ROCHESTER, NY – On the eve of training camp the Bills were busy wheeling and dealing.
The team announced Wednesday night that they had traded second-year quarterback Cardale Jones to the Los Angeles Chargers, in exchange for a condontional pick. Shortly after the announcement ESPN’s Adam Schefter revealed the pick is a seventh rounder. The condition atached to the pick remains unknown at this time.
Heading into the start of training camp, Jones was on the outside looking in at a crowded quarterback depth chart that includes Tyrod Taylor, journeyman T.J. Yates and rookie Nathan Peterman. Many expected Jones to be in open competition with Peterman for the third QB spot, but his departure settles the battle before it even started.
The Bills drafted Jones in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft and immediately declared him a work in progress. In his one season in Buffalo he dressed for and appeared in only one game – the Bills season finale against the Jets. He completed just 11 passes for 96 yards and threw one interception in relief of E.J. Manuel, who started the game in place of a benched Tyrod Taylor.
It’s no coincidence that the former Ohio State Buckeye drew interest from the Chargers, where first-year head coach Anthony Lynn now resides. During Jones’ short, one-year stint with the Bills, Lynn – who was promoted to offensive coordinator in Week 3 last season – took a liking to the gunslinger and had plenty of good things to say about him.
Trading Jones leaves Buffalo with one open roster spot heading into training camp. The first practice gets underway tomorrow at 5:30 over at St. John Fisher College.
This move is only surprising because it came down less than 24 hours before the start of camp. But truthfully, the writing was on the wall for Cardale Jones. At mini-camp he was the last quarterback taking reps every day and most of them came in garbage time during the final seconds of practice. I’m supremely confident in saying that he would have been cut by Sept. 2, if not sooner. Now, instead of waiting to inevitably cut him, the Bills get something back for him in the form of a conditional pick.
I was asked on Twitter what a conditional pick is, so just to explain for those who don’t know, a conditional pick is a pick that comes with a condition attached to it. Essentially, the Bills only receive a seventh round pick from LA if a condition is met. We don’t know yet what that condition is, but generally it’s something like “the player must be on the teams roster for X number of games. Hope that helps.
Anyway, assuming the condition is met, Buffalo just acquired some draft capital for a player that they were going to release for nothing in a few weeks. What’s not to like?
Not only that but with Jones out of the picture Buffalo’s quarterback depth chart is settled with Taylor as the starter, Yates as the primary backup and Peterman, the project waiting in the wings if called upon.
Meanwhile, Jones heads to LA where he is reunited with a coach in Anthony Lynn who seems to see some potential in him. That should bode well for Jones, and being there for the start of camp where he can get aclimated to the area, his teammates and the playbook doesn’t hurt either.
We’ll never know if Cardale Jones is the Bills next franchise quarterback, but given how massive of a project he is, probably not. Maybe Lynn can turn him into an NFL caliber QB. Otherwise he’ll likely spend his career as a backup.
So, gone are the hot takes to “give Cardale Jones a shot” on Bills Twitter. However, I’m guessing that will promptly be replaced by more of the same in favor of Peterman.
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