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Backup quarterback options for the Buffalo Bills

Who could the Bills turn to in a nightmare scenario?

Denver Broncos v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Loren Elliott/Getty Images

Everyone knows that as long as Josh Allen is able to walk and throw a football that he will be the starting quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. If he’s only able to run the ball then there is still a solid chance that he would be under center. However, if there was a period of time where Allen would be unable to take the field, then there would be a lot of uncertainty among Bills Mafia.

The other two quarterbacks currently on the roster are Kyle Allen and Matt Barkley — who haven’t looked consistently impressive thus far in the preseason. Looking at last Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers only makes matters worse for both quarterbacks. Barkley handled the snaps with the second team but threw three interceptions and had a fumble. Meanwhile, Kyle Allen looked a little better but was playing with and against third-string players. When Allen played against second-string players versus the Colts, he was only 8-of-15 with a pick-six. The Bills may need to consider options outside their current roster. But at such a late stage, what are their options?

One of the first names that comes to mind is San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance. After being the third overall pick a couple seasons ago, Lance finds himself third on the depth chart due to injuries and never seeming to find the rhythm that made him such a talented prospect. He showed some potential in the preseason game against the Denver Broncos Saturday, leading a game-winning touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. We must remember though that this was against other third-string players. Lance has been given very little opportunity in the NFL, and there’s very little mileage on his arm dating back to high school — as in 591 total attempts. In comparison, Josh Allen had 567 attempts in 16 games last season. But the Niners are likely to want a king’s ransom in any trade for Lance, given what they invested to bring him on board initially.

Sticking with other quarterbacks on their rookie deals who seemed to fall out of favor with their current team we have Malik Willis with the Tennessee Titans. Willis was a prospect with a high ceiling but who perhaps needs a couple years to develop after being a third-round pick out of Liberty last season. The Titans didn’t seem content with waiting however, with the team selecting Will Levis in the second round of this year’s draft. Willis started a game last year for Tennessee against the Kansas City Chiefs but only completed five passes and the team only trusted him to throw the ball 16 times. For context, the weather was fine in Kansas City that night as Patrick Mahomes threw the ball 68 times. Willis definitely needs a lot of work still, but he has the dual threat capabilities that fans love.

Perhaps Buffalo would choose to go to the free-agent pool with a couple of veteran quarterbacks still available. There is Carson Wentz who has turned into a journeyman after an injury and more ended his time with the Philadelphia Eagles. The quarterback that took his spot when Wentz got injured, Nick Foles, is also a free agent. Foles does have Super Bowl-winning experience but hasn’t looked like the same guy after leaving the Eagles. Other veteran options on the market would be Matt Ryan who last played for the Indianapolis Colts last season, and Joe Flacco who was on the New York Jets last season.

The options here run the gamut from long-term project to long past their prime. Do any of them interest you enough for the Bills to consider over their current options behind Josh Allen?