The Buffalo Bills have remade their quarterback room heading into the 2018 NFL season. Gone is veteran Tyrod Taylor, as he was traded to the Cleveland Browns in the offseason. In his place, the team signed veteran A.J. McCarron and drafted rookie Josh Allen. However, one man remains at the QB position from the 2017 Bills: Nathan Peterman.
The fifth-round draft pick out of Pittsburgh played sparingly as a rookie, and the results were mixed. In 2018, he’ll be involved in one of the more interesting competitions on the Bills’ roster. In our latest installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we look at the man who brought Petermania to Western New York.
Name: Nathan Peterman
Height/Weight: 6’2,” 225 lbs.
Draft: Selected in the fifth round (171 overall) by the Buffalo Bills in 2017
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Peterman’s rookie contract will pay him $2,639,499 over the course of its four years. His cap number for 2018 is $614,874.
2017 Recap: Peterman appeared in 4 regular season games and 1 playoff game for the Bills, and the results were mixed. In his first outing in mop-up duty against the New Orleans Saints, he was outstanding, completing 7-of-10 passes for 79 yards and a touchdown when the game was already well out of hand (for comparison’s sake, starer Tyrod Taylor was miserable that afternoon, completing 9-of-18 passes for 56 yards and an interception). This led to head coach Sean McDermott’s decision to start Peterman the following week against the Los Angeles Chargers. Peterman turned in a historically bad performance, as he completed nearly as many passes to the Chargers (5) as he did to his own teammates (6) over one very, very bad first half. He appeared in another game two weeks later in relief of an injured Taylor, spelling the veteran in a 23-3 loss to the New England Patriots, before starting and performing quite well (5-of-10, 57 yards, 1 touchdown in white-out conditions) in the “snowvertime” game against the Indianapolis Colts. Peterman had to leave that game after sustaining a concussion in the third quarter. He did not appear in another game until spelling a concussed Taylor against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, where he threw a game-ending interception in the fourth quarter. Including playoffs, Peterman was 25-of-52 passing (48%), totaling 266 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions during his rookie season.
Positional outlook: While he still may be viewed as a solid long-term developmental player, it’s highly unlikely that the team views him as a long-term solution as a starting quarterback. After moving up in the draft to select Allen this season, he is the one that management sees as the future of the position. A.J. McCarron is a stable veteran presence who will almost certainly be the starter or the backup once the season begins.
2018 Offseason: Peterman has met with new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, and he said that the new OC is “extremely smart,” according to an article from the Bills’ official website. Other than that, little has been written about the second-year quarterback in terms of early work so far. Peterman’s progress will be worth watching.
2018 season outlook: The quarterback position in Buffalo is definitely an interesting one. While most presume that McCarron and Allen will battle for the top two spots on the depth chart, there is always an outside chance that Peterman impresses to the point where McCarron becomes expendable. It’s possible that Peterman’s ceiling this year is to be the backup on game days with Allen inactive as the third quarterback, essentially taking a “redshirt” year. It’s equally likely that Allen is the starter, McCarron the backup, and Peterman becomes the odd man out, however. Peterman could also come out and win the starting job, although I think that’s the least likely of all the scenarios here. In any case, it’s very likely that he ends up on the final roster. The real question is whether he’ll be active on game days.