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Buffalo Bills have two big questions at QB entering training camp

Our pre-training camp State of the Bills Roster series concludes with a quick overview of the team's new-look quarterback position.


There may not have been enough cathartic upheaval for some Buffalo Bills fans in the team's front office this off-season, but that argument cannot be applied to the team's quarterback situation. Buffalo used their first pick on a quarterback in the NFL Draft for the first time in franchise history in April. None of the three signal callers currently on the roster were with the Bills last season.

It may take a while, however, to know if the total changeover is going to pay dividends. Two of the three quarterbacks are rookies - one of them the hand-picked franchise guy - and the third is an oft-injured veteran that will serve either as a seasoned backup or a "bridge" quarterback between the present and the future. Despite the upheaval, however, there aren't too many story lines to chart at this position heading into training camp.

E.J. Manuel

  • Age: 23
  • Contract: Signed through the 2016 season, with 2017 being a club option year. The first four years of the deal will pay $8.89 million, fully guaranteed. He's already been paid a $4.8 million signing bonus. Will make $405,000 in base salary in 2013.

Manuel managed to stay largely under the radar in the pre-draft process thanks chiefly to the link between Bills head coach Doug Marrone, offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and quarterback Ryan Nassib (now of the New York Giants). His name picked up steam the day before the draft, and then the Bills made him a historic figure in franchise history by taking him with the No. 16 overall pick. The Bills have talked up his combination of immense physical talent and top-notch intangibles for months, and there's little question that the team and its fans would like to see him in the lineup as soon as possible. There is evidence, however, that the Bills may be willing to wait a bit to slide Manuel into the starting lineup, and there's a worthwhile veteran in his way if he wants to start in Week 1.

Kevin Kolb

  • Age: 28 (29 in August)
  • Contract: Signed through the 2014 season. Will make $1.65 million in base salary in 2013.

Released by Arizona in March after appearing in just 15 games in two years out west, the Bills snatched Kolb up on a two-year deal following their own release of Ryan Fitzpatrick. Now 28, Kolb will serve as the veteran counterpart to two rookie quarterbacks - the same role the Bills wanted Fitzpatrick to fill when they were trying to re-negotiate his deal this spring - and might even keep Manuel out of the starting gig for a little while. Kolb is a strong fit for the Bills' West Coast themed offensive system, which could allow him to slide in and play competitive ball from the get-go if he's the starter come Week 1.

Jeff Tuel

  • Age: 22
  • Contract: Signed through the 2015 season. Scheduled to make $405,000 in base salary in 2013.

Tuel signed on as the team's fourth quarterback as an undrafted free agent out of Washington State, but quickly became the No. 3 guy when the Bills released Tarvaris Jackson in early June. A solid athlete with some talent to work with, Tuel will try to show enough this summer to stick on the active roster. Absent that, he could be cut and stashed on the practice squad.


There are essentially only two questions to ponder about this position: which quarterback will start, and how many will Marrone and Hackett keep on the final roster? It'll come down to Kolb and Manuel for the starting job on opening day. If the Bills don't want to keep Tuel on the active roster, he'll be a very strong bet for the practice squad. Despite an entirely new situation at this position with three brand new faces, the story lines here are pretty straightforward.

Your task for this morning, then, is to answer those two questions. Who starts: Manuel or Kolb? Will the Bills keep two quarterbacks or three? Go.