The offseason is, unfortunately, upon us, and the Buffalo Bills are about to undergo plenty of change. The team has already lost its offensive coordinator, as Brian Daboll took the Thruway to Route 17 (with a few more turns in there to boot) in moving from Orchard Park, NY to East Rutherford, NJ as the head coach of the New York Giants.
Another position sure to see some change is the quarterback position. This sentence is one Bills’ fans became accustomed to reading for a good 20 years, but I promise that it has a far different meaning than it did back then. The Bills are all set at the top, but it’s the depth pieces that are probably going to shuffle. In fact, they already did when Jake Fromm was plucked off Buffalo’s practice squad in the middle of the 2021 season, taking away a potential backup option in 2022 and beyond.
Our first stop on our look at the state of the Bills roster is in the quarterback room.
Contract status for 2021: Signed; under contract through 2028 season ($16,372,281 cap hit, 7.78% of total salary cap)
Age: 25 (26 on 5/21/2022)
Playing time: 17 games (17 starts), 1,161 snaps (96.91% of team offensive total)
Key statistics: 409/646 (63.3%), 4,407 yards, 36 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 92.2 quarterback rating, 60.6 QBR, 122 carries, 763 yards, 6 touchdowns
Midseason lull aside, there really wasn’t much that Allen didn’t do this year. He showed that he could be patient and methodically pick defenses apart when they played two-high safety looks against him. He proved that even when a team spies him, he could still run for big gains, as his 726 rushing yards set a career-high mark. He proved that he could still make superhuman plays—see his Week 5 hurdle of L’Jarious Sneed or basically everything he did in the fourth quarter of Buffalo’s playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs—while giving the Bills a chance to win each and every week. It wasn’t perfect, but it was damn close, and as long as Allen is healthy and wearing a Buffalo uniform, the Bills are a championship contender. After 20 long years in the wilderness at quarterback, the Bills have their man for the foreseeable future, as Allen is under contract through his age-32 season.
Contract status for 2021: Unsigned; UFA
Age: 27 (28 on 8/20/2022)
Playing time: 6 games, 33 snaps (2.75% of team offensive total)
Key statistics: 6/8 (75%), 43 yards, 1 interception, 13 carries, 24 yards, 1 touchdown
Trubisky signed a one-year deal last year to back up Allen, and while he definitely has the athleticism to have run Buffalo’s offense much closer to Allen than previous backup Matt Barkley, there really aren’t too many people who can even come close to doing what Allen does on a field. It’s a good thing for the Bills that they never had to break the glass to deploy Trubisky in an emergency situation, instead giving him 33 snaps in mop-up duty throughout the year. It’s a near certainty that Trubisky will be elsewhere next year, whether he follows Brian Daboll to New Jersey to join the New York Giants or goes somewhere with a quarterback opening (the Pittsburgh Steelers make a lot of sense) to compete for a starting gig. I’d be stunned if Trubisky were back in the same role next year.
Contract status for 2021: Unsigned; UFA
Age: 27 (28 on 1/22/2023)
Playing time: 1 game, 4 snaps (.33% of team offensive total)
Key statistics: N/A
Webb made his NFL debut this past season, playing the final four snaps of Buffalo’s 45-17 victory over the New York Jets in Week 10. He did not register any statistics in that contest, handing it off to Zack Moss twice before kneeling on consecutive plays to bleed the clock. Webb may or may not be done with his playing days, but he certainly has a future in coaching, as his presence has been a consistent point of praise from all members of the organization, including his teammate Allen.
Buffalo has a top-five, maybe top-three, probably even top-two quarterback in Allen, who played one of the best postseasons in the history of football in a losing effort this year. They don’t need to go crazy in adding backups, but it’s likely that they’re going to add one, if not two quarterbacks at the very least this offseason. I think the team will look to retain Webb, though they didn’t sign him to a reserve/future contract, which could indicate a change in direction moving forward. They could also have a handshake agreement in place for Webb to stick around, though I wouldn’t rule out a different handshake agreement, like Webb following Daboll to the Giants to help Daniel Jones learn a new system, either. Trubisky is as good as gone, so the team will probably try to add a free agent and a young player, either via the draft or an undrafted free agent, to round out the group for the offseason.
Buffalo could go in multiple directions that would make sense with the backup spot. This isn’t an endorsement of any of these players, but I could see them going to the veteran with familiarity to head coach Sean McDermott (Cam Newton), a veteran with an affinity for the area (Andy Dalton), a young player trying to re-establish himself as a starter a la Trubisky (Marcus Mariota), or even an old friend (Matt Barkley).
If the biggest question in the quarterback room centers on who the guy holding the clipboard is on game day, then your franchise is in good shape at the game’s most important position. The Bills are in excellent shape at quarterback for years to come.