The Buffalo Bills are rumored to be making a big move at quarterback, with reports that the team may trade former first-round draft pick E.J. Manuel.
Manuel had a shaky first season with the Bills, showing flashes of strong play mixed in with inconsistency and frustrating injuries. He lasted just four games last season — going 2-2 — before the Bills pulled him in favor of Kyle Orton.
The Bills have now made major upgrades on offense in a push to make the playoffs, trading for running back LeSean McCoy and acquiring Percy Harvin.
The quarterback position is also getting crowded, with Manuel in what appears to be an open competition with veteran Matt Cassel and Tyrod Taylor.
Though many assumed Cassel would be the starter, some close to the team believe the Bills have other plans in mind.
“I wouldn’t rule it out,” writes Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News, “but I believe he was acquired mainly to provide the veteran backup quarterback the Bills lost when Kyle Orton suddenly retired the day after last season.”
But it may not be E.J. Manuel starting for the Bills. Sources close to the team said Tyrod Taylor, who hasn’t seen much playing time behind the sturdy Joe Flacco in Baltimore, is making a strong push for the job.
Bills coach Rex Ryan has been open about how much he likes Taylor.
“I actually tried to trade for him when I was with the Jets,” Ryan said, comparing Taylor’s game to Russell Wilson.
This had led to rumors that the Buffalo Bills may trade E.J. Manuel, and the Philadelphia Eagles have been identified as a potential partner.
“If the Bills end up dangling Manuel for a late-round pick in August, keep an eye on the Eagles as a potential trade partner. After recruiting Manuel at Oregon, Chip Kelly told NFL Network in the lead-up to the 2013 NFL Draft that the former Florida State star was a player he “didn’t get a chance to coach but would like a chance to coach.” Shortly thereafter, Manuel noted that the Eagles “want me pretty bad.” Manuel would make for an interesting reclamation project under Kelly’s tutelage if he ultimately flames out in Buffalo.”
The latest Buffalo Bills rumors don’t sound too far-fetched. Rex Ryan has already shown he’s not afraid to make big moves, including trading the promising and fan-favorite Kiko Alonso. If Rex believes E.J. no longer fits into the team’s long-term plans, he may have no problem unloading him as well.
[Image via Getty Images/Vaughn Ridley]