The Bills and quarterback Tyrod Taylor‘s agent, Adisa Bakari, are talking “relatively frequently” about a long-term contract and could reach an agreement before the season, perhaps within the next month, reports Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News. It’s a “unique negotiation,” a source told Carucci, because Taylor doesn’t have a long track record of success.
Previously a backup with the Ravens, who chose him in the sixth round of the 2011 draft, Taylor joined the Bills last offseason on a cheap contract. He then proceeded to beat out EJ Manuel and Matt Cassel for the No. 1 job over the summer and post strong numbers as a passer and rusher in 14 regular-season games. Taylor (27 next week) ended up top seven among NFL QBs in yards per attempt (7.99) and passer rating (99.4) in 2015. He also completed 63.7 of his throws and accounted for 24 touchdowns (20 passing, four rushing) against a meager six interceptions. Further, Taylor paced all signal-callers in yards per carry (5.5) and trailed only MVP Cam Newton in rushing yards (568). Taylor could now be seeking Brock Osweiler-type money ($18MM per year), writes Carucci, which would be an enormous raise over the $3.1MM he’s scheduled to collect this season.
Elsewhere on the roster, Buffalo and contract-year cornerback Stephon Gilmore continue to make no progress toward an extension, according to Carucci. Gilmore, who’s due $11.082MM in his fifth-year option season, reportedly wanted a deal in the neighborhood of the Redskins’ Josh Norman (five years, $75MM) as of earlier this month. Norman is currently among the league’s top two corners in average annual value ($15MM, first), total guarantees ($50MM, first) and guaranteed money at signing ($36.5MM, second).
With the salary cap consistently on the rise, Gilmore has a case to approach Norman’s deal – especially given that he’s three years younger. And while the ex-South Carolina standout has missed 11 games since 2013, he has nonetheless been a stalwart for Buffalo. The 10th overall selection in his draft class, Gilmore has logged 53 appearances, 51 starts and nine interceptions since entering the NFL. Three of those INTs came last season in 12 games for Gilmore, whom Pro Football Focus (subscription required) ranked a tremendous ninth among 111 qualifying corners (Norman finished 11th).
If the Bills and Gilmore aren’t able to reach an agreement between now and next March, the franchise tag could be in play, notes Carucci, who doesn’t rule out an in-season extension. The tag would likely cost the Bills upward of $14MM to apply.
Taylor, Gilmore and the rest of the Bills could soon have a new teammate in running back Reggie Bush, whom the club has been in talks with as it seeks a replacement for suspended reserve Karlos Williams. While that dialogue has continued, Bush is mulling whether to jump on Buffalo’s offer or wait for another team’s backfield depth to take a hit this summer, per Carucci. Thanks to Williams’ four-game absence, not securing Bush would leave the Bills with 2015 success story Mike Gillislee and Dan Herron as their primary options behind star LeSean McCoy.
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