With Ryan Fitzpatrick being out of the equation in Buffalo, it forces the Bills to take yet another stab at finding the franchise's next premium signal-caller.
It has been a painful recovery time in Buffalo; a decade of wasted experimentation in pursuit of an adequate replacement to Jim Kelly.
Doug Flutie held his own and was a fan favorite, but was never a legitimate threat to lead the franchise for a large chunk of time. The franchise has yet to find that long-awaited franchise leader, the type of player who leads the organization from the slums to the Super Bowl.
We all know that the names of Drew Bledsoe, J.P. Losman and Trent Edwards can not be said in Buffalo with smiles on faces and heads held high. It appears that Fitzpatrick will inevitably be added to this list, though he over-performed, considering the fact that he came in to be a backup. But when the responsibility of taking the franchise to the next level was thrust upon him, Fitz crumbled.
So the 2013 season is on the horizon and with a new regime in place, a new quarterback will come in to take the reins. And with every failing season, with every playoff-deprived campaign, the pressure builds bigger and bigger for the quarterback to be thrust into the starting role.
With the release of Fitzpatrick, all signs are pointing to Buffalo drafting a quarterback this April to lead the franchise. Whether it be Geno Smith with the No. 8 pick or another quarterback during the first two rounds, it is apparent that Tarvaris Jackson isn't the desired quarterback to lead Buffalo's playoff pursuit.
The problem with this year's draft class is that none of the quarterbacks are ready to come into the NFL and be instant stars. There is no Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III this year, zero "cant-miss" prospects who are prepared to start immediately and win immediately.
If Buffalo drafts a quarterback early—which is extremely likely at this point—the kid will need a chance to develop and need a player to compete with in training camp. Unfortunately, Jackson isn't a true threat to win the job and Buffalo wouldn't exactly help any rookie in his development.
Luckily for the Bills, there is a quarterback on the market who can help the Bills win now while preparing their quarterback of the future.
Kevin Kolb was drafted to be the heir apparent to Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia, and he was given that opportunity. His emergence led to the trade of McNabb, but a Week 1 injury during the Kolb era in 2009 led to the re-emergence of a stud named Michael Vick.
Kolb was then dealt to Arizona in a blockbuster trade to be the next Kurt Warner, but things took a turn for the worse from there.
Injuries and inconsistency limited Kolb to 14 starts, 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in two seasons with the Cardinals. Due to a major upcoming payday, the once-dubbed savior of two franchises is now on the open market.
The saga of Kolb is very frustrating and confusing but the quarterback is only 28 years old and has 21 NFL starts under his belt. He has been very streaky throughout his career, but a lot of those ups and downs can be related to him playing with injuries.
So the question has to be asked, what does Kolb have left to offer an NFL team? For all of the baggage that comes with him, Kolb still has a lot of upside and needs the right environment to be successful.
One thing is for sure, Kolb still wants to be a starter. He was supposed to be the savior of two separate franchises but circumstances changed and neither of those opportunities ever materialized. Since Kolb wants to be a starter, chances are that the Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow/David Garrard fiasco with the New York Jets isn't exactly the most appealing situation at this time.
This is where Buffalo should seriously consider making a move, something they have been reluctant to do this offseason.
If the Bills do draft a quarterback high in this draft, the dropoff in competition between the rookie and Jackson will benefit nobody, with no disrespect intended to Jackson. Kolb would be an immediate competitor for the starting job, which would force the rookie to step up his level of play.
Kolb will also have a chip on his shoulder. He has been snubbed by two franchises and still must prove his worth in this league.
The fact of the matter is that nobody truly knows what Kolb is all about. He was supposed to be the savior of two organizations, but has yet to start over 10 games in a single season in his six-year career.
If the Bills signed Kolb to a one-year deal, they should still go ahead and draft a quarterback early. If the Bills gamble on Kolb for a year, maybe he materializes into the player he was supposed to be. If he doesn't earn the job, he is a good backup and the rookie gets an early chance to develop.
The Bills simply need answers at the quarterback position and sitting back during the offseason hasn't benefited the team. Obtaining talent and creating training camp competition will only better the team and improve the quality of play.
If a franchise quarterback is awaiting the Bills in the draft, offering Jackson as the tutor and mentor isn't going to benefit the quarterback. Kolb has potential and upside and has played with McNabb and Vick, learning a thing or two along the way.
If Kolb does nothing in a Bills uniform, bravo for Buffalo trying to go out and better themselves. Sitting around this offseason simply isn't the way to go for this franchise and every subtraction should be met with a new addition to the team.
Maybe Kolb turns into a solid quarterback and performs well for the team, maybe not. It is worth consideration from the Bills because there are pros and cons to the situation.
The message is simple: the Bills need to acquire players to add talent and competition to the team. Kolb should be a conversation point within the organization because of what he can bring to the quarterback position. If he can resurrect his career in Buffalo, it's a win-win. If he is a backup to the soon-to-be rookie that is inevitably on the way, then the new signal caller gets a jump-start to his career.
The Bills just simply need to do what the Miami Dolphins are doing at this point, going out and making their team better.
(Sound off in the comments below regarding a potential Kolb-Bills scenario and how Buffalo should address their quarterback situation in 2013!)
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