The veteran backup is a strong insurance policy
Last year, the Buffalo Bills upgraded their backup quarterback position by bringing in former first-round draft pick Mitchell Trubisky. After he signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason, the Bills were left with two options: they could go to the bargain bin or they could find another strong insurance policy for superstar Josh Allen.
Well, general manager Brandon Beane did a little bit of both, as he re-signed an old friend and brought in a strong backup in two solid moves this spring. The Bills, like any team, are in a bad way if their starting quarterback misses time, but they’re at least protected now with a legitimate player at the quarterback position.
In today’s edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we discuss the next man up should Allen be injured.
Name: Case Keenum
Height/Weight: 6’1” 215 lbs
Age: 34 (35 on 2/17/2023)
Experience/Draft: 10; signed with the Houston Texans following the 2012 NFL Draft
Acquired: Traded to Buffalo on 3/20/2022 for a seventh-round draft choice
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Keenum is in the final year of the three-year, $18 million contract he signed with Cleveland in March 2020. Since he was traded to Buffalo, it’s Cleveland who owes him the bonus and guarantees on the deal. For the Bills, Keenum will count $3.5 million against this year’s salary cap, and Buffalo would carry no dead cap should they release him prior to the start of the regular season. As a vested veteran, however, the entirety of Keenum’s salary becomes guaranteed if he is on the roster for Week 1.
2021 Recap: Last season Keenum entered the year as Baker Mayfield’s backup once again, and he appeared in seven games. Keenum made two starts, both Cleveland victories, during the year. In Week 7, he completed 21 of 33 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown in Cleveland’s 17-14 win over the Denver Broncos. He also started the season finale, completing 17 of 24 passes for 216 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception in the 21-16 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Overall, Keenum completed 65% of his passes (47/72) for 462 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception last year.
Positional outlook: Keenum is the backup to Josh Allen, and he’s one spot ahead of Matt Barkley, who re-signed with the team this spring.
2022 Offseason: Keenum is healthy and he has participated in OTAs to date.
2022 Season outlook: Keenum is a great insurance policy for Buffalo. He might not have the mobility that Trubisky has, but he’s a better pure passer who has had some success as a starter before. His most successful season was with the Minnesota Vikings in 2017, when Keenum and Stefon Diggs hooked up for one of the most iconic plays in league history to propel the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game. Hopefully, Keenum does nothing more than make a few scattered appearances in mop-up duty, perhaps starting a meaningless Week 18 game should the Bills already have sewn up home-field advantage and a bye for the playoffs. If he is called upon to start a few meaningful games, though, he is more than capable of bringing home a few victories. This is a great depth acquisition for the Bills.