EJ Manuel is expected to be the No. 2 quarterback for the Bills in 2016 behind Tyrod Taylor, which is a role he had in 2015 as well. Rookie Cardale Jones will provide competition, but Manuel should win the job. Manuel started two games for an injured Taylor last year and completed 61.9 percent of his passes for 561 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions and ran for 64 yards and a touchdown. He averaged 21 Fantasy points in those two starts in a standard league. Manuel was once thought of as the future starter in Buffalo, but he will need Taylor to get hurt for him to be a regular starter again. He has minimal Fantasy value in the majority of leagues heading into this season.
Coach Rex Ryan confirmed that Manuel is his clear-cut No. 2 quarterback entering the season, BuffaloBills.com reports. "Unlike last year we're set with a pecking order," Ryan said Wednesday. "Tyrod is the number one guy, EJ is two and Cardale is three. We know that going in." Manuel has done very little to match his first-round draft status from 2013 and he may have had one of the league's ugliest quarterbacking performances in a decade during last season's London loss to Jacksonville. That said, Ryan and GM Doug Whaley are sticking by him and there's something to be said about Manuel's arm strength and familiarity with the Buffalo offense. However, you'll hear an incredibly loud gasp whenever Tyrod Taylor is slow to get up from the Ralph Wilson Stadium turf this fall.
The Bills have declined to exercise Manuel's fifth-year option, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com reports. Since he was selected 16th overall in the 2013 NFL Draft, Manuel's start count has dwindled from 10 to four to two over the course of the past three seasons. His quarterback rating hasn't deviated much over the course of his brief career -- from 77.7 as a rookie to a career-high 80.3 in 2014 -- but his lack of improvement allowed Tyrod Taylor to wrench the No. 1 gig in training camp last summer. With Taylor bursting forth with 3,035 yards, 20 touchdowns versus six interceptions, and a healthy 568 yards and four more scores on the ground, he provides the offense with a dual threat that Manuel lacks. As a result, it was clear from the outset of the offseason that the Bills wouldn't commit the $11.4 million owed under the guidelines of his fifth-year option.
Manuel started two games in 2015 when Tyrod Taylor was injured, both losses as the Bills fell to the Bengals and Jaguars in back-to-back weeks. He finished the season 52-of-84 for 561 yards, three touchdowns, and three interceptions. The performances on paper were actually better than what took place on the field, as Manuel pretty much single-handedly lost the Jags game in London, which derailed a somewhat promising season at the time for Rex Ryan's boys. He never tossed a pass after that, and while the team speaks highly of his work ethic and attitude, it remains to be seen if the former first-rounder can capably lead an NFL offense. We'll see if GM Doug Whaley sticks by his guy for one more season, though Taylor is the clear starter entering the 2016 season.
Manuel is in uniform and will serve as the Bills' backup QB on Monday against the Patriots. Fellow QB Josh Johnson is inactive for the contest, with Manuel thus a Tyrod Taylor injury away from handling the Bills' QB snaps.
Manuel is inactive for Thursday's game at the Jets. Apparently, the team isn't quite as confident as they said following one of the more disastrous QB performances seen on TV, er, the internet, this season when the Bills lost to Jacksonville in London. Josh Johnson will back up Tyrod Taylor in this one, while Manuel's long-term status seems as dicey as ever. It's hard to see the 2013 first-rounder working out with this franchise.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/16||New York Jets||11||18.75|
|4||10/02||@New England Patriots||16||19.78|
|5||10/09||@Los Angeles Rams||10||18.56|
|6||10/16||San Francisco 49ers||7||18.06|
|8||10/30||New England Patriots||16||19.78|
|17||01/01||@New York Jets||11||18.75|
|3 Year Avg||59.2||1124||6||5||101||1||93|