The Bills clearly are not happy with what they have seen from their backup quarterbacks, and many would say that they can’t be too thrilled with the development of second-year starter EJ Manuel, either. So Buffalo’s imminent signing of Kyle Orton should go along way toward shoring up the team’s depth at that vital position, and if Manuel continues to struggle, it may even signal an eventual changing of the guard.
The #Bills have agreed to a one-year contract with veteran QB Kyle Orton, according to a source. Orton will backup EJ Manuel.
— James Walker (@JamesWalkerNFL) August 30, 2014
Orton had been on the Cowboys’ roster, and seen as a valuable backup by them, until July, when he was cut. The veteran quarterback, for undisclosed reasons, had made clear his dissatisfaction with being in Dallas by avoiding all of the team’s offseason activities and threatening retirement.
Kyle Orton and his wife sold their place in Dallas not long after the 2013 season ended. A pretty clear indication he wanted out from get-go
— Brandon George (@DMN_George) August 30, 2014
Apparently, Orton just wanted out of Dallas, and not the NFL altogether. Perhaps that’s because he sees a better chance of unseating Manuel for a starting job than Tony Romo. Manuel struggled in preseason action, averaging just 6.3 yards on 82 attempts for one touchdown, two interceptions and a 73.1 passer rating. During an injury-marred rookie season, Manuel averaged 6.4 yards per attempt for 11 touchdowns, nine picks and a 77.7 rating. He does bring rushing ability to the table, something Orton lacks.
At the very least, the 31-year-old Orton, who will be on his fifth team, brings some stability to Buffalo’s quarterback position. The team had released Thad Lewis and Jordan Palmer in recent days, and was carrying just Manuel and fellow second-year prospect Jeff Tuel on its roster. The Bills’ brain trust is likely feeling some pressure to make the playoffs this season, especially after trading next year’s first-round draft pick in order to land wide receiver Sammy Watkins in this year’s draft, so Manuel may be on a short leash.