With the legal tampering portion of NFL free agency set to begin, fans of the Buffalo Bills should get a better idea of what the team plans to do at quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft. With the trade of Tyrod Taylor, the team is left with Nathan Peterman as the only quarterback on the roster. The Bills are expected to take a quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft, but how early and how aggressively may likely be determined by the free agent moves made this week. Right now there are two likely scenarios for what the Bills may do at quarterback in free agency.
Bills sign a high profile quarterback
The first scenario has the Bills signing one of the higher profile free agent quarterbacks. With most believing Kirk Cousins isn’t on the list, popular names in this discussion include Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater, Case Keenum, and A.J. McCarron. In a recent Twitter poll, it was Bridgewater leading the pack of players Bills fans want in uniform with over 51% of the votes from Bills fans - compared to 20% for Bradford, 18% for Keenum, and 11% for McCarron.
Signing any of these quarterbacks would require a sizeable investment, with a per year average in excess of $10 million. If the Bills make this type of commitment, I would question if they are truly “all in” to trade up into the top 5 picks to get a quarterback. The contract for the free agent quarterback would hinder them from signing other free agents, and they would have to trade a large number of picks to get towards the top of the draft.
Should the Bills sign one of the higher profile free agent quarterbacks, I would expect the team to stay put in the first round. This would likely allow them to select Lamar Jackson or Mason Rudolph - two players that have been linked to the Bills in recent weeks. I could also see the Bills trading up a few spots in the first round to get a quarterback, but nothing close to the extent of what it would take to get to the top of the first round.
Bills sign a journeyman free agent
Another option that has been discussed as of late has the Bills signing a journeyman free agent at quarterback. Players that fall into this category include Josh McCown, Matt Moore, and Derek Anderson. Obviously McCown has been the most successful as of late, having a bit of a career resurgence with the New York Jets last season. With that being said, these options would specifically be brought in to mentor a young quarterback, while possibly starting a few games until a rookie quarterback is ready.
Should the Bills sign one of these free agents, it would seem like a clear indication that the team will be trading into the top 10 of the draft. With the draft capital that Brandon Beane has acquired, the team does have the assets to make an attractive offer to get a top selection for their quarterback. Whether the team covets Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield or Josh Rosen remains to be seen, but a major trade could happen if the Bills make a minimal acquisition during free agency.
While there is still plenty of speculation around what the Bills could do in free agency, it will be interesting to see how the next few days play out for the team.