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Your 2017 Bills starting QB: Mike Glennon

Oh, the things you get when you pay for ESPN Insider.

I’m not a big fan of Tyrod Taylor.

I don’t think he’s a good quarterback, I don’t think he gives his receivers (good or bad) a chance to make plays, and I don’t see him quarterbacking the Bills in a playoff game.

That said, if there’s one argument I’m willing to buy from the “the Bills need to keep Tyrod around” crowd, it’s the lack of viable replacement options.

ESPN’s John Clayton (ever the insightful Bills analyst) recently ran an ESPN Insider piece looking at possible starting quarterbacks in 2017, and seemingly backed up that position by projecting the 2017 Bills starting quarterback to be...

...Mike Glennon.


Glennon, 27, is slated to be one of the top names on a very light free-agency class at the quarterback position (assuming Kirk Cousins remains in Washington). He started 18 games over his first two seasons in Tampa, going 5-13 with some Bucs teams that had plenty of issues on both sides of the ball.

Despite earning rave reviews, none of the QB-needy teams were willing to deal with Tampa, and they’ve kept him stuck behind former first overall pick Jameis Winston for the last two seasons. The only action he’s seen since 2014 was a drive at the end of a blowout loss to Atlanta, where he completed 10-of-11 passes for 75 yards and a touchdown to cap off a woeful 43-28 performance. He also handed off three times on the final drive of their next game, a 36-10 win over the hapless Chicago Bears.

Clayton is all over the place on his piece. He mentions the fact that the Bills seem unlikely to pick up the remainder of Taylor’s deal before bringing up Glennon for seemingly no other reason than his pending free-agent status. He follows that by naming the Bills as a possible suitor for Colin Kaepernick (because that’s exactly what the Bills would need after letting Tyrod go) before undercutting both of those by saying that he thinks the Bills are going to draft a quarterback in the first round.

For what it’s worth, Clayton has Taylor jumping to San Francisco to replace Kaepernick if he does leave town. Of course, Clayton immediately follows that prospect with the idea of bringing in former Chip Kelly protégé Nick Foles as well.

Allow me to be the first to break it to you: Mike Glennon isn’t going to be the Bills’ presumptive 2017 starting quarterback. It’s entirely possible that they sign him as a backup, although there should be several teams interested in signing him that would be better fits (Chicago and San Francisco come to mind).

Now, if the Bills change coaches, and bring in someone who wants to run a common passing offense (which is not a point in Clayton’s argument), Glennon becomes more viable as an option for the Bills. It’s not a stretch to think that Kyle Shanahan could see Glennon as a low-rent Matt Ryan while trying to re-create the offense that has his name near the top of the “must-hire” list.

Still, given where things stand right now, it’s hard to see Glennon coming in to run the offense the Bills have in place. Glennon has 37 career rushes for 86 yards (none since 2014) and has fumbled nine times compared to Taylor’s 13 fumbles on 187 rushing attempts in Buffalo. He’s also roughly the same weight as Taylor despite being about half a foot taller than him. What I’m trying to say is that he’s not a threat as a runner, and as long as Anthony Lynn has a say in the offense that’s a non-starter.

If things change, though? Who knows. The Bills could draft a quarterback early, or late, or they could trade for somebody. It sounds comical now, but so did the thought of Tyrod being named the starter after the Bills signed him before last season.

The picture should clear up a bit in February, when we know who the coach is and whether the offense is staying in place. At this point, though, it’d be a stretch to see Glennon ever starting in Buffalo.