Even though there are three games remaining in the NFL regular season and the Buffalo Bills are playing meaningful football in December; the biggest question regarding the team, is who will be their starting quarterback next season? It’s quite clear that 2013 first rounder EJ Manuel is not the answer, and veteran Kyle Orton, well, is no better than a .500 quarterback. Despite the team’s struggles at the position, they have compiled a record of 7-6 and remain in the hunt for a wild card position. Just imagine where the Bills could be if they had a legitimate number one quarterback. With the offseason nearly approaching, let’s take a look at potential quarterback options for the Buffalo Bills in 2015.
The easiest thing for Bills GM Doug Whaley would be to stick with both Kyle Orton and EJ Manuel for one more season. Both quarterbacks are under contract for the 2015 season. Manuel has shown some signs of hope; however injuries and his inability to throw the ball down field have really hurt the young signal caller. It’s hard to say whether Manuel will get another chance to prove that he can be a starter in the NFL, but for now, it’s best to keep him on the bench.
Since being named the starter in week five, Kyle Orton has done a decent job, posting a 5-4 record with 14 touchdowns compared to 7 interceptions. Orton is a fairly accurate quarterback and isn’t afraid to take a shot downfield, which is something that Manuel wasn’t capable of doing. The biggest negative with Orton is that he is extremely immobile, which is a problem with the Bills average offensive line. For the time being, Orton is a viable option heading into 2015 to be the Bills starter.
It’s no secret that the Bills have some impending free agents who they must resign, so the money that can be spent in free agency may be limited. Although management most likely won’t be willing to fork out lots of money on a free agent quarterback, there is an intriguing option that could be had at a rather cheap price. That is former first round pick Jake Locker. Health has been a huge concern for Locker in his brief career; however, the potential is there. He is very mobile, and since he has been drafted, his accuracy has substantially improved. Locker would be an ideal fit in Buffalo as he would have many weapons around him, and could really move the ball down field. The asking price for Locker shouldn’t be overly high, so it may be smart for Whaley and management to offer Locker a contract.
Another direction for the Bills to look at for quarterback would be via trade. A risky option for Buffalo would be to trade for Jay Cutler. There have been rumors that the Bears are willing to part ways with Cutler in the offseason. The only negative thing about this is that Cutler doesn’t have the greatest attitude. He definitely would have the weapons to thrive in Buffalo and could really produce. The question is what the asking price would be for the gun slinger. Without a first round pick, the Bills may be reluctant to give up a draft pick or two for Cutler.
Finally, the Bills could pull the trigger in the second round in the draft on Connor Cook or Bryce Petty. Both signal callers have had an immense amount of success at the college level, and look like they can be solid NFL quarterbacks. At this point, it is hard to say whether or not these players will be available when the Bills select in the second round, but if they are, it would be smart for the Bills to take one. Both Cook and Petty could learn under Orton until they are ready to take over as the starter.
It is yet to be seen what the Bills will do at the quarterback position, but there is no doubt that they have plenty of options. It is likely that they will stick with Orton as their starter in 2015, and develop a younger quarterback under him for the season. Regardless what they decide to do, the Bills have options heading into the offseason. Without a first round pick, the Bills may be limited in what they can do in the draft or trade route, but Whaley has time to think about it and make a move. Buffalo is very close to making the playoffs for the first time since the 1999 season, and hopefully management can make the right move that gets the Bills back into the promise land.