Since joining the Buffalo Bills in 2018, Josh Allen has been infectious.
From his attitude and leadership ability to his roller-coaster style of play that could have you screaming in celebration after one play and asking yourself, “Why did he just do that?” on the next.
If anything is certain, Allen has become the centerpiece of Buffalo’s success over the past two seasons as the Bills are 7-3 heading into Week 12.
But imagine for a moment that Allen never landed in Buffalo, but instead during the 2017 NFL Draft the year before, the Bills drafted an MVP that has taken the league by storm. Imagine if the Bills drafted Patrick Mahomes.
In a recent article by Tyler Dunne from Go Long with Tyler Dunne, former Buffalo general manager Doug Whaley said Bills owner Terry Pegula absolutely loved Mahomes pre-draft and the organization nearly drafted him.
“This was his guy,” Whaley said in Part I of the article published on November 25. “This was the guy he thought could define him as an owner and go back to the glory days of the Bills with Jim Kelly. So he’s like, ‘This is our next Jim Kelly.’”
According to the story, Whaley’s right-hand man Jim Monos said that no one had “Top 10 conviction” on Mahomes “other than Terry” after watching Mahomes workout in Lubbock, TX leading up to the NFL Draft. Monos said that he was adamant that no one was high on Mahomes and no one considered him a “can’t miss guy.”
Coincidently enough, the Bills traded with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017 and dropped back from pick No. 10 to No. 27 in hopes that Mahomes would fall and Buffalo would secure two first-round picks the following year. But, the front office did give Pegula one last opportunity, as the owner, to pull the trigger on Mahomes three years ago.
“I said, ‘Hey, Terry,’” Whaley said in the article, “‘this is your team. If you want the guy, you take him. It’s not going to be a bad pick. You’re the owner.’ I looked him in the eye in front of coach and in front of Jim and in front of Kim — ‘This is your team. If you really want the guy, get him.’ We’ll be able to get him at 10 for sure. Now, I do believe we can drop down and get an extra pick and be able to get him at 27, but worst-case scenario, I have two first-round picks to be able to take our choice of quarterbacks next year.”
“Talent-wise, he’s definitely worthy of it,” Waley continued. “I think we all recognized the talent. Let’s put it this way: If Rex was our head coach, we would’ve most definitely had Mahomes. I’m pretty sure. There wouldn’t have been the excuse of, ‘We need that impact player to help us right now.’ It would’ve been a different discussion.”
The Chiefs ended up selecting Mahomes with that No. 10 pick, while the Bills selected LSU cornerback Tre’Davious White, who has become a staple in the secondary, and chose Allen with the No. 7 overall pick the following year.
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What Could’ve Been With Patrick Mahomes in Buffalo
Although they didn’t land the now-2018 MVP and Super Bowl LIV MVP, the Bills still got their guy in Allen. The 24-year-old has become what everyone hoped he would and that goes well beyond the field, as he’s also become a staple in the Buffalo community.
The question still needs to be asked though — what could’ve happened with Mahomes had he landed in Buffalo? Would they have advanced deeper into the AFC playoffs and possibly won the Super Bowl last season? Highly unlikely.
Between a Hall of Fame coach in Andy Reid, an innovative offensive coordinator in Eric Bieniemy and widespread athletic talent that not many teams in the league possess, Mahomes has benefitted from his surroundings in Kansas City.
Mahomes is pretty special too.
In four years in the league, the Chiefs’ superstar has thrown for 12,447 yards, 103 touchdowns and only 20 interceptions on 1,473 pass attempts. He’s set the league on fire with no-look passes, underneath passes, side-arm passes. The type of plays he has been able to pull off have been utterly jaw-dropping.
Jaw-dropping enough to sign a 10-year, $503 million contract extension in July that could allow him to earn more than half a billion dollars over the course of his playing career alone.
What Has Been With Josh Allen Under Center
Unfortunately, the Bills don’t have a Super Bowl and they don’t have an MVP quarterback. But, they could someday soon.
Allen has shown his potential through the first three years of his career, having thrown for 8,034 yards and 51 touchdowns and rushed for an additional 1,420 yards and 22 touchdowns. But most importantly, the third-year starter has improved each and every year as he addresses new skills and traits to work on each offseason.
He has been knocked for his accuracy most often, but has recorded a 68.4% completion percentage this season compared to his 52.8% mark as a rookie. The dual-threat playmaker has also cut down his interception numbers and remains on track for a career-best season in what some have considered an MVP-level campaign.
He’s still growing too.
With arguably the best receiving core in the NFL around him and an offensive mastermind in Brian Daboll in the booth, the sky is still the limit for Allen.
Yes, the Bills missed out on Mahomes, but they got a pretty good consolation prize in Allen — and his teammates know it, too.
“In a bar fight, you want to bring Josh Allen because you know he’ll go to battle with you,” Bills center Mitch Morse told Dunne. “That’s infectious.”