Bills Linked to Josh Allen’s ‘Clone’ in Backup QB Pursuit

Josh Allen

Getty Bills quarterback Josh Allen at Highmark Stadium on December 31, 2023.

The Buffalo Bills have several difficult decisions to make this offseason, but finding a franchise quarterback is not one of them. With Josh Allen locked in for the foreseeable future, the Bills remain perennial Super Bowl contenders.

However, the Bills are in the market for a new backup quarterback. Kyle Allen is a pending free agent and despite his close friendship with Josh Allen, his future remains unclear.

As it stands, the Bills are $43.3 million over the $255.4 million cap limit. So, shelling out a sizeable contract for a backup seems unlikely. Financially speaking, drafting a late-round quarterback in the 2024 NFL draft to fill the backup role makes sense.

Democrat & Chronicle’s Sal Maiorana wrote, “If there is one the Bills might be interested in, it’s Tennessee’s Joe Milton III because he’s almost a clone of Allen, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound elite athlete with a strong arm and great mobility.”

Joe Milton III

GettyTennessee Volunteers quarterback Joe Milton III on November 11, 2023.

“But it’s highly unlikely that he’d be ready to step in as a rookie if needed, so even if the Bills did pick him, say in the fifth round, [general manager Brandon] Beane would only do so if he already had a veteran backup signed.”

When Beane drafted former Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL draft, veteran Matt Barkley was already on the roster. Fromm remained behind Barkley on the practice squad the entire season before getting cut in 2021.

Joe Milton’s ‘Arm Strength Alone Separates Him From the Rest of the QB Class’

Brady Quinn, former NFL quarterback turned CBS Sports analyst, believes Milton will turn some heads ahead of the NFL Combine

“[NFL scouts will] look at it and say, ‘We feel like we can work with this guy, we feel like we can mold this guy into something special,'” Quinn said of the 23-year-old prospect, per SI. “And that’s really where I think Joe Milton can improve himself over everyone else. Because his arm strength alone will separate him from the rest of the quarterback class.”

Milton started his collegiate career in Michigan before transferring to Tennessee in 2021. During the 2023 season, he completed 229-of-354 passes for 2,813 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions.

After opting out of the Citrus Bowl, he participated in the 2024 Reese’s Senior Bowl and it didn’t go great. He completed 9-of-13 passes with two interceptions. CBS Sports analyst Ryan Wilson surmised, “Joe Milton, who may have the biggest arm at any level of football, looked a lot like he did for Tennessee during the 2023 season. Which is to say: hesitant at times to pull the trigger on his first or second reads, looking to run the ball at the first sign of trouble, and then compounding a bad decision and making it worse.

“It’ll be interesting to see how high Milton gets drafted. We’ve spoken to teams who are enamored with the upside, and the physical tools are undeniable. But you wonder how long it will take to bring it all together.”

Milton will look to shift that opinion with a solid performance at the NFL Scouting Combine. CBS Sports analyst Chris Trapasso boldly predicts he’ll throw the ball 80 yards through the air at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Bills QB Josh Allen Hasn’t Missed a Game Since November 2018

Josh Allen, Kyle Allen

GettyBills quarterback Josh Allen (L) and Kyle Allen (R) on August 26, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois.

Over the past five seasons, the Bills backup quarterback never started. Allen hasn’t missed a game since November 11, 2018. Therefore, Buffalo may look to re-sign Kyle Allen to veteran’s minimum like they did last year. The Bills signed third-stringer Shane Buechele to a reserve/futures contract in January.

Speaking to reporters at the NFL Combine earlier this week, however, Beane made it clear he takes the role of Josh Allen’s backup seriously. “I know the value of the quarterback,” Beane said.

“If you don’t have a guy under center who can do it, look what happened to San Francisco a couple years ago in the NFC Championship game. We’ve been evaluating them for the last few years, but what round are you gonna pick him to where you feel confident that he is your backup?

“If Josh goes down for two to four weeks, at a minimum, if you’ve got a good roster you’re gonna go 2-2. That’s kind of his job – let’s just hold steady until your starter gets back. So, yes, in a perfect world you would love to land that guy but where do you do that? Do you do that in the second round, do you do that in the fifth round when you’re trying to find other players, too?”