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Injury analysis: Buffalo Bills QB Case Keenum

Are there any injury concerns for the new backup quarterback?

NFL: Denver Broncos at Cleveland Browns Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills finally addressed their backup quarterback position Saturday, sending a 2022 seventh-round pick to the Cleveland Browns for QB Case Keenum. The well-traveled quarterback has primarily been a backup at most of his stops around the league but has had extensive starting experience with the Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos.

Appearing in 76 games since entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2012, Keenum brings a level of knowledge and ability to step in at a moment’s notice. Below is Case Keenum’s publicly known injury history.

Injury History

2012 Houston Texans

Spent the season on the practice squad after being signed following the 2012 NFL Draft.

2013 Texans

Appeared in eight games, missed two games. Suffered a shoulder injury, side not specified, in Week 14, was probable for the following week. In Week 15, Keenum suffered a right thumb injury in the loss to the Indianapolis Colts. The thumb injury resulted in a torn ligament according to reports and forced him to miss Weeks 16 and 17, ending his season.

It’s not clear what ligament he damaged, but he is right-handed as seen in the picture above. This suggests that he suffered an injury to the UCL on the thumb, which would prevent him from effectively gripping a football. However, there are no reports that he required surgery after the season.

2014 St. Louis Rams/Texans

Appeared in two games. Spent time with the Texans before being waived at the end of training camp, was picked up by St. Louis. He was on the active roster and then practice squad. He later re-signed with the Texans at the end of the season. No publicly reported injuries requiring a game-day designation.

2015 St. Louis Rams

Appeared in six games, missed two games. Keenum suffered a concussion against the Baltimore Ravens following a passing play where he was slammed to the ground in Week 11 that forced him to miss the following two games.

Despite grabbing his head, looking woozy, and struggling to get to all fours, he never left the game and there were questions why he was allowed to continue playing when the rules stated that a player is removed if they exhibit any concussion-like symptoms or if a hit showed potential for a concussion. This led to an investigation by the NFL Players Association, but the Rams were not fined for not pulling him from the game.

2016 Los Angeles Rams

Appeared in ten games, missed zero games. No publicly reported injuries requiring a game-day designation.

2017 Minnesota Vikings

Appeared in 15 regular-season games, two playoff games. After taking over for Sam Bradford who suffered a knee injury in Week 1 that was reported as a bone bruise along with wear and tear from previous knee surgeries, Keenum started the remaining 15 games of the season. He brought the Vikings all the way to the NFC Championship game where they lost to the Philadelphia Eagles 38-7.

During the entire season, Keenum did not have any publicly reported injuries requiring a game-day designation.

2018 Denver Broncos

Appeared in 16 games. Keenum signed with Denver in the offseason as a free agent and started the entire season. No publicly reported injuries requiring a game-day designation.

2019 Washington

Appeared in ten games, missed two games. Keenum was traded to Washington with a seventh-round pick for a sixth-round pick. He suffered a right foot injury in Week 3 against the Chicago Bears and attempted to play through the injury in Week 4 against the New York Giants before getting benched.

He was later seen in a walking boot at practice before missing the Week 5 matchup against the New England Patriots.

Keenum later suffered a concussion in Week 8 against the Minnesota Vikings, forcing him out of the following game.

2020 Cleveland Browns

Appeared in two games. No publicly reported injuries requiring a game-day designation.

2021 Browns

Appeared in seven games. No publicly reported injuries requiring a game-day designation.

Buffalo Bills Impact

While there may have been higher-end options on the market to act as the backup quarterback, this isn’t a position the Bills should heavily invest in financially. They need a capable backup who knows the offense and can start for several games if Josh Allen goes down for any length of time.

Injury-wise, there isn’t much that concerns me. He has had two concussions, a right thumb injury, and a foot injury over his career—none that should carry over in the event of a spot start.

I do like this signing as Keenum has proven he can win and play effectively when called upon. He also understands his role as the backup quarterback and ideally will not ever see the field unless in garbage-time wins or meaningless games during the 2022 season.