The Buffalo Bills made a surprise move on Friday when they announced they have signed 31-year-old QB Kyle Orton to a one-year deal. He will immediately come in and fight Jeff Tuel for the backup job to E.J. Manuel.
The move doesn’t seem to make sense on any aspect. It looked like Orton was on his way to retirement when he stopped showing up to Dallas Cowboys spring practices. He cut off communication with them completely until he was cut in July. The Cowboys have now committed to former Cleveland Browns QB Brandon Weeden as their backup to Tony Romo. What would cause Orton to decide to come back and play? Why would he make this decision on August 29? Why would being the backup on the Bills, for likely less money, make him want to come back?
One of the only reasons that could be thought of is he thinks he can eventually beat Manuel for the job. Last season, Manuel was less than stellar. He was the first QB taken in the 2013 draft, but has not shown that he is a full-time franchise quarterback. Orton may think he can come in and possibly become the starter by Week 8.
Why would the Bills want that distraction? While the level of media attention in Buffalo is nowhere near to the city they share a state with, it will still be annoying for coaches and players alike to have to answer questions about the starter if the season doesn’t go the way they hope.
This move just doesn’t seem to make sense at any angle. It looks bad for Orton, bad for the Bills and bad for Manuel. Maybe they hope he can be a veteran presence that can help teach him, but why not just make him a coach then? This is a bad move for everyone involved and makes the departure of Orton from Dallas that much more confusing.