The value of a backup quarterback position in the NFL is difficult to quantify. For franchises with injury-prone starting quarterbacks, backup passers are worth their weight in gold, hence Mike White signing a two-year, $8 million contract with the Miami Dolphins this offseason. For clubs whose quarterbacks play 16-17 games a year, the value is significantly less. There's also the intangible value of having continuity at backup quarterback, having someone behind your starter who knows the playbook inside and out and can impart additional insight upon your starting quarterback.
The Cincinnati Bengals lost their continuity at backup QB on Wednesday as 30-year-old passer Brandon Allen, Joe Burrow's backup for all three of his NFL seasons from 2020-22, signed a deal with the San Francisco 49ers, per NFL Media. The 49ers add another experienced quarterback to their room, and the Bengals quickly countered, signing 31-year-old Trevor Siemian to a contract on Wednesday as well, the Bengals announced. The move makes total sense for the Bengals since offensive coordinator Brian Callahan was a Denver Broncos offensive assistant coach during Siemian's rookie season in Denver in 2015, so the new 31-year-old backup already has some familiarity with what Callahan likes offensively.
Siemian, unlike Allen, was once given a chance to be a full-time starting quarterback in the NFL. He was who the Broncos turned to in 2016 after Hall of Famer Peyton Manning retired in the aftermath of winning Super Bowl 50 in the 2015 season. Siemian showed promise that year, throwing for 3,401 plus 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 14 starts. Foot and shoulder injuries hampered his development in 2016 and 2017, leading to his eventual shift to journeyman backup.
Siemian has thrown for 7,027 career passing yards, 42 touchdowns and 28 interceptions during his NFL career with each of the last three seasons played being spent with three different teams: the New York Jets (2019), the New Orleans Saints (2021) and the Chicago Bears (2022). The former Broncos starting quarterback can provide plenty of wisdom from his winding professional football road to the 26-year-old Burrow in a backup capacity. Siemian essentially has the number two spot on the Bengals' depth chart on lock given his only competition for the role on the roster is Jake Browning, a player who has yet to throw an NFL regular season pass.