In my last post, I went over five offensive tackles that the Buffalo Bills should go after once free agency begins. Now, it’s time to take a look at some quarterbacks that Bills General Manager Buddy Nix could take a look at this off-season.Keep in mind that Ryan Fitzpatrick has a firm grasp on the starting job under center, and these players would serve as backups, while competing with Brian Brohm and Levi Brown for the No. 2 and No. 3 spots on the depth chart. Fitzpatrick was a leader on the Bills offense, and made every game entertaining, no matter the outcome, passing for 3,000 yards along with 23 touchdowns, despite starting just 14 games.
Matt Moore- Carolina Panthers
When Jake Delhomme left the Carolina Panthers, Matt Moore was envisioned as their quarterback of the future. However, when the Panthers drafted Jimmy Clausen in the 2010 NFL Draft, there became a bit of a quarterback controversy.
The 26-year-old out of Oregon State had a shaky 2010 campaign, completing 79 of 143 passes for 875 yards, while throwing five touchdowns to 10 interceptions. With No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton now seemingly holding the reigns to the Panthers’ offense, Moore could be had for a low price and could be a serviceable backup in the event Ryan Fitzpatrick goes down.
Tyler Thigpen- Miami Dolphins
Tyler Thigpen has appeared in just 22 games throughout his career, with 14 coming in 2008 during his time with the Kansas City Chiefs while Buffalo Bills head coach, Chan Gailey, was the offensive coordinator.
In that year, Thigpen completed 230 of 420 passes, throwing for 2,608 yards, tossing 18 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, while adding another 386 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. He is familiar with the way coach Gailey operates his offense, and can make plays with his feet when he needs to.
Coach Gailey would likely be comfortable with a backup that he has had the experience of personally working with, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him holding a clipboard on the Bills’ sideline in 2011.
Troy Smith- San Francisco 49ers
Troy Smith would be an interesting option for the Buffalo Bills. He has a lot of upside, a strong arm and great leadership skills.
In his 20 career games for the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers, Smith passed for 1,734 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions, while completing 121 of his 234 pass attempts. Smith has the ability to elongate plays with his feet, as displayed by his 52 rush attempts for 230 yards and three touchdowns. He has a strong arm, and can make throws on the run.
Vince Young- Tennessee Titans
While there is no question about Vince Young’s ability to play as a starting quarterback in the National Football League, there are questions about his mental makeup, and whether he has the right mindset to lead a team.
The Tennessee Titans have already stated that they plan to part ways with Young, whether via trade or release, and the Bills would be a solid landing spot for the troubled quarterback.
Coach Gailey has always liked mobile quarterbacks, and Young fits the bill. Last year Young was limited in his playing time, being shuffled around with Kerry Collins and Rusty Smith, but completed 93 of his 156 pass attempts for 1,255 yards. He also threw for 10 touchdowns and just three interceptions.
In his five years in the NFL, Young has passed for 8,098 yards, with an even 42:42 touchdown-interception ratio. Young could be a good fit in Buffalo if he will accept a role as a backup and compete, something he hasn’t done well in the past.