(WKBW) — After 14 NFL seasons Derek Anderson is calling it quits.
On Thursday the Buffalo Bills announced Anderson was stepping away after signing a one-year deal to remain with the team earlier in the year.
Anderson, 35, joined the Bills last season, he started two games.
"Derek let me know a few weeks back that he wasn’t sure if he could be committed [for the season] and wanted to still think about it,"general manager Brandon Beane said to BuffaloBills.com. "So I knew going into the draft that this was something that could potentially happen. But it wasn’t definite. We talked this week and he let me know today that he is going to retire."
Former UB quarterback Tyree Jackson, an undrafted free agent, agreed to terms with the Bills following the NFL Draft. It now appears that Jackson is the front runner for the Bills third string quarterback job unless another quarterback is signed.
"Before the draft, we did a little more work on quarterbacks and watched some guys once we got this word regarding Derek. We made sure we had them stacked as we thought they should be. Once it got late in the draft, you never want to root for someone not to be drafted, but we were thrilled with the opportunity to bring Tyree in here and let him compete," Beane told BuffaloBills.com. "Especially since he was going to have the chance to start as the No. 3 instead of the No. 4 if DA did retire. Which he did."
Joe B's Take
- When Derek Anderson initially signed his contract, it was at least a bit of a surprise to see him commit to the year so soon after the 2018 season ended. At that point, he was more of a resource for Josh Allen, and Anderson wouldn't be in an immediate role to enter the game if something happened to the young quarterback. The Bills already have Matt Barkley as their backup, so really, this came down to if Anderson wanted to go through the paces of another NFL season.
If you'll recall, Anderson got quite the taste of what retirement life is like, going weeks into the season before agreeing to terms with the Bills and becoming the veteran in the room for Allen to learn from. Once he was back into the swing of things in 2018, he appeared fully invested in the development of Allen. I believe it was the investment in Allen's progress that helped him to re-sign with the team so early into the offseason.
However, if a player decides their heart isn't in it and didn't know if they could commit to another year, then it's best for all parties to step away and move on to what's the most important thing to them in their lives. So, while a bit of a setback in not having that longtime veteran in the quarterback room any longer, it's for the best.
That brings us to the number-three quarterback job, because it would appear there is a vacancy on the projected 53-man roster at the moment. When the Bills brought in Tyree Jackson as an undrafted free agent, some wondered if he could unseat Anderson for the last quarterback spot on the roster. Without seeing him practice for a second at the NFL level, that premise didn't hold much weight before the news.
This is an incredibly promising development for Jackson, but by no means does it signal that he is a lock for the 53-man roster. He's from the local college, he's a great story, and he will try to make a NFL career for himself after going undrafted.
However, if we've learned anything about Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott, they aren't much for handing out jobs -- especially if unearned. We also know that this is an organization, with examples from the last two seasons, that is comfortable in only having two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. We saw it when the Bills parted ways with TJ Yates in early September of 2017, and then when they opened the 2018 season with only Nathan Peterman and Josh Allen.
It certainly has gotten them into trouble before, but the primary message is simple: Jackson isn't on the team by default just because Anderson has parted ways with the team. If he doesn't show well enough, or doesn't show signs of development over the spring or summer, a much more talented roster could use that extra spot at another position that could actually factor into game day.
It's also a good thing for Jackson that they aren't going to bring in anyone for the time being to compete with him for those snaps, but there will be plenty of quarterbacks on call if Jackson struggles for too long of a time.
The best thing for Jackson, though? It's all in his hands now. He doesn't have to worry about beating another player for a spot on the roster, he only needs to be concerned about himself on a day-to-day basis and really implementing what offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey are trying to get him to improve upon.
If he does that, his window to the roster is a bit more open than it was before. Words of caution, though, don't go putting it in permanent marker anywhere just yet. Jackson will have to win a roster job outright -- the same as before.