One of the more experienced backup quarterbacks still available is about to come off the market. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports (via Twitter) that the Bills are expected to sign 35-year-old Derek Anderson, who will serve as a backup and mentor to rookie QB Josh Allen.
Mortensen adds that Anderson could even earn some playing time, though it is difficult to imagine the Bills yanking Allen out of the starting role unless he begins to struggle a great deal. Instead, Anderson should provide valuable veteran leadership to Allen, just as he did with Cam Newton in Carolina. Anderson spent seven years with the Panthers, and he is widely credited with playing a major role in Newton’s development (both Newton and Anderson arrived in Carolina in 2011).
The Bills, of course, signed A.J. McCarron in March, and he, Allen, and second-year player Nathan Peterman competed for the starting QB job. The team later traded McCarron before the regular season began, and although the plan was to give Allen some time to develop while Peterman handled starting duties, Allen was thrust into game action in Week 1 when it became abundantly clear that Peterman is not an NFL-caliber player at the moment.
Now the Bills, who have carried only Allen and Peterman on the active roster through the first quarter of the season, appear to have realized that Allen would benefit from an experienced signal-caller. Anderson has 76 career NFL appearances under his belt, though he has not seen consistent action since his 2010 campaign with the Cardinals. He went just 2-7 that year, but he did lead the 2007 Browns to a 10-5 record in 15 starts en route to his only Pro Bowl nod.
Anderson, a sixth-round pick of the Ravens in 2005, formally parted ways with the Panthers back in May. He has a connection with Bills GM Brandon Beane, who was Carolina’s director of football operations from 2008-14 and the team’s assistant GM from 2015-16, and Buffalo OC Brian Daboll, who was the Browns’ OC in 2009.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.