The Buffalo Bills added Kevin Kolb last offseason to be the veteran presence in the quarterback room, but a preseason concussion has put his career in jeopardy. Should the Bills count on his healthy return this offseason? Are they happy with their current situation at quarterback?
After Kolb's injury, EJ Manuel earned the starting job, but three knee injuries sidelined him and forced Thad Lewis and ultimately undrafted free agent Jeff Tuel into the starting lineup. They also signed Matt Leinart and Matt Flynn at different points in the season. It was a hot mess, especially considering that offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett had no help on the coaching staff to deal with the position.
What the Bills could add
The Bills are publicly comfortable with Manuel as the starter heading into the 2014 season, and are awaiting news on Kolb. Realistically, they shouldn't plan on having the oft-injured veteran around, and will likely release him in the next couple weeks to avoid paying him a big roster bonus. When he is released, Buffalo could look to add a veteran presence on a short contract for a few million dollars, similar to Kolb's deal from last spring.
Who fits the Bill
Matt Cassel: If the Bills wanted to add Cassel, they could already do that. He was released earlier this offseason by the Minnesota Vikings. He has starting experience, and could come for less than the $3 million earmarked for Kolb.
Matt Schaub: Unlike Cassel, Schaub may not be available until May or later. Schaub is still under contract with the Houston Texans, who are likely to add a quarterback in the draft. Schaub's $14.1 million cap hit means he probably won't be around when the season starts, though. He will be a sought-after veteran backup for one of the many teams looking to mentor a young signal caller, or possibly start early in the rookie's career.
Best Case Scenario
Adding one of these veterans would be an easy roster swap: Kolb out, another veteran in. It would be close to a zero-balance on the salary cap as well. However, Buffalo has already taken steps to minimize the need to add a veteran by adding two offensive assistant to help Hackett in quarterbacks coach Todd Downing and senior offensive assistant Jim Hostler. If you like Lewis, they don't need to do anything. If you don't, Schaub is the best option available.