When the 2016 NFL season came to a close, the Buffalo Bills had some decisions to make regarding their quarterbacks. Tyrod Taylor was retained on a renegotiated contract, but backup EJ Manuel was allowed to depart via free agency. To replace him, the team signed veteran T.J. Yates.
A solid backup quarterback is someone who should be able to step in and win a game or two, but if asked to carry a load heavier than that, will probably fail. Yates has proven to be capable of just that over his six-year NFL career.
Name: T.J. Yates
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 217 pounds
Experience: 6 years
College: North Carolina
Draft: 2011 Round 5 (152 overall), Houston Texans
Financial Situation (per Spotrac): 1 year, $815,000
2016 Recap: Yates was a member of the Miami Dolphins in 2016, and he did not see any time in the regular season. Yates appeared briefly in the Dolphins’ wild card loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers when starter Matt Moore (who was already replacing the injured Ryan Tannehill) left for a play after he was absolutely demolished by Bud Dupree. Yates has appeared in 18 regular season games (7 starts with a 4-3 record) in his career, completing 58% of his passes for 1,534 yards, six touchdowns, and eight interceptions.
Positional Outlook: He will compete with Cardale Jones and Nathan Peterman for the backup job. Tyrod Taylor is firmly entrenched as the team’s starter for 2017.
2017 Offseason: Yates has the upper-hand thus far in the backup competition, according to reports. It’s likely that he will be the backup, with either Peterman or Jones being released. Most likely, Jones is the odd man out.
2017 Season Outlook: If he has to start multiple games, it could be a very bad year for the Bills. If he can help Peterman along in his development while providing a strong sounding board for Taylor, he will have done his job well.