Thanks primarily to subpar production from a slew of quarterbacks, the Bills are mired in an NFL-worst 16-year playoff drought. But they may have finally found a long-term solution under center in Tyrod Taylor, to whom they gave an extension that could run through the 2021 season and pay him up $92MM on Friday. In his first year as a starter last season, Joe Flacco‘s former backup in Baltimore emerged as a quality dual threat, combining for 24 touchdowns (20 passing, four rushing) against six interceptions. He also became the third signal-caller in league history to finish a season with a passer rating over 99 and an average of 40-plus yards rushing per game. While Taylor played under a bargain salary in 2015 and performed like someone worthy of a significant raise, he isn’t necessarily secure for the long haul in Buffalo. In fact, the way his deal is structured, Taylor will have to prove himself all over again this year.
Here are some reactions to the 27-year-old’s contract:
- In extending Taylor, the Bills raised his 2016 salary from $2MM to $9.5MM. That total represents all of the fully guaranteed money in his contract, and Andrew Brandt of The MMQB points out (on Twitter) that it’s $2.5MM less than the $12MM that career backup Chase Daniel received from the Eagles in free agency. Before signing with Philadelphia in March, the soon-to-be 30-year-old Daniel accrued 77 combined passing attempts in New Orleans and Kansas City, and he didn’t necessarily impress in that limited action. Taylor, meanwhile, picked up 380 attempts last year alone and succeeded.
- Considering the cost, the Bills were smart to lock up Taylor, opines Albert Breer of The MMQB (Twitter links). If Taylor falters this year, the Bills can easily move on having only thrown away $9.5MM. On the other hand, should Taylor duplicate his 2015 performance or improve on it, they’ll have a legitimate No. 1 for a below-market cost.
- If he remains in Buffalo through the 2017 campaign, Taylor will collect $37MM, which Tom Pelissero of USA Today notes is the same amount new Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler will rake in through next season. The key difference is that all $37MM of Osweiler’s money was guaranteed at signing, making the Taylor deal look even better for the Bills. In fairness to Houston, Osweiler’s four-year, $72MM payday came on the open market. Still, from a statistical standpoint, Taylor clearly outdid Osweiler in 2015.
- Taylor’s accord is unlikely to impact Redskins franchise-tagged quarterback Kirk Cousins, writes JP Finlay of CSN Mid-Atlantic. The two are vastly different players, for one, and Cousins, at $19.95MM, is already set to more than double Taylor’s salary this year. Both before and after tagging him, the Redskins reportedly offered Cousins $16MM per year and $24MM in guarantees on a long-term deal. While the former figure is in line with Taylor’s new average annual salary, the guaranteed sum is nearly three times higher than Taylor’s total. Nevertheless, it wasn’t enough for Cousins, whom the Redskins failed to sign to a multiyear deal by the July 15 deadline for franchise-tagged players. Like Taylor, he’ll once again try to prove himself this season.