The Buffalo Bills aren't done in free agency just yet, it appears. The team announced on Monday that they have signed veteran free agent quarterback T.J. Yates.
Yates, 29, has been in the NFL since 2011, with his rookie season in Houston being his most notable year to date. Due to injury, Yates was forced into duty in his first year with the Texans, starting a total of five regular season and two playoff games that year. He made an official visit with the Bills on Friday.
Since then, he's shifted back into more of a reserve role. He was traded from the Texans to the Atlanta Falcons in 2014. He signed back with Houston in 2015 and was then out of football for much of 2016. He signed with the Miami Dolphins in December of last season after the season-ending injury suffered by starter Ryan Tannehill.
The Bills also announced that they've signed defensive end Ian Seau, the nephew of longtime NFL great Junior Seau.
Joe B's Take
At quarterback, the Buffalo Bills only had Tyrod Taylor and Cardale Jones on the roster -- at least in terms of notable options. The effort to kick the tires on T.J. Yates gives them some options if they come away from the NFL Draft without a new quarterback.
Now, even though that you've heard of him and remember him starting in Houston all those years ago, that doesn't necessarily owe him any sort of extended opportunity as a backup in Buffalo. His presence is likely just to serve as competition with Cardale Jones to be the backup quarterback in Buffalo.
And that's only if the Bills do not draft a quarterback at some point in the first few rounds in the 2017 NFL Draft, and now that Yates is signed, it would likely mean that either he or Cardale Jones would be the odd man out. Considering Jones has only been in the NFL for one year so far, the odds would be against the Bills cutting ties with him in favor of a journeyman third stringer that was out of the league for almost the entire season in 2016.
The Bills could even carry four quarterbacks on the roster, which isn't necessarily ideal from a roster building perspective -- but we've seen the Bills do some unconventional things before (see: carrying two kickers).
The Taylor-Yates-Jones combination won't prevent the Bills from selecting a quarterback in April, it's likely just the Bills having contingency plans in place if things don't go their way later this month.