Report: EJ Manuel to start Sunday, and it is a fine decision.


Ok, so we have 1 game left, and we have to start a QB (obviously). But who?

We just about know what we have in Tyrod Taylor. While I would like to see him in a full Anthony Lynn offense, it appears the Buffalo Bills front office has decided on his contract extension. In my opinion, it will not be picked up. There would be significant downside to starting Taylor this week, considering the fact that if he gets severely injured we are forced to pay him the option. The upside really is not there in this situation if the front office has already determined Taylor’s future.

According to an Adam Schefter report, Tyrod Taylor is being benched in this final game for EJ Manuel, so EJ Manuel will start. EJ Manuel should start, and it is not because there is a prayer of him becoming a starting option in the future.

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Simply, there is no downside and all upside. I’ll address both:

No downside: If he is awful, then that’s fine. Our draft selection will improve. With a loss and a few wins by Arizona (@ LA), Carolina (@ TB), and Philadelphia (vs. DAL), the draft selection can improve to 9th. At least 2 of these 3 are entirely possible, with Arizona coming off an impressive win against Seattle and Dallas about to rest their starters against Philadelphia. If EJ gets hurt, that doesn’t affect the Bills’ cap situation. You are not stuck paying him 30.75 million dollars like you would if Tyrod started and got injured. The WORST CASE SCENARIO is that EJ is terrible and the Bills’ draft pick improves.

ALL UPSIDE: Here is your upside: if EJ does well (statistically, fake or not, just looks competent), what you are essentially doing is “showcasing” him for free agency. If he does well enough to give one (all it takes is one) team enough to sign him to a decent sized contract, you get a compensatory pick for him signing.

This projection has 6.5 million per year being the 4th round pick cut off. There are backups that make 4-5 million per year. If EJ Manuel starts the final game and plays competently enough to entice a desperate team to pay him 6-7 million dollars or more to compete for a job, he potentially can be “traded” for a 4th round compensatory pick. While the formula is much more complicated than this oversimplification, this type of contract would help the Bills’ compensatory formula immensely. That sounds like some great upside to me for a player who is leaving regardless of who the Bills start this week.


Best case starting Tyrod Taylor: He plays well again, making the extension conversation a very difficult one.

Worst case: Taylor gets hurt and we are forced to keep him on the option.

Best case starting EJ Manuel: He plays well enough to sign a nice contract elsewhere, netting us a likely mid round compensatory pick. Essentially, you are trading EJ Manuel for a draft pick by doing nothing.


Worst case: He is terrible and our draft pick improves from 13th (potentially 15-16 with a win) to potentially 9-10th.

To me, starting EJ Manuel looks like a fine decision with virtually no downside.

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