The Buffalo Bills are looking to the XFL to bring some summer competition at quarterback.
The league announced on May 13 that the Bills extended a training camp invite to Jalan McClendon, a veteran quarterback who spent time with the Baltimore Ravens and Washington Commanders. The former Baylor quarterback spent this season with the Las Vegas Vipers, taking over as starter late in the season.
Though McClendon could face a tough road to making the final roster or practice squad in Buffalo, his invite will give him the chance to show NFL teams what he can do.
Jalan McClendon’s Rise in the XFL
As the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported, McClendon started the season as the No. 3 quarterback for the Vipers but beat out former Green Bay Packers backup Brett Hundley for the chance to take the reins late in the season when starter Luis Perez struggled.
McClendon had been in search of a football home for some time, first joining the Baltimore Ravens in 2019 as an undrafted free agent before being released later that summer. He was picked up by the then-Washington Redskins and also had two tryouts for the New York Giants, but was unable to find a spot on an active roster or practice squad. He then joined the XFL for its 2020 revival season, which was cut short by the COVID pandemic.
The Review-Journal noted that McClendon was thinking about stepping away from football and starting a coaching career when the XFL made its comeback season. He was drafted by the Vipers, and said late in the season that he was excited for the chance to become the team’s starter.
“The season hasn’t been going how we want, but I’m excited to get a chance to play,” McClendon said on March 31, after the team listed him on top of the depth chart. “My arm talent and my athletic ability are things I feel I can bring to the team.”
McClendon went 1-1 in his two starts, completing 34 of 54 passes for 423 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed 21 times for 87 yards.
Bills Appear Locked at Quarterback
There may not be much room for McClendon, as the Bills appear locked in at quarterback heading into the 2023 season. Starter Josh Allen said he was focused on healing an injured elbow this offseason and is expected to take part in training camp.
After the departure of backup Case Keenum this offseason, the Bills signed former Carolina Panthers starter Kyle Allen. The veteran quarterback said in his first press conference with the team that he was excited at the chance to play with his friend, Josh Allen.
“I think Josh is at the top of the list,” Kyle Allen said. “Not only is he a good friend, but just from a quarterback standpoint around the entire NFL, he’s one of the best in the league. And he does it the right way. There’s a bunch of other factors, too.”
The Bills also gave a reserve/futures contract to veteran quarterback Matt Barkley, who initially came to Buffalo in Josh Allen’s rookie season in 2018 to serve as a mentor and came back last year to play on the practice squad.