Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix made it clear with both his actions during the NFL draft and his words that followed that the team will be finding a veteran free agent to back up Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback for 2011 and possibly beyond.
While the free agent crop, assuming there will eventually be one is ultra-thin in regards to guys considered starter worthy, sifting through lists actually reveals some good fits for the Buffalo gig.
We’re going to breakdown as many of the options as we can. Today we’ll take a look at Carolina Panthers quarterback Matt Moore.
It only take a quick glance at the Panthers’ 2009 team statistics to conclude Moore was terrible in his opportunity to become a long-term starter in the NFL. In six games last year, three of them starts, Moore threw five touchdown passes but chucked 10 interceptions. Take away the 23-20 win over San Francisco when Moore was sensational (29-of-41 for 308 yards and two touchdowns) and the overall numbers become even uglier.
To make matters worse, Moore saw his season come to an end after suffering a season-ending torn labrum on his throwing shoulder in November.
It was a far cry from 2009 when Moore went 4-1 as a starter and threw for eight touchdowns and just two interceptions. His performance led to the release of veteran quarterback Jake Delhomme.
Moore will only be a restricted free agent when the market eventually opens, but that will hardly detour Buffalo or any team from showing interest. Moore was tendered at the lowest level, just $1.75 million and he was an undrafted free agent out of college. That means the Panthers only would have the right to match any offer received and if they decline, won’t receive draft compensation. Carolina drafted Cam Newton with the first overall pick last month and with 2009 second rounder Jimmy Clausen also in tow, it’s hard to fathom Moore being a part of any team plans going forward.
Moore could be an intriguing option for Buffalo. He’s had a taste of success as a starter and more importantly just 26-years old with upside left. Moore had the luxury of learning behind a quality veteran in Delhomme and his numbers last season could at least be partially blamed to playing behind a train wreck of an offense.
Extremely athletic for a quarterback, Moore can make plays on the move and occasionally flashes an outstanding arm. His biggest flaws have been a lack of accuracy, and his footwork and mechanics leave something to be desired.
Still, there’s plenty that Bills head coach Chan Gailey can work with.
Summary: If the Bills are taking a long look at quarterbacks that have the physical ability to become a starter if things fell into place, Moore could definitely be an option.
With Newton and Clausen ready to fight it out in Carolina, it’s easy to assume Moore would be eager to move on to another organization. His awful numbers last season may not make him the most appealing choice, but he’s probably more gifted than Travaris Jackson or Tyler Thigpen.
Previously: Bruce Gradkowski