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Buffalo Bills sign QB Mitchell Trubisky

There’s a new (backup) sheriff in town.

The Buffalo Bills, aiming for an NFL championship, are checking every box on their roster, and that includes backup quarterback. With Matt Barkley, the team’s previous backup quarterback, set to be a free agent, they’ve signed former Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to a one-year contract. The team made the announcement on Thursday afternoon, delaying their 2 p.m. EDT press conference by an hour.

UPDATE: The single year is for $2.5 million. The exact breakdown is still not known at this time.

Trubisky, the second overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, didn’t develop into a franchise quarterback for the Bears. He was selected to the 2018 Pro Bowl as the Bears won 12 games in Matt Nagy’s inaugural season, but regressed in subsequent seasons. The Bears’ QB job eventually gave way to a timeshare between Trubisky and Nick Foles. (Nagy, it should be noted, coached with Bills head coach Sean McDermott when the pair were on the Philadelphia Eagles staff of Andy Reid.)

So Trubisky didn’t work out as a long-term starter. But it’s fair to say he’s much more talented than Barkley. With 64 touchdowns to 37 interceptions and a 64 percent completion rate, he’s played above the quarterback “Mendoza line” for his whole career. He’s athletic enough to play the scramble drill, and he has enough arm talent to hit many of the same windows as Josh Allen.

With Allen, the Bills think they have a potential MVP on the roster. But if he sprains an ankle or takes a shot to the ribs, they needed a player who could start in his absence and lead the team to wins. Trubisky was one of the few free agents on the market who could qualify, and now he’s in Buffalo.

As part of the delayed press conference, general manager Brandon Beane says he took the time to call Matt Barkley and let him know before he found out in the media.