Bills: FA QBs/Possible Trade Options

With EJ Manuel as the only QB on Buffalo's roster, the team will look to add competition via free agency or possibly a trade. Here are some options the Bills could pursue, for better or worse.

The Buffalo Bills need quarterbacks. As it stands, E.J. Manuel is the only quarterback on the roster. Jeff Tuel, an undrafted free agent from the 2013 class, signed a reserve/futures contract, but he’s not a legitimate contender to see playing time in 2015. Who could the Bills target in the offseason? Here are a look at some free agents and possible trade candidates for the Bills:

“Top” Free Agents

Mark Sanchez: Sanchez may be the best free agent on the market. In 2013, the quarterback went 5-4 with the Eagles. The Eagles started 4-1 with Sanchez at quarterback, but stumbled to a 1-3 finish. Rex Ryan, Buffalo’s head coach, is obviously familiar with Sanchez as the quarterback was with the Jets from 2009-2013. Sanchez set a personal career high for himself in 2014 with a 64.1 completion percentage. Sanchez could certainly manage Buffalo’s offense, but he’s a short-term fix, not a long-term solution. This can be said about every free agent option on the market.

Brian Hoyer: It wouldn’t surprise me if Hoyer doesn’t hit the market. He’s well-liked by the coaching staff in Cleveland and with Johnny Manziel in rehab, they probably want a veteran that they can count on to start the season. Hoyer started off the season strong for the Browns and played a big role in leading the Cleveland to a 6-3 record. Hoyer seemed to fall apart statistically at this point. The quarterback went 1-3 in his final four starts and appears in another loss to the Panthers. In Hoyer’s first nine games, he completed 60 percent of his passes in six games. Hoyer only accomplished that once more during the season against Buffalo. Hoyer was actually benched during that game and ended up starting once more that season against the Colts. If Buffalo is truly dedicated to being a run-first team, Hoyer could be a realistic QB option. Winning the job wouldn’t be a guarantee against Manuel, but he’d certainly have a shot.

The “Has Ties to Ryan/Greg Roman” Category

Michael Vick: Vick is another quarterback that Ryan is familiar with as Vick played in 10 games, starting three this season in New York. At 34 years old, Vick is getting to the end of his career and his accuracy is an issue. The one positive about Vick is that he still has a big arm, and when needed, Vick can use his feet. Roman showed that he can utilize mobile quarterbacks, but Vick probably isn’t a good idea at this point in his career.

Blaine Gabbert: There are ties between Roman and Gabbert from last season, so I’m listing him here. That being said, there’s just no way the Bills would pursue Gabbert. The move would pretty much signal that Manuel was the starter in Buffalo without question.

Wild Cards

Jake Locker: There have been times where Jake Locker has looked like a legitimate NFL quarterback. No one can question that he has talent. However, he’s also had some ugly and cringe-worthy performances. Then there’s the injuries. In four seasons, Locker has appeared in a total of 30 games, starting 23 of them. Locker has suffered injuries to his shoulder, hip, thumb, wrist and foot. He’s the NFL’s version of the Operation board game character. He could be in play with the Bills, but he’s certainly not someone you can depend on to play in all 16 games.

Ryan Mallett: Buffalo supposedly tried to trade for Mallett when he was with the Patriots. That was a different coaching staff, but perhaps the front office still likes him. Mallett has a cannon for an arm which could be interesting with Buffalo’s receiving options, but he lacks experience and mobility.

Veterans

Matt Moore: Moore is a very reliable backup quarterback. In fact, he’s terrific in this role. The veteran could come in for one season and compete for the starting job against Manuel. Even if he lost the head-to-head battle, Buffalo would have someone they’d feel comfortable playing waiting on the bench. Moore can manage a game, so he’s a possibility.

Shaun Hill: Hill is in the same category as Moore. In fact, everything above about Moore can pretty much be said about Hill.

Trade Options

Robert Griffin III: Washington’s general manager, Scot McCloughan, has said that the team isn’t going to give up on RGIII. There’s no reason to doubt him on this matter, but that is also a comment a GM would make if he were looking to trade a player. McCloughan could simply be trying to make it seem like RGIII is in their plans to get a higher draft pick or picks for the quarterback. RGIII could fit into Greg Roman’s offense very well, but this is probably a long shot.

Kirk Cousins: Cousins is a more realistic option among Washington’s quarterbacks. He’s played very well at times, but he’s also struggled when given the opportunity to start. For his career, Cousins has completed about 59 percent of his passes. His stats don’t reflect it, but Cousins is athletic and could certainly manage a game for the Bills behind a power-running offense. He’d be an intriguing option, but the Bills shouldn’t consider trading anything but a late round pick for the QB.  

Nick Foles: Is it the Eagles system or is Foles a good, young quarterback? We probably won’t know for sure until he starts for another team but there’s a lot to like about the quarterback. Foles has been very accurate as Philadelphia’s starter and he’s shown the ability to run with the ball when needed. He’s a quarterback who could thrive under Greg Roman. That said, for this to be possible, the Eagles would have to trade up for Marcus Mariota. Right now, that’s simply a popular rumor in regards to the 2015 NFL draft. Foles may not be realistic as he’d probably draw interest from a few teams and the Bills are limited in regards to draft picks.

Is there a quarterback that I didn’t mention that you believe the Bills should pursue? Feel like one of the quarterbacks above would thrive in Buffalo? Join the conversation in our forums to share your thoughts!


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