The Buffalo Bills released former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson on Monday, according to the team. The move is positive news for Jeff Tuel, WSU's off-and-on starter for the last four years. Tuel joins 2013 first-round pick E.J. Manuel and journeyman Kevin Kolb as the remaining quarterbacks on the roster.
NFL teams carry three QBs quite often, with the third serving in an emergency role. Bills reporter Joe Buscaglia says Buffalo is likely to do the same, with Tuel hanging around for the rest of the season. That's great news for a guy who caught few breaks during his time at Washington State.
Tuel's best season at WSU came in his only injury-free campaign as a sophomore. That year he completed 60 percent of his passes for 2,780 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions despite playing behind a porous offensive line. Tuel showed flashes of his speed and ability to run the ball that season, something confirmed by a 4.55 40-yard dash time at WSU's pro day (via Cougfan).
After an injury-plagued junior season, Tuel entered his senior year with hopes of putting up big numbers in Mike Leach's Air Raid offense. That never came to fruition as Tuel and the rest of the team struggled to adjust to the system. The quarterback did improve down the stretch, especially as Leach allowed him to get out and run a bit more, and ended up completed 64 percent of his passes for 2,087 yards, eight touchdowns, and eight interceptions.
Accuracy and mobility are Tuel's primary strengths, and his experience throwing the ball under duress should actually be an asset in the NFL, where defenses bear down faster. For now, it seems that some Buffalo fans are excited to have the Coug on the roster:
Speaking of Jeff Tuel, Wasn't it a Washington State alum who last led the #Bills to a winning season?— Josef Beamer (@Beam_Machine) June 10, 2013
Is it too early to order a Jeff Tuel jersey?!— Ryne McCord (@rynemccord) June 10, 2013
A backup quarterback is always the most popular man in town, right?
With Buffalo investing a first-round pick in Manuel, it is obvious that they want to give him a shot at the starting job. Kolb has experience, and was somewhat not-terrible in limited time for the Cardinals last season. Kolb is oft-injured, so Tuel ending up as the backup sometime this season isn't completely out of the question.
It seems that Tuel impressed the Bills in rookie minicamp and OTAs, so much so that they were willing to toss away the $500,000 signing bonus they handed Jackson in February (via Pro Football Talk). Tuel still has some work to do to ensure a spot on the roster, but today's news is definitely a step toward another WSU quarterback in the NFL.
Follow Tuel's team at Bills blog Buffalo Ramblings.