Buffalo Bills Looking Into TJ Yates as Possible Backup Quarterback

Oct 24, 2015; London, United Kingdom; Buffalo Bills guard Richie Incognito (64) and center Eric Wood (70) during NFL on Regent Street before the International Series game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 24, 2015; London, United Kingdom; Buffalo Bills guard Richie Incognito (64) and center Eric Wood (70) during NFL on Regent Street before the International Series game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The Buffalo Bills are in need of a veteran backup quarterback to work behind Tyrod Taylor and above Cardale Jones. Could TJ Yates be that guy?

Tyrod Taylor didn’t perform how the Buffalo Bills and fans wanted him to last season and looking at the experience Cardale Jones has (in both college and NFL), I don’t see him being a reliable option to step in if needed — just yet. That’s why bringing in a veteran backup like TJ Yates makes a lot of sense, just in case.

Tyrod Taylor is coming off a groin injury that required surgery this offseason. After declaring he’s 100% and feels “no limitations” with the injury, it’s never a bad idea to stay prepared anyways. Being without a QB mid-season and having to rely on someone that has only played one quarter in a regular season game isn’t very comforting.

Yates spent four years at North Carolina before being selected in the fifth round of the 2011 draft. A redshirt in 2006 with the school, Yates would go on to set school records for total career passing yards (9,377 yards) and single-season passing yards (3,418 yards). Over his four years, he totaled 795/1,277, 62.3% completion percentage, 9,377 yards, 58 touchdowns and 46 interceptions.

TJ Yates has proven to be a reliable backup, although his numbers won’t jump out at you. In his six  seasons in the NFL, he has had stints with the Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons and most notably the Houston Texans, which is most likely where you’ve heard of him. He has appeared in 18 games over those six years, starting 7 of them.

He saw the most action in his rookie campaign after Matt Leinart went down with a collarbone injury. Fresh off being drafted in the fifth round, Yates was asked to start near the end of the season. He performed admirably, helping lead the Texans to 10 victories and a playoff berth. In fact, Houston would win their first ever playoff victory with Yates behind center.

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In that rookie season, he totaled 6 games played (5 starts), 82-134 (61.2%), 949 yards, 3 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 14 rushes, 57 yards and 3 lost fumbles. He would spend the next two years with the team, playing in 7 games and totaling 151 yards, 0 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.

After that, he moved to the Atlanta Falcons where he appeared in one game in 2014. That game saw the Falcons up 49-0 when he entered the game, throwing 3-4, 64 yards and one interception. His stint with the team wouldn’t last long, as he was  a part of the their final roster cuts at the end of training camp.

Almost two months later, he was re-signed by the Houston Texans to act as a backup to Brian Hoyer — who would get injured during a game vs. the Bengals. Yates came in and helped lead Houston to a 10-6 victory over Cincinnati, completing 5 of 11 passes and adding 69 yards, one touchdown to that sheet. Unfortunately, he would suffer a torn ACL and was placed on the IR for the rest of that season.

Last season, Yates was with the Miami Dolphins. He was seen as a security blanket after starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill went down with an injury late in the season. After making the playoffs, their backup QB Matt Moore would also appear to be injured in the Wild Card game.

Yates would appear for one snap before Moore re-entered the game.

All in all, I wouldn’t mind having TJ Yates on the Buffalo Bills‘ squad. Truth is, I don’t know what to expect if Tyrod Taylor were to suffer an injury next season. I have faith in Cardale Jones, but I would rather have him sit and develop a little while longer before breaking into bad habits as a young quarterback.

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Yates is the ultimate game manager and could come in and help secure a victory if needed. His numbers won’t jump out at you, but you don’t need good numbers to be a backup quarterback — you just need to be able to step up when called upon.

I can’t imagine Yates is asking for a lot, so he wouldn’t eat up a lot of cap space. Plus, his first three seasons with Houston were spent with Rick Dennison as the team’s offensive coordinator. He has a lot of experience working in his offense and showed the most success under Dennison.

That should bode well for the backup quarterback. He hasn’t had any high-profile visits that I’m aware of, so it doesn’t look like many teams will be bidding for him. There is a chance that changes now that the Buffalo Bills have shown interest, though.

Looking at the Bills’ current situation at quarterback, I say go for it and sign TJ Yates if the asking price is right. You can never be too cautious, especially with the QB position being the most important on the field.

Expect to hear more about this soon.

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What are your thoughts on TJ Yates making a free agent visit with the Buffalo Bills on Friday? Leave your comments below!