Josh Allen shut up the critics with an unbelievable third season, guiding his team to the AFC Championship Game. The quarterback's play improved as dramatically as any other in recent memory.
With the 24-year-old eligible for a contract extension, Allen has proven he's the man to continue leading the Buffalo Bills for the long haul.
"I proved that they didn't make a mistake by drafting me, going back a few years ago," Allen said Monday. "I gotta continue to go out there and have that same mindset. I'm just trying to help this team win with whatever and whichever way that I can."
Allen's play markedly improved in 2020, as he showed a willingness to take the checkdown in Brian Daboll's system and let his quick receivers do the work for him. His uptick in mental equity to understand what the defense planned was impressive in Year 3. After completing 52.8 percent and 58.8 percent of his passes in his first two seasons, Allen leaped to 69.2 percent in 2020, tossing for 4,544 yards and 37 touchdowns.
Allen's contemporaries like Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson inked contracts the summer before their fourth seasons. With two more years under contract in Buffalo, the sides aren't under pressure to do a deal this year. Given the restrictions expected with the salary cap in 2021, we'd presume any new contract would be designed to mitigate his cap number, which already sits at a low $6.9 million.
The Bills' franchise signal-caller said he hasn't yet begun to consider the future.
"No, I haven't really even thought about that at all," he said. "I've been so focused on trying to do my job for the Bills. Whatever happens, happens. Obviously, I'm not stressing about it. I'm just, like I said, trying to be the best quarterback for this team, we'll cross that bridge when we get there."
Allen became the seventh player in NFL history with 40-plus combined passing and rushing TDs and 15 or more wins in a single season (including playoffs). Others: Dan Marino (1984), Steve Young (1994), Kurt Warner (1999), Tom Brady (2007 & 2011), Peyton Manning (2013), Cam Newton (2015) -- all but Brady in 2011 won NFL MVP that season (Aaron Rodgers won).
Allen must now prove 2020 wasn't a fluke and continue to make strides forward as one of the elite QBs in the NFL.
In an AFC packed with talented, young signal-callers, Allen understands full well that his marvel season upped the Bills' expectations after making their first championship game since the early '90s.
"Moving forward from here, if you don't win the whole thing, you're gonna have these sorts of feelings and these types of emotions," Allen said. "A lot to learn from; a lot to grow from. As a team, we'll use it the right way. I got no doubt in that and the guys in this locker room."
Allen also knows that while he'll always be competing with Mahomes' Chiefs for supremacy in the conference, Buffalo will plow its own path.
"I think that's what every team would want, to be in consecutive Super Bowls and have the ability to win multiple Super Bowls," Allen said. "That's something we have to step back and look at.
"We don't want to be them. We don't want to be anybody else. But we want to be the best version of ourselves here. We think that's good enough."