The Buffalo Bills will be in need of a starting QB in 2018 as it looks like Tyrod Taylor is not favored to remain with the team, and Andrew Luck might be their best option.
Andrew Luck a member of the Buffalo Bills?
Sounds crazy, right?
Well, maybe it’s not as crazy as you might think.
Let’s start of by agreeing that Buffalo is going to part ways with Tyrod Taylor at some point during the 2018 offseason. While this isn’t a guarantee, from a financial (and talent) standpoint, this is the smartest move for the Bills. Taylor is set to make a good chunk of money in 2018 and cutting him will free up a good amount.
Now that we have addressed Taylor, let’s take a look at what options the Bills have to replace him under center. Ideally, the Bills would love to find their next franchise QB in the draft, where they have a pair of first-round picks. Unfortunately, they pick 21st and 22nd in the draft. That means that the Browns, Giants, Jets and Cardinals will all draft before the Bills. Each of those four teams needs a QB and is likely to take one. Should one of those four teams not take a QB, that leaves teams like Denver and Miami who also draft ahead of Buffalo and might take a QB in the first round.
The point is that if the Bills want a QB they will most likely have to move up in the draft. Moreover, if Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen go early in the draft (several mock drafts have them going 1-2) the Bills are now left with Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen. The Jets draft 6th and the Cardinals draft 15th, which means Buffalo would likely have to move up to at least 14th to be guaranteed a shot at one of the four best QB’s in the draft. Moving up in the draft often comes at a step price and unless Darnold or Rosen fall, is it really worth moving up for Mayfield or Allen?
If the draft is off the board in regards to acquiring a new QB, that leaves the trade market and free agency. Andrew Luck aside, that means you’re looking at names like Teddy Bridgewater, Kirk Cousins, Nick Foles, Alex Smith and Sam Bradford. While some of the names on this list are nice, none of them are the quality (when healthy) that is Andrew Luck.
So here is the deal with Luck, he has missed a ton of time with the Colts over the last couple of seasons. Plus, he is owed a boat load of money over the rest of his contract. Luck missed time at the end of the 2015 season before being handled with extreme care in 2016 and requiring surgery at the end of 2016. Luck then missed all of the 2017 season despite many believing that he would play in 2017. During all of this Luck signed a five-year extension with the Colts worth $123 million. Due to Luck’s deal, he is owed $12 million on the fifth league day of the 2018 NFL year.
This is where the financial situation might benefit the Bills.
If the Colts were to trade Luck this season, they would save just over $2 million against the cap in 2018. Moreover, they would save $27.5 million in 2019, $28.4 million in 2020 and $21 million in 2021. That’s a lot of many saved over the nest four seasons and not all of that would have to be given to their new QB. The ask for Luck might (and surely will) be high, but getting Luck (if healthy) would be a certainty for the Bills. Rolling the dice in the draft or trying to trade up isn’t going to be nearly as much of a guarantee. Also, keep in mind that the Colts have the third pick in the 2018 draft. Depending on what they get from the Bills, it’s possible they could try to package something together and move up a spot to land Darnold or Rosen. Some will say there is zero chance of that happening but if the Browns or Giants are torn between those two and one of the other QB prospects, they might be willing to make a deal.
Landing a healthy Andrew Luck would give Buffalo their franchise QB and he would be under contract for the next four seasons, including 2018. If Buffalo were to make the trade before the draft (which would obviously be ideal) they could then focus their attention in the draft on building a foundation around Luck for 2018 and beyond.
Of course this all comes down to health. If Luck isn’t guaranteed to be healthy in 2018 to start the season, then this isn’t even worth talking about. The second part of this would be convincing the Colts to trade him, but after the last few seasons that might be easier than you think. Regardless, the thought of Luck with the Bills in 2018 is an intriguing one.