Orchard Park, N.Y. — There was a point when Cardale Jones represented some semblance of hope at the quarterback position for the Buffalo Bills.
That tends to happen with unknown commodities, which Jones certainly was coming out of Ohio State. He won a national championship one season and was benched the next before the Bills and former general manager Doug Whaley took a chance on him in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Buffalo Bills trade Cardale Jones to Chargers for a third-round pick
Then he spent the whole season stuck behind both Tyrod Taylor and E.J. Manuel, seeing the field only in Week 17 against the Jets when the season was already lost. Since then, interim coach Anthony Lynn moved on and Whaley was fired. Sean McDermott took over as head coach and drafted Nathan Peterman in the fifth round, creating a log jam at the position. Brandon Beane was hired to replace Whaley after the draft, and both he and McDermott have not hesitated to make this roster their own. That means parting ways with Whaley picks, of which there are fewer and fewer hanging around One Bills Drive.
That all brings us to Wednesday night, the day before the Bills begin training camp practice. The team announced it traded Jones to the Chargers for a conditional late-round pick, which is reportedly a seventh-round pick. Essentially, the Bills got next to nothing for Jones, who attempted a grand total of 11 passes in a Bills uniform.
Here are a few thoughts on the move and a grade for the trade.
Clearing reps for Nathan Peterman
McDermott and Beane weren’t tied to Jones, but they are invested in Peterman, who is viewed as a better fit for Rick Dennison’s west-coast offense. Jones was a distant fourth on the team’s depth chart during the team, so it makes sense to move on from him if he wasn’t in the long-term plans. The Bills will now have a chance to give Peterman more meaningful reps in camp.
Faith in T.J Yates
Unless the Bills are hoping Peterman can win the No. 2 quarterback job, they are putting their faith in T.J. Yates to be the backup. Yates has experience in Dennison’s scheme, and that made him the clear No. 2 during the spring. However, he doesn’t exactly inspire a ton of confidence if Taylor goes down. Then again, neither did Jones.
Good move for Jones
This move is a positive one for Jones. He gets to reunite with Lynn and essentially pick up his development where it left off at the end of last season in a similar offense. He also has a clear path to the backup job in Los Angeles, where only Kellen Clemmens stands in his way. Last season, Lynn said Jones is “the type of quarterback you want waiting on the runway,” so the fact that he thought highly enough to bring him to Los Angeles should provide hope that Jones isn’t a lost cause.
The Bills get a solid ‘B’ for this move. They didn’t get a whole lot for Jones, so it’s tough to get too excited. However, McDermott and Beane acted with conviction in identifying a player who didn’t fit into their plans and clearing room on the roster for a player who is part of the plan. They haven’t hesitated to move on from Whaley’s picks, and that’s probably not a bad thing.
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