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McGinley: Why play for the Bills?

| Wednesday, March 24, 2021

As a Pats fan, I have a hard time understanding why anyone in the NFL would want to play on the Buffalo Bills. Furthermore, why would you want to be a backup quarterback on the Buffalo Bills?

Yes, I’m looking at you, Mitchell Trubisky.

I just don’t see the logic.

  1. The Bears

Um, yeah, hi. He’s Mitchell Trubisky. He’s the Bears quarterback. Yes, this year was tough, but that was true across the board (two words: Cam. Newton). Yet his numbers never dipped below his rookie season, so how bad of a year could it have been? In 2017, Trubisky threw for 59.4% completion and an even split between seven touchdowns and interceptions. In 2020 though, he had a 67% completion rate, with 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Also, in six fewer games this season, Trubisky fell only 1,000 passing yards. Especially as he’s only headed into his fifth year, and he’s doing so uninjured, he’s not exactly a loose cannon. So really, why drop him now? The free agency pool is not that big — and he dwarfed a bunch of the members of that pool — so it becomes even smaller after rejecting him.

Lord help the Bears if they’re relying solely on fluke Super Bowl Champion Nick Foles. He just isn’t going to cut it. If anything, Foles is the reason this season was tough for the Bears. The man went 2-5 in the games he played and had a 10-8 touchdown-to-interception ratio. The ownership shouldn’t have been so blinded by the frustrations of the 2020 season. Instead, they should have stuck it out one more year, at least to see what the pool would look like then. They most definitely aren’t going to get any veteran who is that much better this year. At least Newton has enough experience (both with what to do and what not to do) to help guide someone from the draft. Foles does not. He hasn’t been anywhere long enough to build a strong base.

The Bears are going to miss Trubisky in 2021 a lot more than they realize.

(Also — spoiler — Nick Miller,  the biggest Chicago Bears fan in recent TV history, named his kid after Trubisky on New Girl. You can’t ignore destiny like that.)

  1. Josh Allen

Even if leaving was a good idea, last time I checked, Josh Allen is fully on the Bills roster. He also took the Bills to another AFC Championship this year after winning the AFC East with a record of 13-3. Allen was playing well above his usual caliber all season. In a year without COVID restrictions (hopefully), and with fan sections in some capacity, who’s to say he doesn’t play better?

On paper, Trubisky is better. Trubisky has been in the 60s in completion percentage since his second year, whereas Allen only skyrocketed from 58.8% to 69.2% in the 2020 season. The thing is, though, Allen may not have always been the best, but he’s on the up. His yardage has jumped by 1000+ yards every season and his touchdowns in a season have all gone up 10+ each year while interceptions have stayed pretty stagnant.

Trubisky having more skill won’t mean anything for him with the Bills if he — or they — can’t turn it into anything. They have found a rhythm with Josh Allen whether Pats fans like it or not. If he keeps on his trend — which is likely at 24 — he will be on track for success with the Bills and Trubisky will not see the field. That cannot have been his best option.

The only way Trubisky sees the field is if Allen gets hurt or reverts to his old ways, which he seemed to do a little bit in the AFC Championship game. This isn’t promising either, though, because if a coaching staff that has had three years with Allen cannot make positive change stick with him, who’s to say they can with Trubisky? It would be a waste of time to try.

  1. The Patriots

There were starting quarterback positions that it seemed like Trubisky could have had if he wanted. The Patriots, for starters, waited a decent bit before resigning Newton.

I would’ve been more than thrilled to welcome Trubisky because Belichick would’ve known what to do with him. Belichick could have turned him back into the player people expected him to be. He could’ve been the next name on the growing list of players who found their reset in Foxborough: Akeem Ayers, Alan Branch, Patrick Chung, Brandon LaFell, etc. all found new roles on the New England roster. This should’ve been Trubisky too.

It’s also not like the Bills gave him any massive number the Patriots couldn’t have come up with. He’ll receive a $500,000 signing bonus with $1.5 million guaranteed and the opportunity to make up to $4.5 million total. Newton’s numbers aren’t that far off, nor do I think Newton’s numbers should be anywhere near that if this is what Trubisky is getting.

  1. Anyone else?

How had no one else reached out for Trubisky, and why didn’t he wait to see if someone would? Other teams would at least have more use for a backup than the Bills. They either have an older injury-prone starting signal-caller like the Washington Football Team and Alex Smith, or Atlanta and Pittsburgh just having older callers. There are teams with flailing young ones like the Jets and Sam Darnold or young QBs who could just use some help or someone to rely on like Justin Herbert on the Chargers or Kyler Murray on the Cardinals.

Trubisky is wholly underrated by the league at this point. I really don’t think backup for the Bills was his best option, nor do I think — should he play his cards right — it will be the end of hearing from him. Maybe he will turn up in the spare pieces in Foxborough that build a brand new dynastic machine.

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About Mannion McGinley

Mannion McGinley is an American Studies and Sociology major with a Journalism minor in Notre Dame's class of 2023. She is a member of the Glynn Family Honors program and currently serves as an Assistant Managing Editor at The Observer.

Contact Mannion