In case you missed it last night, the Buffalo Bills have reportedly agreed to terms on a two-year contract with free agent quarterback Kevin Kolb, formerly of the Arizona Cardinals. Now that we've had 12-plus hours to let the news sink in, I had a few additional thoughts to jot down on the signing.
- On the contract: it's not a two-year, $13 million deal, so pump the brakes on the hate train. It's a two-year deal with a max value of $13 million, meaning that unless he hits every single incentive in the deal, he won't be making that much. Tarvaris Jackson signed a one-year deal worth $2.25 million that doubles in money if he hits all incentives; don't be surprised if Kolb's deal is a two-year, $6.5 million accord (the same contract Ryan Fitzpatrick signed in Tennessee) that also doubles in money if he meets all of the escalators.
- When the Bills released Fitzpatrick, reports surfaced that they'd offered him a four-year deal worth $3 million per season, with incentives that could have netted him up to $7 million annually. Aside from the two-year length, Kolb's contract could ultimately look quite similar to that, indicating that the Bills had planned all along for someone to be the No. 1 to Jackson's No. 1A.
- Those things said, regardless of the way you interpret the deal, Kolb's earning potential is considerably higher than is Jackson's. For that reason alone, it's safe to assume that Kolb will break training camp as the top quarterback on the depth chart. He's already there on ours.
- Kolb's signing means just one thing about the team's plans in the 2013 NFL Draft: whichever quarterback the team drafts will not be forced to play right away (though that is, of course, still an option). That was looking like a strong possibility with just Jackson on the roster; Kolb is much more capable of holding down the fort until a rookie is ready. Whether or not the Bills had plans to draft a quarterback all along, it's tough to imagine that the team's plans have changed drastically on that front based on this signing. If they did plan on taking one, No. 8 is still a possibility; if they didn't, then they have a stop-gap quarterback to get them by for a year.
- Sure, Kolb had a rough go of it in Arizona over the last two years. The big concern should not be his playing ability, but his injury history. 15 games in two years is tough to get past. However, Kolb did not have the benefit of an NFL-caliber offensive line or a solid run game in Arizona; he'll see significant improvements in both of those areas with the Bills. Those factors should keep him healthier, at the very least.
- It's also worth pointing out that Kolb was at his most efficient in 2009 and 2010 playing in Andy Reid's West Coast-flavored offense, and the Bills are expected to run an up-tempo attack with West Coast elements under Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett. The only step backwards for Kolb (aside from fiscal compensation) is that he probably won't have the benefit of a dynamite defense helping him out in 2013.
- The bottom line, then, is this: Kolb's contract is almost certainly more reasonable than it seems at first blush; he's going to be in a much more advantageous situation in Buffalo than he was in Arizona; and he gives the Bills a glimmer of upside at the position, which the team certainly didn't have 24 hours ago. As long as the Bills don't consider this a franchise-altering move - and they shouldn't - this signing makes total sense from just about every angle.
And hey - if you're still unconvinced, at least the Bills went out and found a guy that beat Tom Brady last season. Right?