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Bills sign quarterback T.J. Yates as backup to Tyrod Taylor

April 10, 2017

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills addressed their quarterback depth by signing free agent T.J. Yates on Monday.

The sixth-year player meets the Bills’ need to add an experienced backup behind returning starter Tyrod Taylor. Yates did not play a snap in his one and only season with Miami last season.

Overall, he’s played in 18 regular-season games and has a 4-3 record in seven starts, all during two stints spread over four seasons with Houston. He also went 1-1 in starting two playoff games for the Texans during his rookie season in 2011.

Yates is in line to fill the backup job after the Bills elected to not re-sign EJ Manuel last month. Buffalo’s roster also includes Cardale Jones, who is still regarded as a developmental project entering his second season after going 11-0 at Ohio State and leading the Buckeyes to win the 2015 national championship.

Taylor’s future in Buffalo was uncertain until last month when the two-year starter was retained after restructuring his five-year contract extension .

“This is obviously Tyrod’s team,” Yates said. “I’m just here to bring experience to the quarterback room and knowledge in the system and help out any way I can.”

Yates has an immediate connection to the Bills staff under new head coach Sean McDermott. Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison held the same job during three of Yates’ seasons in Houston.

Selected by the Texans in the fifth round of the 2011 draft out of North Carolina, Yates was forced into action as a rookie after Matt Schaub and backup Matt Leinart were hurt during the season.

He went 11 of 20 for 159 yards and a touchdown in a 31-10 win over Cincinnati in an AFC wild-card playoff game. Yates then struggled, going 17 of 35 and three interceptions in a 20-13 loss to Baltimore the following week.

“Obviously, it was a very long time ago, but I started out my football career a little bit differently than most quarterbacks, getting thrown into the fire like that,” Yates said. “Obviously, I haven’t played much since then, but that rookie year, it kind of did a lot for me as far as my development mentally.”

Including a one-year stint in Atlanta in 2014, he’s completed 132 of 227 attempts for 1,534 with six touchdowns and eight interceptions in the regular season.

The Bills also signed defensive end Ian Seau. The nephew of late Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau signed as an undrafted rookie with the Los Angeles Rams last year before being cut before the start of the regular season.


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