The Chargers worked out Robert Griffin III and then traded for Cardale Jones. It reunites Jones with Anthony Lynn, who coached the quarterback last season in Buffalo.
“Cardale is a good young talent, and he’s going to add competition behind Philip Rivers,” Lynn said, via the team website. “He’s the type of quarterback you want waiting on the runway. He’s going to have the opportunity to come on the field and compete. Cardale is someone we think can be developed.”
Jones had a limited college career, completing only 166 of 269 passes for 2,322 yards with 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions. But he improbably led Ohio State to a national championship in 2014, passing for 742 yards with six total touchdowns in the Big Ten championship, Allstate Sugar Bowl and College Football Playoff National Championship.
The Bills made him a fourth-round pick last year based on that potential.
“When he started, the team didn’t lose,” Lynn said. “You’re talking about 11 starts, and he went undefeated in all of them. He never lost a game. Now, he did get benched but that’s because he didn’t fit the style of system their coach wanted. But I think that benefited him because he learned from it. He was able to learn from the system they wanted, and he’s able to do certain things that mobile quarterbacks can do because he did them throughout college. So he’s coming in here, and he’ll have a chance to compete for a spot.”
Rivers has never missed a start since he became the starter in 2006, but the Chargers still sought help at the position behind him. Kellen Clemens has served as the Chargers’ backup at quarterback the past two seasons, and Los Angeles has two developmental prospects on the roster in Mike Bercovici and Eli Jenkins.
Jones saw action in only one game last season, completing 6 of 11 passes for 96 yards with an interception in the Bills’ season finale.
“He only played a quarter,” Lynn said. “He didn’t play a whole lot, and that was a tough situation for everybody. The team had just fired the head coach three days before, so it was hard on everybody. He wasn’t even supposed to play in the game, but I thought we might as well put him in for a quarter.”