Posted on July 27, 2017, by Travis Pulver
The ultimate dream of every kid that has ever picked up a football is to make it to the NFL. High school is fun, playing in college is awesome, but there is nothing quite like making it onto an NFL roster. Of course, it’s even better if you get to play, but for many just getting there is enough of an accomplishment.
For former Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones, the dream became a reality when the Buffalo Bills selected him with the 139th pick of the 2016 NFL Draft (fourth round). But was the dream destined to stop with just being drafted?
His odds of seeing playing time for the Bills were slim. Tyrod Taylor was entrenched as the starter. At just 27, should he excel, he’ll be the starter for years to come. T.J. Yates is a serviceable back-up. In the last draft, the Bills selected a highly-regarded quarterback in Pitt’s Nathan Peterman (fifth round).
There is no way they carry four quarterbacks. No one does that anymore. So—someone had to go. Yates isn’t great, but they know he can step in. Peterman as a fifth-round rookie is more affordable, and it could be argued has more upside.
That leaves Cardale Jones as the odd man out. Had he remained on the roster in Buffalo, there is a chance he would not have made the final cut.
So, it is a good thing he isn’t on the Buffalo roster anymore. He’s been traded to the Los Angeles Chargers for a conditional draft choice (seventh round).
For a young quarterback that is in need of a little time to develop, but still wants a chance to play eventually, there isn’t a better place to land than with the Chargers.
Phillip Rivers is one of the best quarterbacks of the modern era—and he’s not getting any younger. At 35, he could go a few more years, or he could call it quits tomorrow. The team knows it needs to be ready for the day Rivers does decide he is done. That’s why they have Kellen Clemens on the roster (as a bridge QB) and two rookies, Mike Bercovici and Eli Jenkins (potential future starters).
In Los Angeles, there is more opportunity for a young quarterback like Jones than there was in Buffalo. The Chargers will not keep all five of the QBs currently on their roster, of course. But it would not be shocking to see them keep Rivers with Clemens as his primary backup along with Jones as the No. 3 man. Either Bercovici or Jenkins will end up on the scout team.
Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn made his thoughts on Jones pretty clear in comments posted to the team’s website (h/t PFT).
“Cardale is a good young talent, and he’s going to add competition behind Philip Rivers. He’s the type of quarterback you want waiting on the runway. He’s going to have the opportunity to come on the field and compete. Cardale is someone we think can be developed.”
But wait a minute—didn’t they just bring in Robert Griffin III for a workout? Didn’t it go well?
Rumor has it, RG3 did look pretty good during his workout Monday with the Chargers. But at no time was there any indication that the team wanted to sign him. We’ll never know for certain, but bringing in RG3 could have been a ploy by the Chargers to force the Bills to take what they were offering. Otherwise, they’d just go with Plan B.
So, while the future is far from set for Jones, it is certainly much brighter than it was in Buffalo. He will not play as long as Rivers is active. But if given a choice, most of us would sit on a bench in sunny southern California rather than upstate New York.