Published August 27, 2012
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – The Buffalo Bills have a new backup in Tarvaris Jackson, and they've cut Vince Young in a sudden shuffle of quarterbacks on Monday.
Shortly after announcing they had released Young, the Bills followed up to confirm reports that they had acquired Jackson in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for an undisclosed draft pick.
It was a surprising turn of events that came in the final week of the preseason, and after Young struggled in his bid to win the backup job in a 38-7 loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday.
"Vince, I don't want to get into what he can do and can't do, it just didn't work out," general manager Buddy Nix said. "We just need to move on and give this guy a try."
As for Jackson, Nix said the Bills showed interest in him once the Seahawks deemed him expendable after selecting rookie third-round draft pick Russell Wilson as their starter on Sunday.
Nix called Jackson a strong-armed quarterback who's accustomed to playing in offenses that feature a quick passing attack such as the Bills.
Nix did acknowledge consistency has at times been an issue with Jackson, who is on his third team in three years.
"Maybe getting in the right place and the right system, he'll blossom," Nix said, noting there's a chance Jackson could play in the Bills (No. 19 in the AP Pro32) preseason finale at Detroit on Thursday.
"He's bounced around a little bit, but who knows, we'll give it a try. We know he's got the ability to do it, and we'll see if he can produce."
Jackson traveled overnight to Buffalo and joined his teammates for practice Monday afternoon. The trade wasn't completed until early Monday morning after the Bills reached a deal with Jackson's agent, Joel Segal, to restructure the final year of the player's contract, according to a person familiar with discussions. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Bills do not discuss contract talks.
Jackson was scheduled to make $4 million this season, a figure the Bills deemed to be too expensive for a backup player.
Jackson is a seven-year veteran who has gone 17-17 as a starter with Minnesota and Seattle. He had a 7-7 record with the Seahawks last season, but his future was left uncertain after Seattle drafted Wilson and acquired Matt Flynn in free agency this offseason.
Young posted comments on his Twitter account indicating his time in Buffalo was over on Monday morning.
"Respect Bills fans," Young wrote. "I want to thank the Bills organization for the opportunity and with the organization and my teammates good luck this season."
The Bills quickly ran out of patience with Young, who had signed a one-year contract in May to compete with returning backup Tyler Thigpen for the No. 2 job behind starter Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Young had the edge to win the backup job before he struggled on Saturday. He threw two interceptions, the first coming on his first pass attempt, and finished 12 of 26 for 103 yards passing in playing the entire second half.
It was a sudden turn of events for Young, who last week had earned a thumbs-up from quarterbacks coach David Lee.
"I'm really pleased with how much he studied and how he has slowly gotten better and better," Lee had said. "Is he ready for the season? Not yet, but he's getting better every day."
And coach Chan Gailey has maintained there's only room for one backup, because the No. 3 job is going to receiver/wildcat specialist Brad Smith. It's unclear whether the Bills might keep Thigpen to open the season until Jackson can become comfortable with the offense.
For Young, it's the latest blow to what was a once-promising career. After leading Texas to the national championship in 2006, Young was selected third overall in the draft by the Tennessee Titans and was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
The Titans eventually ran out of patience with Young and released him last summer. Young had a disappointing season as Michael Vick's backup in Philadelphia last year.
Jackson has had an up-and-down career since being selected by Minnesota in the second round of the 2006 draft. He spent five years with the Vikings, including 2007, when he went 8-4 before losing his starting job.
Jackson signed a two-year contract with the Seahawks last year, and was credited for playing a major role in the team's turnaround after a 2-6 start. He had career numbers in completions (271), attempts (450), 3,091 yards passing with 14 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
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