The Buffalo Bills added another player to their quarterback competition over the weekend with the signing of Kevin Kolb. Many fans will think this is the same old Bills bringing in an aging veteran who doesn't fit into their long term plans. However, this move is more telling about how the organization feels about the draft class more than going back to their old ways.
It has been no secret that Buffalo general manager Buddy Nix has wanted to add a franchise quarterback this offseason but he may realize there is no quarterback who can be effective in Week 1. There is no clear-cut number-one prospect and every quarterback has one significant question attached to him that makes teams afraid to pick him with a first-round pick.
By bringing in Kolb, the team doesn't have to reach for a quarterback with the eighth overall pick but can now focus instead on getting a quality player at another position who can have an immediate impact. This strategy will allow Buffalo to wait until the second or third round to pick a quarterback who can develop behind Kolb or Tarvaris Jackson.
The other side of the discussion is why would the Bills cut Ryan Fitzpatrick and turn around and sign Kolb when there are a number of parallels between them. However, I see big differences between the two and believe Kolb the better option for Buffalo in 2013.
The first advantage is that he is two years younger than Fitzpatrick, and while he has been in the league for seven years, Kolb has more upside. Fans know what Fitzpatrick can do and what his limitations are, whereas Kolb is physically more gifted and can improve the vertical element to the passing game.
The second reason ties into the first in that Kolb has not had the type of supporting cast in Philadelphia or Arizona that he would in Buffalo. He did have a good group of wide receivers with the Eagles and, of course, he had Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona. But in both stops, he never had time to throw the ball behind two very poor offensive lines.
Buffalo, however, has a solid offensive line, which can provide Kolb time to throw the ball, and a solid running game that will open up passing lanes against defenses that put extra men in the box. The biggest concern will be that after taking as many hits as he has over the past few years, Kolb will get happy feet and check down too quickly.
If Kolb can overcome this impulse and trust his line, Buffalo could end up with a solid quarterback signing. At the very least, the Bills have taken pressure off their war room on draft day by not having to reach for a quarterback with a top-10 pick.