With free agency and the draft quickly approaching, the Buffalo Bills must act quickly and decide which free agent quarterbacks they may want to sign. The only current quarterback on the roster is former first rounder EJ Manuel, so it’s quite obvious the Bills need to add depth and create a competition for the position heading into training camp.
Unfortunately, the Bills will be without a first round pick this draft, so chances are they won’t be finding a starting quarterback in the draft. In fact, many scouts are saying aside from Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston, there are no starting caliber quarterbacks in the draft.
Both the draft and free agency quarterback classes are rather weak, so there are only a handful of quarterbacks the Bills will be interested in. Here are five potential free agents the Bills should consider signing to compete for the starting job.
There is no doubt that Mark Sanchez is the best free agent quarterback available. After missing the whole 2013 season with a knee injury, Sanchez was signed by the Eagles to back up Nick Foles. But, when Foles suffered an injury, Sanchez started the remaining eight games for the Eagles throwing 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Sanchez had success early in his career with Rex Ryan as his head coach, when he led the Jets to back to back AFC championships. The former sixth overall pick has solid size, good speed and escapability from the pocket, and has an exceptional arm. Consistency can be an issue for Sanchez; however, with the Bills converting to a run heavy offense, he may just be a perfect fit.
Since being drafted by the Titans in 2010, Locker has had difficulty staying healthy as he is constantly battling injuries. If Locker can stay healthy, there is no telling how good he can be. In fact, he may have the most upside of any free agent quarterback available.
He possesses great size, and has great speed, as he is very effective when running the ball. If Locker can stay healthy, he has the skill to take the Bills to the playoffs. Although his ability to stay healthy is a big question, he has played under one of the leagues worst offensive lines the past few seasons; and was given very few weapons to work with on offense. It won’t cost too much to sign Locker, so the Bills should be all over this come the start of free agency.
The Bills brought in Josh McCown in for a visit on Monday. It’s clear that Buffalo wants to bring some veterans to compete with Manuel. McCown is coming off of a very disappointing season, where he threw 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in eleven starts with the Buccaneers. Although he got no help from a poor offensive line, McCown is not the best option for the Bills as he is turning 36 this March and nearing the end of his career. McCown could be brought in to compete for the job, but after his performance last year, it’s hard to see him being named the starter.
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This is a very intriguing option for the Bills. After disappointing years in Cleveland, Colt McCoy revived his career in Washington this past season. Despite the lack of weapons around him, McCoy threw for four touchdowns and three interceptions in four starts. What’s more impressive however, was his 71.1 completion percentage and 8.3 yards per completion.
McCoy’s best asset may be his ability to escape pressure and throw with accuracy on the run. He is only 28 years old, and has plenty of good football left in him. If management is smart, they would sign McCoy and let him compete for the starting job. McCoy could thrive in the Bills run heavy offense.
Many fans may be wondering why on earth the Bills would even consider bringing in Jimmy Clausen. First, he is still young at 27 years old and has never really been given a fair chance in the NFL. His rookie season with the Panthers, he started ten games on the league’s worst offense, and after the team drafted Cam Newton, Clausen didn’t see the field again. It wasn’t until week 16 in 2014 where Clausen would make his next start, almost four full years after his last start, against one of the league’s top defenses in the Lions. Clausen completed 23-39 passes for 181 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception. Not bad numbers at all, given the circumstances.
Free agency is just a few weeks away, so Buffalo must decide on which quarterbacks to sign and compete for the starting job. Don’t be surprised if GM Doug Whaley brings in more than one veteran signal caller. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Bills sign Locker, and then also bring in a lower tier quarterback like a McCoy or Clausen. Either way, Buffalo will have some new faces at quarterback, that will hopefully enhance the competition come training camp.
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