Having recently signed a one-year contract to play in 2019, Derek Anderson has announced his retirement—bringing to an end his brief career in a Buffalo Bills’ uniform.
The Bills were able to plan for this possibility, though.
“Derek let me know a few weeks back that he wasn’t sure if he could be committed [for the season] and wanted to still think about it,” general manager Brandon Beane told BuffaloBills.com. “So I knew going into the draft that this was something that could potentially happen. But it wasn’t definite. We talked this week and he let me know today that he is going to retire.”
Buffalo made a push following the draft to add University at Buffalo quarterback Tyree Jackson as an undrafted free agent. Getting him officially under contact was the final straw, and with that done today Anderson announced his retirement.
With Josh Allen the unquestioned starter and Matt Barkley as the veteran backup, it likely would have meant a choice between the aging Anderson and the young Jackson. Anderson made the decision for them, it would seem.
Widely (inaccurately) panned by media pundits during the 2018 season as a desperation move, the team brought in Anderson following a Week 5 home win against the Tennessee Titans to help stabilize the quarterback room and provide Josh Allen with a peer mentor. With his years of experience in the league as both an on-again-off-again starter/back-up, Derek Anderson unselfishly helped guide Josh Allen through the second half of his rookie season. Allen seemed to play better and show progression as a professional quarterback once Anderson was with the team.
Allen was injured during the team’s Week 6 game against the Houston Texans. Most fans will remember Nathan Peterman entering that game and guiding the team to a go-ahead touchdown on a beautiful pass to Zay Jones during the early part of the fourth quarter. Peterman’s redemption wouldn’t last long, and his penchant for pick-sixes reared its head—and gave the Texans the win. With Peterman a clear consistent liability moving forward, it was time to turn things over to Derek Anderson.
Forced into action after only 15 days in a Bills’ uniform, Anderson’s first taste as a starter came in Week 7 against the Indianapolis Colts—a one-sided loss, Anderson got the start the following week against the New England Patriots. During the game’s final seconds, a questionable hit led to Anderson being diagnosed with a head injury that would take him nearly two months to clear the concussion protocol.
Anderson fully recovered in time for the end of the 2018 season, though his greatest contribution to the team never required him to suit up as a starter. It’s possible his mentorship is greatly missed in 2019, unless Matt Barkley is able to step into that same role as Josh Allen’s primary backup.