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Shutdown Corner

Matt Leinart is now a Buffalo Bill; Kevin Kolb’s career could be in jeopardy

Eric Edholm
Shutdown Corner

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After watching E.J. Manuel (knee surgery) and Kevin Kolb (serious concussion concerns) go down the past few weeks, the Bills found themselves in deep trouble at quarterback.

On Sunday, as reported by Fox Sports' Mike Garafolo and ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Bills signed Matt Leinart after a successful workout. The team also brought in former Dolphin and Redskin John Beck for a look but chose Leinart, the former Heisman Trophy winner whom we last saw in relief for the Raiders last season, in Week 16. (Hint: It wasn't too pretty.)

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Leinart has not had a single OTA or training camp practice under his belt this offseason, but as a vested veteran, he could have a fully guaranteed salary with his new team if he makes the opening-week 53-man roster.

His career has gone off the rails since becoming the 11th pick in the draft in 2006. He started 17 games over four seasons with the Cardinals but was benched in favor of Kurt Warner, who led the team to the Super Bowl against the Steelers in the 2009 season. Since then, Leinart has bounced from the Texans, as Matt Schaub's backup, to Oakland, to out of the league this offseason. It looked like he might finish his career with 15 touchdowns, 21 interceptions and a paltry 70.2 rating, until the Bills gave him another shot.

Kolb's future appears to be in serious doubt, following a career littered with concussions.

Especially with the Bills also making a trade Sunday for yet another quarterback, and one who started more games (one, for the Browns) than Leinart did last season.

If Manuel is not ready by Week One's home game against the Patriots — and assuming Leinart is not fully immersed in the playbook — it could be undrafted Jeff Tuel who gets the start. Tuel has flashed at times in the preseason, completing 21-of-26 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns, albeit against mostly second- and third-team defenses.

Tuel is likely to start the Bills' final preseason game on Thursday against the Lions, and FOX's Jay Glazer reports that Leinart will get action in that game, too.

It's a very delicate time for the Doug Marrone regime. Clearly, they'd love to have Manuel back, but forcing him back too soon could be devastating for the long term.

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