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Is Matt Cassel destined for backup role with the Bills?

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Veteran Matt Cassel was widely viewed as the favorite to open the season as the Buffalo Bills' quarterback after splitting practice reps evenly with EJ Manuel and Tyrod Taylor last month.

At least one prominent beat writer believes, however, that Cassel won't be under center in Week 1 versus the Colts.

"I wouldn't rule it out," writes Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News, "but I believe he was acquired mainly to provide the veteran backup quarterback the Bills lost when Kyle Orton suddenly retired the day after last season."

Carucci isn't citing sources, but he has proven to be plugged in since joining the Bills beat last September.

The team's brass appears serious about letting this competition play out on the field, so we are unlikely to have a good read on a frontrunner until preseason action begins in August.

One thing we can say with certainty is that new coach Rex Ryan is an avowed fan of Taylor.

"I actually tried to trade for him when I was with the Jets," Ryan recently revealed, adding that Taylor has "a little" of Russell Wilson to his game.

Although Carucci believes Ryan and coordinator Greg Roman are "open-minded" about Manuel's chances, he also suspects the 2013 first-round pick won't be on the final roster unless he wins the starting job.

If the Bills end up dangling Manuel for a late-round pick in August, keep an eye on the Eagles as a potential trade partner.

After recruiting Manuel at Oregon, Chip Kelly told NFL Network in the lead-up to the 2013 NFL Draft that the former Florida State star was a player he "didn't get a chance to coach but would like a chance to coach."

Shortly thereafter, Manuel noted that the Eagles "want me pretty bad."

Manuel would make for an interesting reclamation project under Kelly's tutelage if he ultimately flames out in Buffalo.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast welcomes Lindsay Rhodes to discuss the Patriots' response in the "Deflategate" saga and the latest names revealed on the "The Top 100 Players of 2015" countdown. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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