Tyrod Taylor

Robert Woods Open To Re-Signing With Bills

Impending free agent wide receiver Robert Woods is open to re-signing with the Bills this offseason. However, the four-year veteran acknowledged that he wants some clarity on the team’s quarterback position before he makes a final decision.

Robert Woods (vertical)“I think there’s always hope,” Woods told Bruce Murray and A.J. Hawk on SiriusXM. “I finished out well with them. I had a good talk with (general manager) Doug Whaley upstairs. It’s a whole new coaching staff coming in, so could be different plans. I’ve got to speak with them and see their plans, as well as see what happens with the quarterback decision there.”

After receiving medical clearance following last month’s groin surgery, the Bills could now easily move on from quarterback Tyrod Taylor and his $27.5MM option. Backup EJ Manuel is set to hit free agency, meaning the team could be left with former Ohio State standout Cardale Jones or 24-year-old rookie Josh Woodrum. Considering all of the question marks at the position, it’s logical why Woods would prefer to see how it all plays out.

“Everything factors in,” Woods said on SiriusXM. “It has to be the right amount as well as quarterback decision. Yes, they don’t have a quarterback right now. Tyrod is a pending free agent. EJ Manuel is coming up as a free agent and there also are many quarterbacks on the market as well. Who knows what the decision is going on upstairs, but in a few weeks, we’ll all find out.”

For what it’s worth, the 24-year-old acknowledged that he thinks Taylor is staying put.

A knee injury forced Woods to miss three games this season, but the wideout still finished with a team-leading 613 receiving yards, 51 receptions, and one touchdown. Since entering the league as a second-round pick in 2013, Woods hasn’t surpassed 700 receiving yards in a single season. If he does re-sign with the Bills, Woods figures to be the second wideout behind Sammy Watkins.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Bills, Redskins, Bengals, 49ers

Bills general manager Doug Whaley might be content to go into 2017 with Cardale Jones at quarterback, but the team is only going to release Tyrod Taylor if rookie head coach Sean McDermott signs off on it, according to Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News. Whaley and McDermott have equal say in how the Bills assemble their roster, per Carucci, who notes the coach hired an offensive coordinator, Rick Dennison, who might be able to get more out of Taylor. Dennison is a Taylor fan, having previously coached him in Baltimore, and Albert Breer of The MMQB senses that the coordinator would like for Buffalo to continue with Taylor under center.

More from around the NFL:

  • The Redskins haven’t engaged in negotiations with any of their impending free agents yet, but talks will take place at next week’s combine, reports Mike Jones of Washington Post. John Keim of ESPN.com passed along slightly different information earlier this month, writing that the Redskins had held discussions with unsigned tight end Vernon Davis. Regardless, no deal has materialized for Davis, who’s on a list of UFAs that also includes quarterback Kirk Cousins, wide receivers Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, and defensive lineman Chris Baker.
  • The torn ACL Giovani Bernard suffered in November could help spur the Bengals to select a running back as early as Round 1 of the draft, writes Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com. Neither Bernard nor Jeremy Hill reached the 4.0 yards-per-carry mark last year, though the former posted strong pass-catching numbers and the latter scored nine touchdowns. Hill is set to enter the last year of his contract in 2017, while Rex Burkhead is on track to hit free agency next month after putting up a lofty 4.6 YPC on 74 tries in 2016. Head coach Marvin Lewis spoke on both Hill and Burkhead on Friday, telling Geoff Hobson of the team’s website: “We have to coach [Hill] better. We bet on him. We have no other choice. We bet on Jeremy to continue to progress and move forward. Our job is to try and re-sign Rex. That doesn’t affect Jeremy.”
  • After spending 12 years with the 49ers, including the past four as their director of college scouting, Matt Malaspina took a job as a college scout with the Packers on Friday, per Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. In doing so, Malaspina became the second front office member to leave the San Francisco organization this week. The 49ers and assistant general manager Tom Gamble parted ways Wednesday.
  • In other 49ers news, defensive tackle Earl Mitchell‘s four-year, $16MM agreement with the club includes $6.5MM in guarantees, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.

AFC Notes: Jags, Broncos, Chiefs, Browns

Jaguars vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin said Friday he “doesn’t see any reason” why the team’s trades with the Dolphins involving tight end Julius Thomas and left tackle Branden Albert would fall through before they become official March 9. That indicates Albert has passed a physical with the Jags, notes Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union (Thomas has also passed his with Miami). As for free agency, with upward of $70MM in cap space, Coughlin expects the Jaguars “to be very competitive” in bidding for outside help.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • Before defensive tackle Earl Mitchell agreed to a deal with the 49ers on Friday, the Broncos offered him a three-year contract featuring a $4.5MM salary in 2017, reports Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link). He ended up with a four-year, $16MM pact that includes $5.5MM next season.
  • Kansas City could pursue soon-to-be former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo in the coming weeks, but it would be unwise to regard the Chiefs as one of the favorites for his services, argues Adam Teichner of ESPN.com. If the Chiefs were to fail in an attempt to reel in Romo, they’d risk causing irreparable damage to their relationship with Smith, opines Teichner. Considering that, the Chiefs might only get involved in the Romo sweepstakes if they’re sure they’re going to come out on top.
  • The Browns could turn to quarterback Tyrod Taylor in free agency if the Bills release him, and after studying tape of the dual threat, Dan Labbe of cleveland.com contends that he’s “no less intriguing” than much-ballyhooed New England backup Jimmy Garoppolo. By opting for Taylor, the Browns would save the premium in draft picks they’d have to pay for Garoppolo – whom they’d nonetheless prefer to acquire – and would still have the option of selecting a QB to develop behind Taylor, Labbe writes.
  • Tight end Rob Gronkowski doesn’t expect the back injury that kept him out of the Patriots’ lineup from late November onward, including for their Super Bowl-winning playoff run, to limit him in 2017. Gronkowski told ESPN on Friday that there’s “no doubt” he’ll be ready for Week 1. Longer term, the 27-year-old said earlier this month he’d like to play at least six more years, though he wasn’t willing on Friday to put a number on how much longer he’ll last. “I mean, I still love playing the game, and as of right now, I want to play as long as I possibly could play,” Gronkowski said. “My mindset is to keep on going” (via Ryan Hannable of WEEI).

Bills’ Tyrod Taylor Gets Medical Clearance

Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor has been medically cleared from last month’s groin surgery, a team source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Taylor has a $27.5MM option bonus due on March 11th. Now that he has been given the greenlight from doctors, the Bills are now free to release him without having to worry about triggering an injury guarantee. Tyrod Taylor (vertical)

[RELATED: Bills Re-Sign LB Ramon Humber]

It has long been speculated that the Bills would move on from Taylor this offseason. When coach Rex Ryan and the Bills parted ways, Taylor lost his No. 1 advocate in Buffalo and that was underscored by his benching in Week 17. Now, it seems that GM Doug Whaley may push for rising sophomore Cardale Jones to take over as the starter in 2017. The 2016 fourth-round pick may or may not be elevated to the starting role, but it almost certainly won’t be Taylor under center.

When Taylor hits the open market, he’ll stand as one of the top quarterbacks available. The Browns have been connected to the mobile QB – particularly since hiring his former quarterbacks coach David Leethough they are probably prioritizing a Jimmy Garoppolo trade. The Jets and 49ers also face major uncertainty at QB, though we haven’t heard much about those two particular teams making a run at him.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Peterson, T. Taylor, Steelers

We learned yesterday that at least a few GMs are concerned about how much Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has left and whether or not he’d be willing to accept a contract commensurate with a running back on the downside of his career. The Giants are one team that Peterson has indicated he would like to play for if he does not remain in Minnesota, but as Paul Schwartz of the New York Post writes, Big Blue has expressed no interest in acquiring the former league MVP (although the Giants have not indicated that they are uninterested either, Peterson just does not appear to fit from a schematic standpoint). Of course, the more teams that drop out of the Peterson race, or decline to enter the race at all, the more likely it is that he will stay with the Vikings on a lesser salary.

Now for more notes from the league’s north divisions:

  • Speaking of Peterson, Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune lays out a list of teams that the long-time Vikings star is most likely to play for next season, and the Buccaneers are at the top of the list.
  • The Lions signed tight end Cole Wick as a UDFA last offseason, and he managed to stick on the team’s 53-man roster, catching two passes in sporadic playing time over six regular-season games before spending the final two months on IR. But as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press writes, Wick could find himself with a more significant role in 2017, as he and Eric Ebron are the only tight ends under contract who played a down for Detroit last year.
  • The Bears are expected to hire Derius Swinton as the club’s assistant special teams coach, as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Swinton previously served in that capacity with Chicago in 2015 but became the 49ers’ special teams coordinator last season.
  • Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that the chances of the Browns‘ acquiring Tyrod Taylor increased when the club hired his former Bills quarterbacks coach, David Lee, two weeks ago. However, Cabot believes Cleveland would still prefer to swing a trade for Patriots backup signal-caller Jimmy Garoppolo. If they cannot land Garoppolo, the Browns will look to Taylor, Mike Glennon, etc., but even if they acquire one of those players, Cabot believes the team should still draft UNC’s Mitch Trubisky with the No. 1 overall selection.
  • The Steelers have a lot of question marks at the wide receiver position beyond Antonio Brown, as Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes. Indeed, Martavis Bryant needs to be reinstated by the league following his season-long suspension, Markus Wheaton will probably be let go in free agency, and Sammie Coates was dogged by injuries to his finger and groin and could be facing knee surgery. As such, Dulac believes the team could spend at least one early-round selection on a wideout. John Ross and JuJu Smith-Schuster are two prospects who could be available when the Steelers are on the clock for the first time.

AFC Notes: Smith, Tyrod, Cutler, Steelers

Already under police investigation for an alleged domestic violence incident that took place last Saturday, Raiders pass rusher Aldon Smith is now on the NFL’s radar, writes Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group. “We are looking in to the matter,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told McDonald in an email Tuesday. Smith has been serving a substance abuse suspension since November 2015 and has a chance to gain reinstatement in March, but the league could push back its decision or even hand him an indefinite ban as a result of his latest off-field issue, per McDonald.

Elsewhere in the AFC…

  • If the Bills move on from quarterback Tyrod Taylor, they should sign soon-to-be released Bears signal-caller Jay Cutler to replace him, opines Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com in a piece focusing on potential offseason moves in the AFC East. Tony Romo or Jimmy Garoppolo are more appealing choices, Barnwell acknowledges, but he doesn’t expect the former to sign in Buffalo (if the Cowboys cut him) or the Patriots to trade the latter within the division. If those two are unattainable, the draft could be an option, though Barnwell argues that the Bills shouldn’t reach for a QB with the 10th overall pick. That would leave Cutler as the most logical solution. Not only would he come on a short-term deal, but he’d reunite with new Bills offensive coordinator Rick Dennison. Cutler played under Dennison in Denver and has spoken highly of him in the past.
  • Speaking of Taylor, the Browns’ hiring of his former quarterbacks coach, David Lee, increased the passer’s odds of ending up in Cleveland, contends Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. Taylor, who’s on the Browns’ “radar,” played under Lee in Buffalo the past two seasons and fared respectably in his first 29 games as a starter. The former Baltimore backup would replace Robert Griffin III, whom Cabot expects the Browns to release before his roster bonus is due March 11.
  • The Steelers’ contract talks with wide receiver Antonio Brown and linebacker Lawrence Timmons don’t figure to move quickly, tweets CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, who expects running back Le’Veon Bell to be their biggest priority. Unlike Brown, who has another year on his deal, both Timmons and Bell could become free agents next month. Bell is clearly the more valuable of the two, of course, and the Steelers will place the franchise tag on the runner if they’re unable to re-sign him.

Bills GM Wants QB Cardale Jones To Start?

The Bills are still working through the idea of retaining quarterback Tyrod Taylor, but general manager Doug Whaley is thought to be in favor of starting 2016 fourth-round pick Cardale Jones next season, according to Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News.Cardale Jones (Vertical)

[RELATED: Tyrod Taylor On Browns’ Radar]

Buffalo’s front office has been smitten with Jones for some time, as reports before last year’s draft indicated the club was “enamored” with the then-Ohio State quarterback, while Whaley & Co. were reportedly pushing for Jones to play at the tail end of last season. Jones eventually did see some action during Week 17, completing six of 11 passes for 96 yards and an interception, but the most notable thing he did during his rookie campaign was knock a phone out of a reporter’s hand during training camp with a pass that was overthrown by 20 yards.

But unless the Bills come to an agreement with Taylor, Jones may be their only option under center. The club could pursue a veteran in free agency, but most of the signal-callers on the open market are less than inspiring. One recent report claimed Buffalo has “significant” interest in Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, but Carucci shoots down that notion, observing that Romo likely will target a team with a clearer path to contention.

Meanwhile, while Taylor is not open to accepting a paycut in order to remain with the Bills, a “very real possibility” exists that Taylor would be amenable to some sort of contract restructure that lowers his 2017 cap charge but doesn’t amount to a pay reduction, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Of course, a restructure that doesn’t involve a paycut is essentially a cosmetic change that often allows a player to receive money even earlier, so theoretically any player should be receptive to such a move.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Tyrod Taylor

Tyrod Taylor says that he wants to stay in Buffalo, but he won’t restructure his deal in order to facilitate a reunion. Taylor is unwilling to take a pay cut before reaching the open market, Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News hears. Tyrod Taylor (vertical)

Agent Adisa Bakari firmly believes that Taylor will at least match his scheduled contract and possibly exceed it on the open market. If the Bills keep Taylor, they’ll have to pay him a guaranteed $30.75MM. Despite his ups and downs in 2016, Taylor’s rep believes that a better contract awaits him in March. In his defense, there are several clubs with major question marks at quarterback and this year’s so-so crop of draft QBs should only help Taylor’s value.

The Browns are said to have Taylor on their radar if they cannot land Jimmy Garoppolo in a trade with the Patriots. The Jets and 49ers also face major uncertainty at QB and Taylor could be of interest to them. And, despite some rocky games last year, Taylor did rank as Pro Football Focus’ No. 11 QB on the year thanks to his strong 87.5 score for running.

In my book, it would be foolish of Taylor to accept a reworked deal from the Bills at this time. At minimum, if he is secretly willing to accept less, he should wait until the March 11 deadline draws closer before settling.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills QB Tyrod Taylor On Browns’ “Radar”

Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo remains the Browns’ No. 1 choice at quarterback, but the club has backup plans in case the price for Garoppolo is too steep. Cleveland will have Bills signal-caller Tyrod Taylor on their “radar” if he’s released by Buffalo, reports Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.Tyrod Taylor (vertical)

[RELATED: Browns Release Josh McCown]

The Bills have until March 11 to make a decision on Taylor: the club holds a $15.5MM option bonus on its quarterback that would lock in $30.75MM in total guarantees. The club is expected to release Taylor before that decision is due, but the hiring of new head coach Sean McDermott and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison could change that view. While Buffalo’s front office is said to be in favor of cutting Taylor, McDermott’s view on Taylor is an unknown, as Vic Carrucci of the Buffalo News writes, while Dennison’s arrival is thought to be a positive for Taylor given that the pair has a prior working relationship.

Meanwhile, the Browns have been linked to a number of quarterback options this offseason, and are likely to pursue a new signal-caller through the draft, free agency, or via trade. Cleveland now has at least one connection to Taylor, as the club today hired former Bills quarterbacks coach David Lee to the same role. Lee, who worked with Taylor during the past two seasons, will presumably offer Browns head coach Hue Jackson a fresh opinion on Taylor.

Cleveland won’t be the only club to express free agent interest in Taylor, who’s averaged roughly 3,000 yards passing, 18 touchdowns, and six interceptions during his two campaigns as a starter. The Cardinals are also expected to pursue Taylor if he hits the open market, as Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com recently reported.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Galette, Tyrod, Patriots, Jets

Junior Galette seems confident he will be back in Washington in 2017, but Mike Jones of the Washington Post (Twitter link) clarifies the pass-rusher’s standing. Since the Redskins placed Galette on the NFI list after his torn Achilles last summer, the Redskins still retain his rights, Jones reports. However, the sides are planning to rework his deal, per Jones.

Galette re-signed in Washington on a one-year deal worth $4MM in March of 2016. Spending the season on the NFI list meant Galette did not accrue a season toward free agency, so he remains on his previous Redskins contract. Washington did not place Galette on its NFI list in 2015 since Galette suffered the injury during training camp. He has not played for the Redskins despite signing two deals, but the former Saints edge threat said earlier this week a new contract is in the works. Set to turn 29 in March, Galette will have to rebuild his stock.

Here’s more from the Eastern divisions.

  • Tyrod Taylor wants to stay with the Bills, the quarterback said during Super Bowl week radio interview on WGR 550 (via Nick Shook of NFL.com) but acknowledges it’s a “sitting and waiting” game now. Having signed a deal that becomes a long-term commitment if he’s still on the Bills’ roster by March 11, Taylor wanting to stay in Buffalo is natural. This offseason, the run-based quarterback’s status has shuffled from being likely gone to a candidate to stay after the hire of Taylor fan Rick Dennison as OC. Doug Whaley indicated his sports hernia injury won’t have any bearing on whether or not he stays. Of course, Taylor not being able to pass a physical by March 11 would ensure it.
  • Rob Gronkowski wants to play at least six more years, which is where the tight end places fellow Patriots icon Tom Brady‘s timeline at as well. “I don’t really think about it. Every single day I’m with Brady, and he’s talking about how he’s going to play six more years,” Gronkowski told the crowd (via Phil Perry of NESN.com). “So, like, in my mind, how can I stop playing before Brady? I came into the league like 50 years after him. I plan on playing as long as I possibly can.” This gels with a previous Brady proclamation his goal is to play until he’s 45. Brady will be 40 next season, his 18th in the league should he return. The 27-year-old Gronkowski is under contract for three more years but has become a major injury risk.
  • A Tony Romo-to-Denver scenario could leave a team like the Jets as a landing spot for 2016 starter Trevor Siemian, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com writes. However, due to Siemian’s rookie deal, Cimini notes the Broncos would have the leverage in a trade discussion, and he doesn’t see the Jets giving up a second-rounder for the once-surprising starter. Cimini also notes the Jets had a middle-round grade on Paxton Lynch, adding the Broncos — who obviously held the Memphis product in higher regard — aren’t going to trade him no matter what happens with Romo. The Jets have only Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg under contract for 2017.