Buffalo Bills offseason preview 2021: Quarterbacks

The Buffalo Bills finally have an answer in their franchise quarterback role, but adjustments may be coming to their backup situation.

The Position: Quarterback
On the Roster: Josh Allen, Jake Fromm
Free Agents: Matt Barkley
Reserve/Future: Davis Webb

It took 24 years, 18 AFC East titles for the New England Patriots, and countless false prophets…but the Buffalo Bills have finally found the answer to Jim Kelly.

Any doubts about Josh Allen’s NFL future were more or less eliminated with a historic season that likely occupies its own chapter in the Buffalo record books. Allen’s 2020 evolution turned the Bills into bona fide championship contenders, ones that fell just a game short of the Super Bowl. It’s safe to say that the Bills envision Allen riding out the decade with a streaking buffalo on his helmet…and maybe partake in a little of the next one as well. In fact, it may not be too early to start thinking about an extension to ensure he stays in blue and red.

But if any franchise knows that NFL prosperity can be yanked away in the blink of an eye…it’s the Buffalo Bills.

No one in their right football mind is going to deny that Allen has a role to play in the future of not only Western New York but the national gridiron scene as a whole. But the Bills must think about the names behind Allen, just in case the medically unthinkable happens. Allen has started the last 42 Bills games under center, but he did miss four games during his rookie year (2018) with an elbow injury. During that time, Buffalo worked with the backup hydra of Nathan Peterman, Derek Anderson, and Matt Barkley, the latter securing the long-term backup job by earning the lone win in that bunch.

Obviously, Allen is the toast of The Queen City until further notice. But no one in the NFL has ever prepared for an injury, especially one of the season-ending variety that can sink Super Bowl runs entirely. Barkley has proven somewhat reliable when called upon (his 2020-21 ledger consisted of Week 17 mop-up duty in a blowout win over Miami), but the Bills might have plans for rookie Jake Fromm to assume the role. Chosen in the fifth round of last year’s draft, Fromm’s rookie season was an unusual situation where he was kept in relative isolation in case COVID-19-related protocols rendered Allen, Barkley, and practice squad arm Davis Webb inactive.

It may seem irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, but backup quarterback remains one of the most underrated positions in any of the four major sports. The wrong name behind Allen, likely one the Bills hope they never have to see in the weekly box score, could save or derail a championship effort the Bills have steadily built.

Free Agents-to-be

Matt Barkley

Barkley’s football career has never truly recovered since he fell to the fourth round of the 2013 draft and a six-game stint as a starter yielded little in Chicago. But he managed to create some stability in Buffalo after guiding the Bills to a one-sided win over the Jets during the aforementioned 2018 season, having been Allen’s backup ever since. Barkley’s given little reason for the Bills to move on, but it’s possible they could move on to a younger name like Fromm to serve as Allen’s understudy.

Will They Draft? 

Very, very, very unlikely. The Bills just used a draft pick on a quarterback in Fromm, and if they bring in another camp arm. It’ll likely be one of the veteran free agent variety. Longshot options on day three include Ian Book of Notre Dame and Dustin Crum out of Kent State.

Veteran Possibilities

Tyrod Taylor, LA Chargers

One of the most reliable pre-Allen options as Buffalo quarterback was Taylor, who helped the Bills end a playoff drought that nearly became old enough to enjoy a Labatt Blue legally. Since Allen’s takeover, Taylor has been the opening act for rookie sensations in Cleveland and Los Angeles. If Allen were to go down, Taylor would serve as a reliable replacement because he has likewise been a multi-threat; some of the records Allen broke this season, namely the quarterback rushing marks, previously belonged to Taylor.

Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis 

It’s unfortunate that Brissett likely won’t get an opportunity to win his starting job back in Indianapolis, as he performed admirably when Andrew Luck abruptly retired in 2018. Brissett is another mobile threat who would help Buffalo quickly pick up the pieces if the unthinkable happened to Allen. Despite backing up Phillip Rivers this season, the Colts had Brissett come for quarterback sneak situations on crucial short-yardage situations (scoring three touchdowns last season).

Colt McCoy, NY Giants

If Barkley leaves and the Bills go looking for a more traditional veteran option to compete with Fromm, they could go with McCoy, who was relatively decent in two starts with the Giants, even helping the team earn a win in Seattle.

Outlook

Quarterback remains very low on the Bills’ offseason priority list. If they lose Barkley, it’s likely they’ll attempt to groom Fromm into the backup role, though a competition will ensue if they want someone with more experience behind Allen.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Giants: What Happens If The Giants Pass On A Quarterback This Year?

New York Giants, Eli Manning

The New York Giants hold the 6th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Much speculation has been made over whether or not the Giants will draft a quarterback. Recent rumors regarding Eli Manning’s future seem to indicate that the Giants are not going to draft a quarterback.

If the Giants do not draft a quarterback, they have one other option. The Giants could try to trade for Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen. However, Rosen has a fairly competitive market, and it is unclear how interested in Rosen the Giants truly are.

We know the Giants do have interest in Josh Rosen, but that does not mean they are interested enough to win a bidding war for Josh. If the Giants do not draft a quarterback and they do not trade for Josh Rosen, then what will be left for them to do at quarterback?

Stick With Eli Manning

Some fans may think this is crazy, but sticking with Eli Manning for another year has its benefits. Eli is coming off one of the best statistical seasons of his career. Regardless of how fans and analysts dissect and interpret Eli’s play, there is no denying he is a beloved teammate and leader for the Giants.

In 2018, Eli Manning had the lowest interception total of his career with only 11. He also threw 21 touchdown passes with 4,299 yards. His 66% completion percentage was also a career high.

The Giants’ owners have not committed to Eli past 2019. However, there have not committed to letting him walk, either. The team is 100% committed to him this year and will once again try to put the right pieces around him to give him the chance to make a playoff run. If he plays well, expect to see him back in 2020.

Eli Manning has always brought one key thing to the table: availability. Manning has never missed a game and is always ready to suit up for Big Blue. With Eli, the Giants know what they’re getting and that provides them with a level of confidence.

Many fans and analysts seem to think that 2019 needs to be Eli’s last year, but it does not. If the Giants show improvement in 2019 and Eli plays well, they will keep him and worry about finding the next quarterback later on down the road.

However, if 2019 does not go as planned for Eli Manning, the Giants have other options at quarterback if they do not acquire one this year.

The 2020 Draft Class

Much has been made about the Giants and the 2019 NFL Draft class. There has been plenty of speculation about the Giants drafting quarterbacks in 2019 such as Dwayne Haskins, Daniel Jones, or Drew Lock.

But if the Giants do not love any of these prospects, they will not force themselves to take one. They can always wait until next year. It just so happens that 2020 has some intriguing quarterback prospects.

One name that Giants fans might be familiar with is Justin Herbert. Herbert looked primed to be the 2019 NFL Draft’s top quarterback early in the NFL season. The Giants were also known to have a lot of interest in Herbert. Unfortunately for Big Blue, Justin decided to stay at Oregon for one more season of college football. He will be in the 2020 NFL Draft and he will be a highly-coveted prospect.

Justin Herbert is not the only quarterback prospect set to be taken in the 1st round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Tua Tagovailoa from Alabama and Jake Fromm from Georgia are also receiving a lot of buzz as they head into their junior seasons. One problem with each of these players is actually the fact that they will be juniors in 2019, meaning they could choose to not declare for the draft in 2020.

It would be incredibly unfortunate for the Giants if they passed on a quarterback this year and were left with few options next year. This is why many will say they should just find their guy this year. For now, fans will wait and anticipate the 2019 NFL Draft. The Giants are at a crossroads with many different options to choose from. The question is, where will they go from here?

New York Giants: Why Waiting Until 2020 For A Quarterback Is A Bad Idea

Tua Tagovailoa

The New York Giants are in the midst of one of the worst 3 year runs in franchise history. They improved in 2018 to a measly 5-11 after going 3-13 in 2017. They fired their head coach in 2017 after only 2 seasons. In the 2019 offseason, they traded away the team’s best player and set off a fanbase that was already unhappy.

All of these low moments in the New York Giants’ franchise history could go away soon. An era is coming to an end soon, whether the Giants want to admit it or not. Eli Manning has been with the Giants for 15 years. 2019 will be his 16th season. Manning brought the Giants 2 Super Bowls in his career. But, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end.

Manning, at 38 years old, only threw for 21 touchdown passes in 2018. In 2017, he threw only 19 touchdown passes. This is not the type of production one would expect from a quarterback making over $20 million per year.

The Giants will need to make a change at the quarterback position soon. Even general manager Dave Gettleman can admit that. There are options in the 2019 offseason, however, there are options outside of the 2019 offseason too. Some fans might think it is a good idea to wait until 2020 or later for a quarterback. However, there is one big reason why the Giants should not wait.

The 2020 Draft Class Is Not Set In Stone

The 2020 NFL Draft class is expected to be an exceptional class for the quarterback position. However, fans and analysts need to temper their expectations.

The class is set to feature three big names: Jake Fromm, Justin Herbert, and Tua Tagovailoa. Justin Herbert will be a senior in 2019, so he will definitely be in the 2020 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the other two prospects.

Jake Fromm and Tua Tagovailoa are going to be juniors in 2019. This means they will be draft eligible, but they are not guaranteed to declare for the draft. Many fans got their hopes up in 2018 about Justin Herbert. They believed he would declare for the 2019 NFL Draft class and the Giants would be in the Herbert sweepstakes.

Unfortunately, Justin Herbert decided to stay in school to complete his senior year. The reason it is dangerous to bank on the 2020 draft class is the fact that Tagovailoa and Fromm can do exactly what Justin Herbert did. Some players dream to play through their senior year, so no one really knows what the 2020 class will look like.

Jake Fromm plays for a talent-filled Georgia team that has the potential to compete for National Championships over the next two years. The same goes for Tua Tagovailoa. Football players love to win football games. It is as simple as that. If Tagovailoa and/or Fromm feels they can win a National Championship as a senior, they might find that opportunity too difficult to pass up on.

Aside from Justin Herbert, there are other notable quarterbacks who decided to play through their respective senior-years of college. Peyton and Eli Manning, Andrew Luck, and Baker Mayfield (just to name a few). So it would not be out of the ordinary if one of the two, or if both of the two (Tua Tagovailoa and Jake Fromm) decided to stay in school through their senior years.

The Giants know who is available in the 2019 offseason. The 2020 offseason is far from being set in stone. Between now and April 2020, a lot can change. The Giants should not waste any more of Saquon Barkley’s career as they attempt to find the next franchise quarterback.