employs bootlegs and quick throws, which suits a mobile quarterback like Kaepernick. His strong arm and quick feet make him similar to Tyrod Taylor, so you don’t have to change what you’re doing completely.
Tier 2: Fringe Starter Material
Brian Hoyer: He puts up great stats without actually winning, like he did this year with Chicago. This former Patriot is a consummate professional with experience in multiple systems. Hoyer can be a terrific mentor to Cardale Jones while providing adequate play if Tyrod is injured or released.
Hoyer never commands big contracts, so a cheap one-year deal could definitely be on the table.
Josh McCown: A true journeyman, you know what you’re getting with him. He’s a lifelong backup capable of starting a few games and putting up solid numbers.Too injury-prone and inconsistent to last a full season, but a good veteran to have.
A cheap deal for him is a great move.
Tier 3: Don’t Do It
Ryan Fitzpatrick: Buffalo Bills fans know who Fitzpatrick is, even if he came cheap. All the interceptions last season doesn’t help either.
Case Keenum: He played better than you think last year, considering their poor run game and receiver play. But likely not much more than a solution for more than half a season.
Matt Barkley: If they can’t get Cutler or Hoyer, just go after the entire 2016 Chicago Bears roster in the process.
Blaine Gabbert: He had his one chance for redemption in San Francisco and didn’t play well enough to keep it.
Mark Sanchez: Hey, at least he’s beaten the Patriots before!
What backup quarterback option do you like best for the Buffalo Bills? Leave your thoughts below!