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Bills QB competition: EJ Manuel, Kevin Kolb, Tarvaris Jackson could all stick

Is the battle between Kevin Kolb and Tarvaris Jackson really an either/or proposition?


When the Buffalo Bills signed Kevin Kolb to pair with Tarvaris Jackson, giving the team two veteran quarterbacks, most assumed that one or the other - but not necessarily both - would make the final roster. That, of course, remains a possibility. With a first-round rookie now added to the mix, could all three stay on the final 53-man roster this fall? That was a question asked of me Tuesday night on Twitter.

Going back to head coach Doug Marrone's time as offensive coordinator with the New Orleans Saints, they employed just two quarterbacks in each season. They signed Drew Brees to be the starter and had Jamie Martin as the backup in 2006 and 2007 before replacing Martin with Mark Brunell in 2008. They didn't draft a developmental quarterback until after Marrone left to become the head coach at Syracuse.

Even so, with Jackson and Kolb under reasonable contracts, it's not out of the realm of possibility that Buffalo would keep both of them in addition to first rounder EJ Manuel. Jackson's contract is $2.25 million plus escalators, while Kolb's is $2.5 million in 2013. For comparison, Tyler Thigpen's cap hit was $2.5 million in 2011 and 2012.

The scenario that would most likely need to play out to keep all three on the roster would involve Kolb winning the starting job and Manuel's head swimming. With Kolb's injury history, they could keep Jackson as injury insurance because they don't want to throw too much at the rookie. If Manuel is ready to go from the beginning, it's more likely that Buffalo keeps Jeff Tuel as the third quarterback, either on the 53-man roster or the practice squad.

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