The final deadline for the Buffalo Bills to make a firm decision on the future of Tyrod Taylor is quickly approaching. The situation regarding Taylor and the Bills has been heavily dissected since he signed his unique contract extension this past August.
As the situation nears its resolution point, there are two main questions that are being asked, in one way or another:
- Should the Bills pick up the remainder of Taylor’s deal?
- Will the Bills pick up the remainder of Taylor’s deal?
There have been many national and local writers who have weighed in on the subject. Generally speaking, it seems like the answer to the first question is a resounding “yes”. Glancing at the mock drafts that are out there, though, would lead one to believe that the same group thinks the answer to the second question is “no”.
Why is that the case? Why are so many sportswriters convinced that the Bills are going to make what they feel would be the wrong choice?
Point: Taylor was benched for Week 17 last season
Counterpoint: A lot has changed in the last month and a half
Tyrod’s benching prior to the season finale against the New York Jets, after Rex Ryan was fired, seemed to be the tipping point for most observers. That seemed to primarily stem from the fact that Anthony Lynn implied that the front office decision makers didn’t want to risk triggering Taylor’s injury clause in what he termed a “business decision“.
That game was played on January 1. Since then, the market for available quarterbacks has developed, the names of early entrants to the NFL Draft have been finalized, and in the next couple of weeks (prior to the deadline), the NFL Scouting Combine will take place in Indianapolis. The Bills also have a new coaching staff in place, which leads me to my next point:
Point: Taylor lost his biggest supporter in Rex Ryan
Counterpoint: Sean McDermott’s coaching staff seems to be built for a QB like Tyrod
Rex was known to be a very big fan of Taylor, wanting to acquire him for about as long as he’d been in the league. It’s also been reported that, while Rex was on the outs anyway, his firing was accelerated primarily due to the decision to bench Taylor prior to the final game of the season.
What isn’t known, however, is how McDermott feels about Taylor. He hasn’t really said much with regard to how he feels about keeping Taylor in town (for that matter, he hasn’t really said much about anything), so we can’t go off of his words in deciphering his feelings.
What we can do, though, is look at some circumstantial evidence on the staff itself. McDermott, for his part, spent the previous six seasons as the Carolina Panthers‘ defensive coordinator, where his unit practiced against another mobile quarterback, Cam Newton. His offensive coordinator, Rick Dennison, coached Taylor for a year in Baltimore and runs a system that would seem to play to Taylor’s strengths. The quarterbacks coach, David Culley, has spent the last two decades coaching wide receivers who share many of the athletic gifts that Taylor brings to the table (not to mention that the last quarterback who played under him as a position coach went on to become the NFL’s all-time leader in return yardage).
That’s a coaching staff that seems to be built for someone in the mold of Tyrod Taylor. Now, yes, I know that Sean McDermott doesn’t have roster control, but I would expect him to have some pull when it comes to the starting quarterback.
Point: Taylor isn’t willing to take a pay cut
Counterpoint: A restructure without a pay cut is possible and just as useful
The biggest bit of “news” around the situation that’s broken in the last few weeks was the tidbit from Vic Carucci that Taylor isn’t willing to accept a pay cut to remain with the team. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody, given the current market outlook for free agent quarterbacks and the cap space available to the teams that need one. If Taylor hit the open market, he could easily fetch a nine-figure deal from the likes of the Cleveland Browns or San Francisco 49ers.
There is an important point, though, that was …
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