By Matt Elder
What a difference a week makes, this time last week Bills fans were arguing over which was more important taking a QB with our first overall pick or how to get rid of a front office that seemed willing to sit back and do absolutely nothing in Free Agency. Well fast forward seven days and the Bills have not only changed the discussion but they’ve also begun to change some minds.
Let’s start off with the news I liked the least to come from last week, veteran RB Tashard Choice has been re-signed. For the record I don’t have any issue with Choice, its just that I don’t think he’s the power back we really need to balance Spiller and Jackson. Also I can’t get over the residual issues I have left from when Chan Gailey kept pulling Spiller for him. I hope Marrone doesn’t make the same mistake and I hope they find a power back somewhere (UDFA likely).
Now on to the big news and that’s the Bills surprise signing of Kevin Kolb. We first learned of the Bills interest in Kolb after they had him in for a workout the same day Redskins TE Fred Davis was visiting. Fred Davis opted to return to Washington while Kolb was intrigued enough by the prospect of an open QB battle to sign an incentive laden two year deal. Kolb’s two year deal maxes out at 12-13 million dollars meaning at worst he’s making 6-6.5 million a year and based on the heavy incentives we’ve heard about thus far I’d be willing to wager the base number is far lower.
With Kevin Kolb signing the Bills now have three QB’s on the roster (Kolb, Tavaris Jackson, and Aaron ‘Not Andy’ Corp) with the draft coming later this month. The common thought among fans was that the Bills must take a QB at #8 overall, however with two veteran QB’s with starting experience that narrative has quieted down some. Now some are saying maybe wait to the 2nd Round for prospects such as EJ Manuel, Ryan Nassib, or maybe even Round 3 and look for a guy like Tyler Bray or Zac Dysert. So what does the Kolb signing truly mean about the Bills draft intention?
Well nothing really, the Bills are still going to take a QB in April and they are still going to take one when they feel like it. What the Bills have done is borrowed from the successful way the Dolphins built their QB system last year. The Dolphins had two lower priced veteran QB’s with starting experience in camp along with their draft pick to compete in a truly open competition. This allowed the Dolphins the luxury of not having to force Tannehill into action early, and if Moore or Garrard had started and showed that they had some ability then maybe they become a tradable commodity.
Both Tavaris Jackson and Kevin Kolb are locker room guys, both have starting experience, and both appear to be ready to lead this team any way they can. Their presence does not mean the Bills won’t take Geno Smith at 8 if he’s there. Their presence rather states that the Bills just want to be fully prepared for once.
The Bills have scheduled work outs with seven QB’s now in Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, Tyler Bray, Landry Jones, EJ Manuel, Matt Scott, and Jeff Tuel. Obviously the two biggest names missing are Ryan Nassib and Tyler Wilson though I wouldn’t read too much into Nassib not being on the list. I do think the presence of more Day 2 and Day 3 talent speaks volumes about the Bills intentions. My personal preference remains to go OL and DL with the first two picks and add a QB in Round 3. My target would be Tyler Bray.
The Bills will work out Barkley later this week and then should move on to formal visits at OBD with prospects. Last year the Bills published all 30 visitors but look for our tracker to get rolling later on today.
Also this week we’ll see the Bills host CB Mike Jenkins from the Dallas Cowboys. The Free Agent CB is coming off shoulder surgery last year but could be of use to the Bills who are severely depleted at the CB position. The biggest issue with Jenkins is where to play him, he’s got straight line speed but questionable lateral agility and he doesn’t flip his hips well enough to play outside. With the Bills move to a multiple DB system adding more CB’s makes a lot of sense.