In just three seasons Josh Allen has become a record-setting, MVP-caliber quarterback that the Buffalo Bills can't imagine a future without.
Allen officially solidified his future in Buffalo on Friday afternoon by inking a six-year contract extension. He is the first quarterback drafted by the Bills to sign an extension since Frank Reich.
The quarterback is thrilled to call Buffalo home for the next several years.
"It's definitely a spot where it's surreal to be in right now," Allen shared. "I'm just thankful that we could get it done and now we can focus on going out there and earning it. And making sure they understand that I know they didn't pay me for what I've done. They did this because they expect me to continue what I'm doing and expect me to go win this team some championships."
Flashing back to 2018, just moments after being drafted seventh overall by the Buffalo Bills, a younger Josh Allen put on a hat that had Billieve written across the front.
"Thank you to the Bills organization for making the leap and putting their faith in me," Allen said to Suzy Kolber as he walked across the stage on draft night. "I'm going to make them look like they're the smartest people out there. I'm humbled. I'm blessed. I'm proud to be a part of Bills Mafia."
After a 2020 season where the Bills won 13 regular season games, scored a franchise record of 501 points and made it to the AFC Championship game, Allen has made Bills general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott look like one of the smartest GM/head coach tandems for envisioning the quarterback Allen could become.
Beane and McDermott said it didn't take long to realize that Allen was their guy.
"You always want to be able to draft, develop and re-sign your own and obviously it's a quarterback league," Beane said. "Sean and I knew early that we needed to go draft a quarterback, a franchise guy, and Josh has been everything we could ask for and then some and we think the best is yet to come."
"It's obviously a leap of faith on our part and Josh's part as well," McDermott said of the extension. "But the trust that's been built between the parties and also the belief that he's only going to continue to improve with the way he's wired, the family he comes from, the support he has, the way his teammates view him--that was all big in terms of doing it now and feeling good about it for the future as well."
Beane said he received a call about the contract extension at around 10:00 p.m. on Thursday evening and the two parties worked through the night to get a deal that was close to done by 4:00 a.m.. Allen got a similar call at 3:45 a.m. saying the extension was almost good to go.
Late Friday afternoon, Allen became the Bills quarterback through 2028. He thinks the deal was a win-win for everyone involved.
"I think the way that we structured the deal was obviously a chance for both sides to get a fair deal and feel like they won," Allen said. "To be here for eight more years and allow us to kind of move some things around to keep some pieces here, I'm not egotistical in how the money is put out or where it needs to be or how much it is. I want to win, whatever it takes for us to win is what I'm willing to do."
Allen broke several single-season records in his third season with the Buffalo Bills--total touchdowns (46), passing touchdowns (37), total yards (4,977), passing yards (4,544), passer rating (107.2), completions (396), completion percentage (69.2) and 300-yard games (8).
The quarterback improved his completion percentage from 59 percent in 2019 to 69.2 percent in 2020. He also improved his passer rating by 21.9 going from 85.3 in 2019 to 107.2 in 2020, which was the sixth-largest improvement by a quarterback in their first three seasons since 1970.
When thinking back to the process of scouting Allen, drafting him and watching him develop in Buffalo, Beane and McDermott emphasized just how tough it was to find and draft a quarterback like Allen.
"With the sustained success that we've mentioned here, we fought so hard to get those draft picks, that collateral to go secure Josh," Beane said. "It's a relief and that goes back to the length of the deal, and to know this organization has what we believe is the right guy in place for the next eight years."
Allen has had quite an interesting journey that led him to Buffalo. The quarterback had no scholarship offers out of high school, sent more than 1,000 emails to colleges asking to give him a chance. He played at Reedley Junior College and transferred to Wyoming before being drafted by the Bills.
It's a path that's required a ton of hard work, but the quarterback wouldn't change a thing about the story he's already written.
"I wouldn't go back and change anything about my past, where I went to junior college, where I went to college," Allen shared. "And shout out Reedley and Wyoming because they also had a huge role in me getting to this point. But again, for me, it's not enough just to get to this point. I've got to continue to go out there and prove it every day of why we made the decision to do what we did today."
His mindset and work ethic that he'll use to prove why he earned a six-year extension fits what Buffalo represents. As he heads into his fourth season, Allen can't imagine a more perfect place to play.
"I personally think it was just a match that was made to work," Allen said of being a Buffalo Bill. "Me being in this great city here in Buffalo and kind of trying to embody what the city is--blue-collar, hard-working, don't complain, figure-it-out mentality. I'm very internally driven and I've always had this goal of mine to play this game for as long as I can."
He'll be playing for Buffalo until at least 2028 and many hope he'll be around for several years after that. In just three years, Allen has shown why he belongs in the conversation of the top quarterbacks in the league. Year four shouldn't be any different. And Beane and McDermott think their quarterback is just scratching the surface.