Josh Allen just signed a six-year, $258 million dollar extension with the Buffalo Bills, with $150 million guaranteed. The debate on whether the 7th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft even belongs at the quarterback position, much less as an NFL starter, should effectively be settled.
I’ve been a Josh Allen defender since week 2 of the 2016 college football season. Sure, there’s nothing about a five interception performance against the Nebraska Cornhuskers that screams “first round pick and franchise cornerstone,” but your average observer wasn’t 1) watching that game live, 2) a longtime Wyoming football supporter, and 3) expertly-versed on what a good quarterback on a bad team looks like.
It’s not easy to convince good high school football players to attend school in Laramie. During Josh Allen’s final season in Laramie, the team had only managed to sign seven 3-star recruits in the previous four combined recruiting classes- compare that to Nebraska, who signed 41 combined 3-star or above players to the 2015 and 2016 classes. Of course Josh Allen wasn’t going to look like a superhero against that Cornhuskers roster, in Lincoln no less.
But what Josh Allen did show in that game, aside from his very obvious size and ability to sling the ball to the moon, was an escapability and short memory after his mistakes. It was more than clear to me at that point that if he was put in the right situation, he had all the tools to be a star.
Don’t believe me? Well, I’ve certainly got the receipts of some lofty early claims about Allen’s early comps:
One of the main reasons I was so confident in Allen’s ability to adapt to a better situation was a tortured childhood fandom spent rooting for the Arizona Cardinals. Jake Plummer’s stint as a Rose Bowl-bound Sun Devil won me over, and so when the Arizona Cardinals made him a second round pick, and quickly gave him the reigns to the team, it resulted in me spending the next six years believing that if the Cardinals had given him any support in the form of an offensive line or a running game, he’s have ascended far beyond the 114 interceptions and 52 losses he amassed in his first six seasons.
The Denver Broncos believed what I believed, and they took a “Josh Allen at 7 overall” level risk by offering Plummer a seven year deal despite having only one season with more TDs than INTs. The result? Plummer would win 40 total games in three and a half years for the Broncos, and lead them to three playoff appearances before being benched for a young Jay Cutler.
I’m not bringing up Jake Plummer as an example of my infallibility as a QB prognosticator, in fact, my favorite QB from the stacked 2018 draft class wasn’t even Josh Allen, it was Josh Rosen, who is currently fighting for a roster spot on his fourth different team.
I bring Jake Plummer up to say that so many QBs are completely dependent upon outside factors in order to see their true potential fulfilled. Josh Allen’s supposed accuracy issues had as much to do with the talent gap Wyoming faced with most of their opponents not allowing him the time to consistently set his feet and find his guys downfield… and the insane, perpetual wind of the high plains in Laramie wasn’t much of a help either. I knew what Mike Shanahan knew about Jake Plummer back in 2003- if he was put in the right situation, his natural gifts would prove his worth.
But now Josh Allen’s worth has been quantified. The man who had no offers coming out of high school, and only one coming out of junior college, has 258 million additional reasons affirming that he belongs on this stage.
Now he just has to work on earning the next extension, which is something George Wrighster and I got into on the latest episode of Wrighster or Wrong (listen on iTunes or watch on Periscope below)
Do you agree that this contract extension is proof that Josh Allen is the real deal, or do you think he has to repeat/exceed his 2020 performance to be considered legit? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll read your take on a future podcast.