Who will be the Bills next backup quarterback?



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Justin Siejak, Sports Writer

The Bills enjoyed the luxury of having a high-end backup quarterback during the 2021-2022 season. Mitchell Trubisky was widely expected to join a team to compete for a starting job during last season’s free agency period. Instead, he opted to take one year to learn under one of the league’s premier quarterbacks, Josh Allen. Trubisky wouldn’t end up playing any meaningful snaps, as Josh Allen stayed healthy the entire season. However, with the action we saw from him in the preseason, Trubisky looked sharp and ready to step into the starting lineup if need be. Trubisky truly was viewed as one of the league’s best backup quarterbacks.

Now, heading into the offseason, Mitchell Trubisky is slated to be a free agent, and very well could take a starting spot for a team in need. Brandon Beane had mentioned at the trade deadline that a team offered a pick for Trubisky, so there is interest around the league for his services. This would mean that Davis Webb would be in line to be Josh Allen’s backup, but before the new league year even started, Webb signed a deal to join Brain Daboll and Joe Schoen to head to New York and join the Giants. This is where there are question marks.

We know that Coach Sean McDermott and General Manager Brandon Beane ideally want a quarterback similar to Josh Allen’s stature and intangibles. Someone who is tall, mobile, and has a big arm. This would mean that in case of emergency, Buffalo would not have to alter their game plan massively if Allen were to get hurt. Who could Buffalo look to in the offseason to backup Josh Allen if Trubisky leaves? They could sign one of the many free-agent quarterbacks that will be available, or they could use a draft pick to ensure the position. So who are some of the best options in free agency? Let’s take a look.

Marcus Mariota

After some magical seasons at Oregon including a National Championship appearance and a Heisman Trophy, Mariota declared for the 2015 NFL draft. He would then go on to be selected number two overall by the Titans. Mariota looked promising his first year, but ultimately could never elevate the Titans, and was eventually replaced by Ryan Tannehill. Mariota signed with the Raiders in the 2020 offseason. He played sparingly, but in a game against the Chargers in 2020 where Derek Carr would go down, Marcus would step in and have an electrifying game. Mariota is still an exceptional athlete who moves well, and could very well execute some of the runs that Josh Allen is asked to pull off. He doesn’t have the biggest arm, but standing at 6″4, he has that towering frame that every team desires. Mariota would be another high spend at the position, but with that money comes another premier backup quarterback.

Teddy Bridgewater

Bridgewater has had a wild career. Drafted by the Vikings in 2014, he was expected to step in and be the franchise guy in Minnesota. Due to injuries, Bridgewater never lived up to that status and eventually moved on. He would spend time with the Jets, Saints, Panthers, and Broncos leading up to the present day when he is scheduled to become a free agent. Bridgewater isn’t the most impressive athlete, but where he lacks in that department, he makes up for his with his steady play. He doesn’t “wow” with his play on the field, but he most certainly can get the job done with his precision and decisiveness. In almost every year of his career, he has had a positive TD-INT ratio. With the number of playmakers Buffalo has on offense, Bridgewater wouldn’t be asked of much. He could be a great fit, and would also be a nice veteran presence in the locker room.

Cam Newton

When Josh Allen declared for the draft in 2018, many analysts referred to Cam Newton as his pro comparison. The intangibles are similar. Both share a 6″5 frame with the ability to move exceptionally. Oh yeah, and they both have a rocket attached to their arm. That is the question with Newton though. Known his whole career for being able to make every throw on the field, Newton has not looked the same through the air these past few years. This could be from nagging shoulder injuries piled up from his playing career. Despite this, there is no argument that both players are a lot alike. Newton would be able to pull off the read options and power runs just like Allen would. Newton would also most likely come at a price, however from an intangibles standpoint, there would be no closer fit to Josh Allen than Cam Newton.

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Did someone say reunion? After a trip across the league where we saw Fitzpatrick join 7 other franchises, we could see “Fitzmagic” end up back in Buffalo. For reasons other than nostalgia, Fitzpatrick would be a phenomenal fit in Buffalo. He knows the city and the relationship he has developed with Josh Allen is well documented. Now let’s get to what he brings on the field. Fitzpatrick is a gunslinger with the ability to have a massive day on any given Sunday. He may not be mobile… at all, but he absolutely can still toss the pigskin all across the field. He may be the best pocket passer in this free agent quarterback class. Given the talent that the team has on the offensive side of the ball, Fitzpatrick may be the best fit if the Bills didn’t want to lose their ability to throw the ball 40-50 times a game.

Jacoby Brissett

Brissett spent last season in Miami after being in Indianapolis for multiple years. During his time in Indianapolis, a major shocker came from the Colts as Andrew Luck retired early after multiple injuries. Brissett was then thrust into the starting spot. He wasn’t great, but he also wasn’t bad. When he signed in Miami, he assumed the backup quarterback position behind the young Tua Tagovailoa. In games where Tagovailoa either was hurt or struggled, Brissett would step in and be a totally capable quarterback. Another guy that wouldn’t put on a clinic or an exciting performance, but could deliver the ball accurately. A solid pocket passer with a 6″4 frames may intrigue the Bills front office come to this free agency.

Tyrod Taylor

Taylor looked strong in his limited gameplay with the Texans. He is still one of the most mobile quarterbacks in the NFL with the ability to sling it. Taylor is a very steady veteran presence and has built a very nice career for himself after being a sixth-round pick by Baltimore in 2011. This move would also be another potential nostalgic move for Bills fans as Taylor was arguably the best quarterback Buffalo had seen play for the Bills in years before Josh Allen. Would Taylor want to come back up Allen, or does he still want a shot to start somewhere else in the NFL? The ladder could very much be true, despite this, it would be worth looking into bringing Taylor in as Josh’s backup for the 2022-2023 season.

Andy Dalton

Admittedly, Dalton is past his prime. He doesn’t have the same zip on the ball and has endured several injuries. He can however still be a good backup in the NFL. Spending time with the Bears this past season, Dalton served as the initial starter and the mentor to Justin Fields. He would eventually go on to lose that starting spot and wouldn’t play much more after that. Despite his recent years, Dalton is still a solid quarterback who could make do with some solid weapons around him. When he was on the Cowboys two years ago, he had some solid games on his resume that year. He had weapons to throw to, and that is crucial to his game. In Chicago, Dalton went through poor play calling and little to no weapons. He is a product of what is around him. I believe bringing him in behind Allen could be a smart move. Buffalo fans cheered for Dalton years back after leading the game-winning drive against the Ravens to break the Bills playoff drought; could he end up in the city that once loved him?

Plenty of solid options are on the table for the Bills’ backup quarterback position this offseason. Maybe Mitch Trubisky doesn’t even leave and resigns. We don’t know yet. We do know that Brandon Beane has a history of signing players and getting the best out of them though, so Bills fans should be content. They could fill this whole with any of these guys, or a young kid in the later rounds of the draft. They must make it a priority because with a mobile quarterback at the helm, you never know what can happen.