The NFL has seen an extraordinary amount of quarterbacks change teams this offseason, from marquee names to depth options. Of course the Buffalo Bills found themselves invested in the QB market after losing both Mitch Trubisky and Davis Webb. Following the departure of the team’s entire depth at the position, the Bills sent a 2022 seventh-round draft pick to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for Case Keenum.
Keenum has been a journeyman in the NFL playing for several teams. While with the Minnesota Vikings in 2017, Keenum found some success after taking over for an injured Sam Bradford, and he QB’d the team to a playoff victory over the New Orleans Saints that season. You may recall Stefon Diggs catching Keenum’s pass and going 61 yards for the walk-off win, dubbed the “Minneapolis Miracle.” With that playoff experience in mind as a backup called to duty during the season, we reached out to Christopher Gates over at the Daily Norseman to get a scouting report on the new Bills quarterback.
1) What did Case Keenum bring to the Vikings?
Case Keenum brought, at least for one season, an ability to make plays on the move for the Minnesota offense and extend things to create “off schedule” opportunities for the Minnesota offense. He wasn’t expected to do much when the Vikings signed him as Sam Bradford was locked in as the starter. However, after Sam Bradford got hurt because. . .well, because he’s Sam Bradford. . .Keenum stepped in and took the Vikings on an absolutely wild ride to the 2017 NFC Championship Game. He had a lot of things go right for him that season and hasn’t really been able to recapture the magic since, but he does have the ability to bring that sort of ability in short spurts if called upon.
2) Do you think his skillset will transfer well in Buffalo?
Well, he’s no Josh Allen or anything, but nobody is. He does have the mobility that I mentioned that will help him significantly, but I don’t know if he has the arm strength to deal with the elements in Buffalo when the winds start to get going. He’ll give it his best effort, but at this point of his career Keenum’s arm is what it is and in an offense that’s built around Allen’s significant talents, I don’t know how things are going to translate if Keenum has to play for a significant length of time.
3) Are there areas where you think the Vikings didn’t use Keenum well?
I think Keenum was in a very good situation in Minnesota. Again, not much was expected of him as he was slated to be the backup, and when he was called upon he was surrounded by a lot of talent, much like he will be in Buffalo. I don’t know if anything about his situation in Minnesota would have fallen under the heading of the team not using him well. . .he had a role to play and he did a very good job of it for the majority of that season.
4) What would you consider Keenum’s biggest weakness?
Again, I think it’s probably his arm strength. He has the mobility to extend plays and doesn’t get panicked when he’s under pressure. He has decent accuracy as well, but he’s never really had a terribly strong arm to begin with and now that he’s in his eleventh NFL season I can’t see that being something that changes a whole lot.
5) Overall thoughts on the Bills’ move to bring in Keenum?
I think that, as far as reliable backup quarterbacks go, getting Keenum for a seventh-round pick was a steal. Keenum is definitely a top-notch backup and has the ability to play well for short periods of time, and perhaps could even recapture the magic he had for most of 2017. I’m not sure how much it would have cost the Bills to sign him in free agency had the Browns cut him after the Deshaun Watson trade, but being able to flip a seventh-round pick for a top-notch backup quarterback is a heck of a deal in my book.