Tyrod Taylor

Tyrod Taylor Addresses Potential Trade

Benched after just three games by a team that expressed optimism he would start throughout the season, Tyrod Taylor will naturally appear in trade rumors this month.

For now, though, the Browns’ backup quarterback isn’t demanding anything. Taylor acknowledged this could be a possibility going into the October 30 deadline.

You never know. I mean, I’m well aware of all that,” Taylor said, via ESPNCleveland’s Tony Grossi, of the possibility he’ll ask the Browns to trade him to a quarterback-needy team. “I don’t necessarily put it on my thought process every day. I come out each and every day aiming to get better and trying to find things to work on in my game. We’ll see. That’s more of a question for my agent. We talk. I wouldn’t necessarily reveal that to the media.”

Taylor told Grossi he’s not angry about how quickly he was demoted for Baker Mayfield and is focused on trying to help the Browns. However, a trade would give him a better chance of further showcasing his abilities in a contract year.

As a starter for three seasons with the Bills, Taylor would profile as a player who could help a team. But it might take an injury to a starter for Taylor’s value to increase. While some teams don’t appear to be solidified long-term at this spot — the Broncos, Jaguars, Buccaneers, Giants or Dolphins perhaps — it’s difficult to envision one of those pulling the trigger on a trade for Taylor at this juncture. Still, with Drew Stanton also on Cleveland’s roster, Taylor makes sense as a trade piece — especially if the Browns in a few weeks don’t believe they’re a realistic playoff contender.

Any team that acquires the walk-year passer would have exclusive negotiating rights regarding an extension. The Saints’ trade for Teddy Bridgewater may serve as a blueprint for a team that’s intrigued by Taylor.

Although, Taylor did not play especially well during his three Browns starts. He completed less than 40 percent of his passes in two of Cleveland’s three games, the second such performance being shortened by injury. He averaged just 5.5 yards per attempt this season. During his 2015 Pro Bowl campaign, Taylor averaged 8.0 yards per pass, threw 20 touchdown passes, six interceptions and ran for 568 yards.

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Browns Name Baker Mayfield Starting QB

As expected, the Browns have named Baker Mayfield their starting quarterback. Browns coach Hue Jackson announced the news to his team this morning, days after Mayfield led the Browns to a come-from-behind victory over the Jets. 

I informed the group this morning that we’re going to start Baker Mayfield and Tyrod will be the backup if healthy,” Jackson said (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com). “Baker understands there’s still a lot of work to do. … Now the other added pressure of being out there first is there. But I think he can handle it. He’s demonstrated that.”

This year’s No. 1 overall pick will become the 30th QB to start for the Browns since 1999 when they take on the Raiders this week. The decision was something of a no-brainer after Tyrod Taylor struggled early on against the Jets before being forced out with a brain injury. When Mayfield took over in the second quarter, he led the Browns on a thrilling comeback from a 14-0 deficit to a 21-17 victory on national television.

If Mayfield can lead the Browns to victory against the Raiders, he’ll give the Browns their first winning streak since 2014 and their best start since 2001.

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Browns To Announce Baker Mayfield As Starting QB Monday

The Baker Mayfield era in Cleveland has begun. After Mayfield guided the Browns to a victory over the Jets on Thursday night in relief of Tyrod Taylor, it appeared that the writing was on the wall for Taylor, who struggled mightily before being lifted with a concussion. Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports that head coach Hue Jackson will formally announce Mayfield, this year’s No. 1 overall pick, as the team’s starting quarterback on Monday after he has had the chance to speak with both Mayfield and Taylor (Jackson gave his team the weekend off).

The original plan was for Mayfield to sit out for much, if not all, of 2018, and serve as Taylor’s backup while learning the professional game. However, as Cabot writes in a separate piece, Jackson and GM John Dorsey really just wanted to make sure the team around Mayfield was strong enough to support him. Indeed, she says if future Hall-of-Fame left tackle Joe Thomas had not retired this offseason, Mayfield may have started right away. But now that the team seems solid enough in all three phases — the Browns could easily be 3-0 right now — Cleveland brass is comfortable putting their prized rookie under center.

Cabot adds that, when it became clear that Taylor was not getting the job done through the first two games of the season, the Browns were likely eyeing next week’s game against the Raiders as a target date for Mayfield’s debut anyway. But Taylor’s concussion — which Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk believes may have been a ruse to get Mayfield in the game — allowed them to expedite the process.

Cabot says Jackson has not yet made a formal announcement because he wants to be respectful towards the veteran Taylor and to speak with him before going public. As Adam Schefter of ESPN tweets, Taylor is expected to clear the concussion protocol this week, so assuming Cabot’s report is accurate, Taylor will serve as Mayfield’s backup going forward.

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Browns Notes: Mayfield, Dez, Gonzalez

This does not come as a great shock, but 2018 No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield will open the season as the Browns’ backup signal-caller, as Jeff Schudel of the News-Herald tweets (though head coach Hue Jackson wants to inform his team of his decision before making it official). It was always understood that Tyrod Taylor, whom the Browns acquired in an offseason trade with the Bills, would serve as the team’s starting quarterback at least until Mayfield is deemed ready, and we recently heard that Cleveland is allegedly open to extending Taylor’s contract (he is eligible for free agency at season’s end).

The decision to name Mayfield the No. 2 QB, then, is actually more about the battle between Mayfield and Drew Stanton — Jackson said last week that he was still undecided as to which player would serve as the backup — than the “battle” between Mayfield and Taylor. Stanton, the long-time second-stringer who signed a two-year pact with the Browns in March, will be the team’s No. 3 quarterback, assuming Cleveland elects to keep three QBs.

Now let’s take a look at several more notes out of Cleveland:

  • Josh Gordon will not play in the Browns’ preseason finale due to hamstring discomfort, but Jackson says the embattled wideout — who is expected to be ready for Week 1 — is “getting close,” per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com (via Twitter).
  • In her weekly mailbag, Cabot says the Browns have not ruled out signing Dez Bryant, who recently rejected the team’s contract offer. She says Bryant liked the Browns and clearly the team had interest in him, so things could change at any time.
  • Cabot also suggests in her mailbag that Shon Coleman, who was given the first chance to succeed Joe Thomas at left tackle, could well be on the roster bubble.
  • Jackson says he “thinks” Zane Gonzalez is in the lead in the Browns’ kicking battle, per Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal (via Twitter).

AFC Notes: Browns, Taylor, Bryant

Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor has dislocated the pinky on his non-throwing hand, as Andrew Gribble of the Browns’ website tweets. While his left hand is bruised and sore, head coach Hue Jackson says “he’s going to be fine.”

It sounds like Taylor will be alright for the season opener, so we won’t be seeing Baker Mayfield out there – at least, not yet.

Here’s more from the AFC North:

North Rumors: Browns, Tyrod, Steelers, Bell

Tyrod Taylor gave Browns fans a scare on Thursday night when he left Cleveland’s preseason game with a hand injury, but he eventually return to the contest and was diagnosed with just a dislocated pinky, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. While undoubtedly a painful ailment, Taylor isn’t expected to miss any time with the issue, and he tweeted earlier today that he’s “doing well.” Taylor will begin the 2018 campaign as the Browns’ starting quarterback, but could eventually cede to No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • Le’Veon Bell isn’t expected to report to the Steelers until Week 1, and it’s unclear if the two-time franchise player will be a member of Pittsburgh’s roster after 2018. He won’t be assigned the tag again, meaning he’ll be able to hit the open market next spring. With that in mind, Terez A. Paylor of Yahoo Sports examined whether Bell will be able to command a fully guaranteed deal, and also looked at the top contenders to land Bell once he finally hits free agency. The Colts, Jets, and Browns — all of whom project to have plenty of 2019 cap space, all make sense as potential destinations, per Paylor.
  • Bears safety DeAndre Houston-Carson during Chicago’s preseason game against the Broncos and is expected to miss regular season action, according to Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). Houston-Carson had been performing well in training camp and during the preseason, but it’s unclear if the Bears will hold a roster spot for a player who’s not a key contributor on defense. The former sixth-round pick has played just 24 defensive snaps over two seasons in Chicago, but is a core special-teamer (303 total ST snaps since 2016).
  • Edge rusher Aaron Lynch is running out of time to earn a place on the Bears‘ roster, as Campbell writes in a full piece. Lynch has been dealing a hamstring issue since late June, and has since missed 20 practices and three preseason games. He won’t participate in Saturday’s exhibition contest, either, meaning the 25-year-old will need to show progress in Chicago’s final preseason game next Thursday. A third-round pick in 2015, Lynch flashed potential during his first two NFL seasons with San Francisco, but has played in only 14 total games over the past two years due to injuries and a suspension.

Browns Open To Extending QB Tyrod Taylor

Despite using the first overall pick on quarterback Baker Mayfield, the Browns are open to extending the contract of fellow signal-caller Tyrod Taylor, who is entering the final year of his current deal, as general manager John Dorsey explained to Kevin Clark of The Ringer.

“I just want to see Tyrod do what he’s done in the past,” Dorsey said. “He’s a natural born leader. He’s had an excellent camp so far. I want to see it unfold. There may come a point here where I call his representatives in October and say, ‘Let’s strike something up.’”

Cleveland has been adamant that Taylor will open the 2018 campaign as the club’s starting quarterback, but Mayfield is clearly viewed as the franchise’s long-term option under center. When asked if being forced to extend Taylor would cast doubt on Mayfield’s future, Dorsey answered “Nah, let’s deal with it when it happens.”

Taylor, who turned 29 years old on Friday, would surely be searching for starting quarterback money on any extension. He’s currently set to collect $16MM in total from the Browns during the upcoming season, and it’s difficult to imagine Cleveland paying two passers double-digit annual salaries, even though Mayfield’s earnings will be suppressed by the NFL’s rookie slotting system.

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Browns Rumors: Taylor, Njoku, Janis, Cribbs

Throughout the offseason, Hue Jackson has insisted there is no quarterback competition in Cleveland. Even before the Browns’ No. 1 overall pick became known, the third-year head coach said Tyrod Taylor will be his starter. And Jackson wants that to be the case for the duration of this season. As for why the Browns were steadfast with Taylor as their starter despite the team going 0-16 last season: the franchise wants to make this year about winning games rather than developing a rookie quarterback at any cost, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. Mayfield’s progressing quickly, in Cabot’s view, and showing the kind of arm talent that had Browns execs and then-consultant Scot McCloughan convinced going into the draft he could turn the franchise around. Another argument could be made that the Browns’ status as a non-contender, talent added this offseason notwithstanding, should prompt them to get Mayfield some reps early this season. Cabot does believe the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner will play this year, but for now, it doesn’t look like the Oklahoma product will be fast-tracked into the lineup like 2017 first-rounders Mitch Trubisky or Deshaun Watson were with their respective teams.

Here’s the latest from northeast Ohio:

  • One of the players Taylor will be targeting has enjoyed a strong offseason. Jackson expects David Njoku to make a major leap in his second season. “I expect to see a huge jump,” Jackson said, via Patrick Maks of ClevelandBrowns.com. “He’s very athletic. He can catch and run. He’s going to be one of our playmakers.” Njoku caught 32 passes for 386 yards and four touchdowns last season, despite the Browns having probably the worst quarterback situation in the league. The Browns noticed significant improvement from the Miami alum this offseason, and QBs coach Greg Seamon said the 6-foot-4 pass-catcher should be a “dominant receiver in the red zone.”
  • Though the Browns brought in Antonio Callaway and Damion Ratley in this year’s draft, and added Jarvis Landry via trade, there could be a spot for Jeff Janis on the 53-man roster. Cabot notes Janis has some fans in Cleveland’s new-look front office, given that he was a Packers draft pick when Eliot Wolf and Alonzo Highsmith were part of Green Bay’s operation, and believes that will help his case. Janis may well be competing against Sashi Brown-era draftees Rashard Higgins and Ricardo Louis. Cabot notes Higgins has probably had the better offseason of the two. Former first-rounder Corey Coleman is not a lock to be part of this year’s team, either, so Janis — a former seventh-round pick with 17 career catches who is at the same time well known well because of his heroics against the Cardinals in a divisional playoff game — could have an avenue to sneak onto the roster.
  • Josh Cribbs is serving as a Browns intern coach this summer, and Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer reports the former star return man interviewed to be the team’s assistant special teams coach this offseason. That job, however, went to Sam Shade. This will be Shade’s first season as an NFL assistant. However, after the Browns chose Shade over Cribbs, new special teams coordinator Amos Jones was impressed enough with Cribbs to bring him on board as an intern, per Pluto.

QB Tyrod Taylor Discusses Offseason Trade

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor has had nearly three months to reflect on his trade from the Bills to the Browns. While in Buffalo, the veteran’s hold on the starting gig was tenuous, and he discussed that situation with Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News. Specifically, Taylor touched on his relationship with Bills head coach Sean McDermott.

“Whether I was or whether I wasn’t [his guy], I’m not there anymore. That’s his decision moving forward,” he said. “I still feel that I’d done more than enough to stay where I was. But at the end of the day, they made a decision to move forward. And that’s their decision.”

Taylor acknowledged that he expected major changes when the team first hired McDermott in 2017. He was also appreciative that the head coach and general manager Brandon Beane kept him informed about the trade that would eventually send him to Cleveland.

After his breakout 2015 campaign, Taylor proved to be a reliable, turnover-limiting quarterback. While his job seemed relatively secure when he was playing for Rex Ryan, McDermott was never willing to full commit to the former sixth-rounder. Despite being benched one game for Nathan Peterman, Taylor still put up solid numbers in 2017, completing 62.6-percent of his passes for 2,799 yards, 14 touchdowns, and four interceptions. He also compiled 427 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 84 carries.

Still, while his tenure with the Bills ended unceremoniously, Taylor still has fond memories of his time with the team.

“It was special to be a part of a team last year that was able to break a 17-year (playoff) drought,” he said. “We didn’t finish the season the way we wanted to, but at the end of the day, we were able to change the culture. That was something that I set as a goal for the team. The main goal, to win a Super Bowl, wasn’t accomplished, but we were able to do some very special things in the three years that I was there and I have nothing to regret or to hang my head (about) in my time there. There’s nothing to be disappointed about.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: Which Team Best Addressed QB Spot This Offseason?

This turned out to be an important year for quarterback acquisitions. Many teams’ short- and long-term futures will depend heavily on the players they added over the past two months.

A fourth of the NFL made major investments in outside talent at the quarterback position this offseason. Which team did you think is in the best position after all the dominoes fell?

Three teams acquired their unquestioned starters via trade or free agency. The Redskins’ trade for Alex Smith ensured they were not going to pick a quarterback in the draft. As did the Vikings’ subsequent Kirk Cousins agreement. The Broncos entered the draft as a borderline QB destination, but John Elway valued Bradley Chubb more than Josh Allen or Josh Rosen, eschewing a Bills offer that would have given his team extra first- and second-round picks. So, Case Keenum is going to be Denver’s starter.

Four of the five teams that used first-round picks on quarterbacks made sure to add bridge-type solutions, with the Browns moving first to get Tyrod Taylor. The Jets and Cardinals then respectively proceeded to bring in Josh McCown, Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon. And the Bills made the final stopgap addition in A.J. McCarron. But these players, for the most part, are 2018 placeholders — at best.

Was Baker Mayfield worth the No. 1 overall pick? Or did the Browns make what could turn out to be the costliest of their spree of modern quarterback misjudgments last month? Several Cleveland executives independently rated Mayfield as the draft’s premier passer, going against the grain of the many teams that viewed Sam Darnold as this year’s top passing prospect. The Jets appear to have appreciated this bold move, and Darnold is almost certainly going to see extensive time in 2018. PFR readers believe he will.

The Bills worked the phones relentlessly in an effort to install Allen behind McCarron, and the Cardinals reportedly had the Wyoming prodigy rated as their top QB as well. But Allen could need extensive seasoning, and as of now, a returning playoff team has a fifth-year player with 133 career pass attempts set to open the season and possibly close it as the starter.

Conversely, the player the Cardinals invested in was tabbed by many draft experts as the readiest pro. And Bradford being in front of Rosen for 16 games may be asking a lot from the injury-prone veteran. The Ravens are already planning Jackson packages, and although the player whom some teams wanted to work out as a wide receiver may need a season to develop, this draft’s most dominant college QB resides in Baltimore behind Joe Flacco.

Armed with one of the league’s most talented rosters, Minnesota had the most obvious case to pursue a veteran. And the Vikings made history by authorizing a $28MM-AAV fully guaranteed deal for the soon-to-be 30-year-old Cousins, who may be the safest option among all of these players. But he’s now the league’s second-highest-paid passer and tethered to the Vikings through 2020. Smith is coming off his best NFL season, but his Chiefs teams disappointed in two home playoff opportunities. Washington could also be much further away from contention than Minnesota, and the Redskins have now brought in quarterback who for all the stability he offers is four years older.

It’s debatable the Broncos’ contention window could still be open, with many of their core Super Bowl 50 performers still on the team and having played the past two seasons without much help at quarterback. But a 5-11 team armed with only its second top-five pick since 1992 passing on two coveted QB prospects to pursue the 30-year-old Keenum, a late-blooming talent or a player who benefited from better circumstances, could also be classified as a bold choice as Rosen and Allen’s careers unfold. The Broncos only committed to Keenum for two years and are paying Football Outsiders’ No. 4 2017 DYAR passer $10MM less per year than Cousins commanded.

So, with all things considered, which of these franchises is best set up after this offseason? Did one of the teams that spent a first-round pick on a QB ensure a decade and then some of stability and promise? Or did the teams that went strictly for vets get this right? Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section!

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