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State of the Bills Roster: Quarterbacks

Edwards remains the future at QB (Associated Press)

Welcome to the off-season at Buffalo Rumblings, Buffalo Bills fans!  If you're new around these parts within the past nine months or so, this is the first series in an off-season progression of posts here in which we'll break down Buffalo's roster in-depth.  From these discussions, we'll put together a "Community Needs List" in priority order, then begin researching potential free agent and draft acquisitions that will satisfy all of the Bills' needs as we perceive them.

Hey - at least this way, we're doing the job right.  Right?  Unlike a certain front office we're forced to support.

So this is our first foray into heavy-duty off-season work at Buffalo Rumblings.  It's our "State of the Roster" series, off-season mode, and we'll start the discussions off with a look at the most important position on the football field: quarterback.

Opening Statement
I remain a believer that starter Trent Edwards is a quarterback that can win a lot of games in this league.  He's just not a guy who can shoulder the whole load at this point, and the Bills gave him too much responsibility this season.  That's easily rectified in 2009, and Trent's future remains bright.  Edwards is the only Bills quarterback currently under contract for next season.

#5 Trent Edwards (starter)
   6'4", 231 pounds
   Age: 26 in October 2009
   Contract status: 2 years remaining (UFA after 2010); owed $1.01M in base salaries
- Edwards didn't prove that he's the long-term answer at quarterback for the Bills this season, but he did prove that he's as tough as they come, that he can lead, and that he's got talent.  He's got a lot more to prove, and unless the Bills stumble across a can't-miss veteran this off-season - and those are incredibly rare - Edwards deserves (and should get) a chance to do more proving in 2009.

#7 J.P. Losman
   6'2", 212 pounds
   Age: 28 in March 2009
   Contract status: Unrestricted free agent in March 2009
- The chances that Losman is re-signed in Buffalo are incredibly remote, and they are completely non-existent if Dick Jauron is retained as head coach.  After demanding a trade a year ago, Losman has wallowed as Edwards' backup and was awful filling in when Trent was injured.  This, folks, is the last time I'm even going to mention Losman's name until he's officially signed elsewhere.  That day might not come.

#10 Gibran Hamdan
   6'4", 220 pounds
   Age: 28 in February 2009
   Contract status: Restricted free agent in March 2009
- Hamdan's future with this team largely rests with the fate of Dick Jauron.  I have zero complaints with Hamdan, and think that his positive energies have largely been a good influence on Edwards.  But no coach besides Jauron is going to show much interest in Hamdan, particularly as a backup.

#16 Matt Baker
   6'2", 212 pounds
   Age: 26 in May 2009
   Contract status: Exclusive Rights free agent in March 2009
- He's currently on IR.  With less than two years' accrued NFL experience, the Bills retain the rights to exclusively negotiate with Baker in the off-season.  That's unlikely to happen.  Baker is a non-factor in Buffalo.

The Breakdown
Keepers: Edwards.  He's very likely the Bills' 2009 starter, new coach or not - and that's a good thing.

Extendables: None.  (This category will house players worth handing contract extensions in future installments of this series.)

Expendables: Hamdan, Baker.  Unless Jauron is retained, Hamdan is far from a lock to return as well, though he may be retained merely to be Edwards' buddy again.  (Cue text message jokes.)  To rely on Hamdan as anything more than a #3 QB next off-season could be career suicide for whoever is coaching the team.  Again, Baker is a non-factor.

Questionables: None.  (This category will house players whose future in Buffalo is, essentially, 50/50.)

Goners: Losman.  Praise the football gods.

What we need: We're going to need a #2 quarterback that can win us games, because Edwards is bound to miss a handful of games next season simply because he takes too many hits.  We're also in desperate need of some experience at the position.  Seems to me that a veteran backup would fill both of those needs rather easily.  Depending on Hamdan's fate, a third quarterback might be a necessity as well.  Either way, there's going to be some substantial change at this position within the next four months or so.

That's it.  I'm done with the easy stuff.  Now it's on you, folks.  Are you sold on Edwards?  Got any names to throw out there as potential backups to Edwards?  Got any pipe dreams to share (yes, I'm speaking specifically about a trade for Donovan McNabb - that ain't happening, folks).  Have fun with this, and let's get brainstorming.  And no - future installments of this series won't be so painfully obvious.