Not even 24 hours before the start of their first training camp practice, the Buffalo Bills narrowed down their quarterback depth chart to just three players.
The team announced on Wednesday night that they have traded 2016 fourth-round pick and quarterback Cardale Jones to the Los Angeles Chargers for a conditional draft pick. In Los Angeles, Jones will reunite with former Bills offensive coordinator and interim head coach Anthony Lynn, who was hired by the Chargers as their new head coach this offseason.
The move now leaves the Bills with a trio of quarterbacks that will likely make up the depth chart during the regular season as well: Starter Tyrod Taylor, veteran T.J. Yates, and rookie Nathan Peterman.
Now, considering the Bills were likely to just flat out release Cardale Jones at the conclusion of the preseason in favor of the other three quarterbacks, picking up some value for one of their draft picks in 2016 has to be a seen as a slight win for the organization.
The details of the trade have yet to be uncovered, and even with it likely that they'll receive a lesser pick than the one they initially used on him, receiving some sort of compensation for the former fourth-round pick will help shoulder the blow of what now can be called a wasted pick.
The writing was on the wall for Jones, and you could see it even as early as the mandatory minicamp in June.
Following a day that he ended his lone two-minute drill opportunity with an interception on the first play -- a pass that should have been an easy dump-down that he simply loafed through the footwork and sailed it into a linebacker's hands -- the next practice, Jones didn't receive any opportunities to run the two-minute drill. Yates and Peterman, though, did.
The most glaring, yet obvious fact about Cardale Jones and this move, was that the current regime -- head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane -- simply had no ties to Jones whatsoever. They gave him a chance during the spring to compete, they liked the players that they signed off on better than Jones, and now Jones is with another organization.
The most impressive part about the quarterback's game is his arm strength, but he's yet to find a happy medium with to pair his accuracy along with his arm strength. Jones had the ability to deliver the most beautiful pass you'd see all day, and then he'd match that with three or four of the ugliest throws of the day during any given practice.
So while the Bills did the best to make a bad situation shine a little bit, this is still a slight setback for the Bills. It's a draft pick that has gone awry for them, in a league that demands that sustained teams build well through the draft. Though with Jones, I can't blame them for taking a swing on a quarterback -- albeit one that has a huge arm in basically the fifth round.
At the end of the day, he just wasn't Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane's type of quarterback, and now it seems Jones will get a fairer shake at trying to make a roster with Anthony Lynn and Los Angeles than he would have in Buffalo.
It was just never going to work in Buffalo in 2017.