Tyrod Taylor

QB Notes: Bortles, Bills, Broncos, Newton

The Jaguars have been mentioned as a quality destination for one of the higher-end quarterbacks expected to be available in free agency or via trade during what should be an intriguing offseason for teams in search of passers. But they might not be done with their current quarterback just yet.

Blake Bortles failed to clear 100 yards passing in an interesting wild-card win, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com hears (video link) the Jags are not opposed to retaining their 2014 first-rounder on the $19MM fifth-year option salary. Bortles has been wildly inconsistent this season, and Sunday’s 87-yard showing marked a season-low. Although, his 88 rushing yards were vital in the 10-3 victory. Doug Marrone also said he’s concerned about his offense heading into the team’s divisional-round game in Pittsburgh. While it should be expected the Jags will explore an upgrade prior to making a final call on Bortles, it might not be a certainty the franchise moves on from him.

Here’s more from some various quarterback situations around the league.

  • While Tyrod Taylor did not fare well against the vaunted Jags pass defense, the Bills are not against bringing him back. Rapoport reports the Bills are not expected to cut Taylor this offseason. Instead, they would rather give him a chance to compete to be the starter for a fourth season or trade him to another team in need of a quarterback. Taylor is due a $6MM roster bonus if he’s on the Bills come Day 3 of the 2018 league year and stands to earn $10MM in base salary. On a trade market that could include Eli Manning and Alex Smith, Taylor would be an interesting name — if not a consolation prize for a team that cannot land its desired upgrade. The Bills brought Taylor back in March when many expected him to be jettisoned, and Nathan Peterman does not look to be close to ready for a competition with the incumbent.
  • The Broncos will cast a wide net in attempting their unique quarterback search. Despite investing a first-round pick in Paxton Lynch in 2016, the Broncos will be exploring the notion of signing or trading for a veteran while looking for high-end help in the draft, Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post writes. Jhabvala mentions Smith as a possible candidate. Although the Chiefs trading him to a top rival may be hard to fathom, the soon-to-be 34-year-old signal-caller’s timeline (one year left on his contract) and pedigree as player who limits turnovers would seemingly complement Denver’s foundation that features a veteran defense and two 30-year-old wide receivers. For what it’s worth, Aqib Talib (via Jhabvala) predicts John Elway will chase a veteran rather than try his luck with another rookie.
  • Elway said the Broncos are not especially interested in dangling a defensive starter in potential trade talks for a passer, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets (video link). The Broncos have several established defensive starters, but with that being the team’s best facet, a trade would seem to eat into Denver’s strength should defenders be on the table in prospective talks.
  • Cam Newton left the Panthers-Saints game in the fourth quarter and staggered to the ground before reaching the sideline. He was evaluated in the team’s medical tent and did not go to the locker room. Under the post-Tom Savage-injury concussion protocol, the Panthers passer — since he indeed took a knee on the field after being hit by David Onyemata — would have needed to be examined in the locker room, per Dan Graziano and Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com (Twitter links). The Panthers said Newton was being looked at because of an eye injury, and David Newton of the Charlotte Observer said Carolina’s centerpiece was cleared of a concussion (Twitter link).

AFC Notes: Bengals, Ross, Texans, O’Brien

Before he landed on IR, the Bengals spoke with first-round pick John Ross about the possibility of moving to cornerback, Mike Florio of PFT hears. It’s not clear how serious the Bengals were about a position change or why they were thinking about it in the first place. One source speculated that it was a move to help solidify the team’s depth at cornerback and Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer hears the same thing. But, another suggested to Florio that the proposed switch had to do with Ross’ overall toughness.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • Head coach Bill O’Brien said he wants to be back with the Texans next season. “I enjoy being the head coach of the Houston Texans,” O’Brien said (Twitter link via Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com). “I expect to be here, but those decisions are not made by me.” Since taking over in Houston in 2014, O’Brien’s teams have gone a combined 31-30, including three straight 9-7 seasons and two AFC South titles.
  • O’Brien said he expects T.J. Yates to start for the Texans on Sunday against the Jaguars (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). Tom Savage was left shaking on the field after a big hit in this weekend’s loss to the Niners. He was later brought back on to the field for a series, raising questions about the league’s concussion protocol.
  • Browns head coach Hue Jackson said he doesn’t get the feeling at all that new GM John Dorsey wants to hire his own coach (Twitter link via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal). Although the team has pledged to bring Jackson back for the 2018 season, a report over the weekend indicated that Dorsey is not sold on him.
  • Head coach Sean McDermott says that Tyrod Taylor will be the Bills‘ starting quarterback this week, provided that his knee is healthy enough (Twitter link via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com). Meanwhile, backup Nathan Peterman is in the concussion protocol. The Bills finished out Sunday’s game with Joe Webb under center, so it will be at least a couple of days before they get some clarity on who their starting QB will be against Miami.

Latest On Tyrod Taylor’s Injury

The Bills fell back to .500 this season after losing to the Pats this afternoon. Head coach Sean McDermott went back to his veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor a week ago with some success, but saw his now starter leave game action once again today because of an injury to his knee. However, Taylor appears to have avoided a major setback, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Tyrod Taylor (vertical)

Rapoport reports that Taylor has told people close to him that “he’s going to be OK”, but he will undergo tests tomorrow to know for certain that he’ll avoid major surgery.

Taylor, 28, has had a roller coaster type season so far. He’s led Buffalo to a 5-2 record, then was benched for his rookie backup, and now will have to deal with an injury for the rest of the regular season. Taylor’s numbers have been solid, but unspectacular this year, throwing for 12 touchdowns and three picks, while accumulating a QBR of 53.7.

The former sixth round pick restructured his contract this past offseason, which made the signal caller only under contract for the next two seasons. Originally the contract would have ran through 2021. Although, there is a potential out in the deal after this offseason for just a modest cap hit of $8.64MM, which for a QB is not too much money to move on from.

It seems likelier that the Bills will opt to release Taylor given what’s transpired this season. If that’s the case, this recent news indicates that he will likely go into free agency mostly healthy rather than needing the offseason to rehab a more long-term ailment.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

QB Notes: Chiefs, Mahomes, Taylor, Bills

The latest on two quarterback situations to watch:

  • Chiefs coach Andy Reid told reporters after Sunday’s game that he didn’t consider replacing Alex Smith at quarterback. He also says he isn’t thinking about turning to Patrick Mahomes in KC’s next game. “That’s not where I am at right now,” Reid said (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). Smith had a rough outing on Sunday, leading many to call for the first-round rookie to take his place. The Chiefs – who are still in the mix for the AFC West crown – have dropped three straight and five of their last six.
  • Bills coach Sean McDermott says “Tyrod Taylor is “our quarterback for next week,” (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). On Sunday, Taylor led Buffalo to victory over Kansas City, a win that snapped a three-game losing streak. It’s no surprise that Taylor will remain at the helm given the W and Nathan Peterman‘s ugly five-interception game last week. If the Bills continue to win with Taylor, it could push the team to reverse course and stick with him for 2018. The Bills have the option to retain Taylor for 2018 with a reasonable $10MM salary and a $6MM roster bonus. If they want to go in a different direction, they can cut him before the bonus date in March and eat just $1MM.
  • The Chiefs need to start thinking about a shift to Mahomes, ESPN.com’s Adam Teicher argues. The Chiefs were the league’s last unbeaten team at 5-0, but their playoff position is now in serious peril. It would be a lot for KC to ask Mahomes to take over right now, but Teicher is of the opinion that the Chiefs should make the switch if Smith falters again. Smith, entering his age-34 season, is under contract for 2018 at a $20.6MM cap number. The Chiefs can save $17MM and eat just $3.6MM by releasing him before June 1, however. Installing Mahomes as the starter could help the Chiefs salvage this season while better informing their big decision in the offseason.

Bills To Start Tyrod Taylor At QB

After a disastrous game, the Bills are pulling the plug on the Nathan Peterman experiment. Starting this week, the Bills will reinstall Tyrod Taylor as the starting quarterback. Tyrod Taylor (vertical)

It’s the right thing for our team. It was my decision and it will always be about what’s best for our team,” McDermott told reporters.

The Bills shocked everyone last week when they announced that Taylor would be benched in favor of the rookie QB. Taylor has admittedly been shaky this season, but the change seemed risky and a bit too future-minded for a team still in the thick of the playoff chase. After Peterman had a historically bad outing against the Chargers, the Bills are flip-flopping and hoping that it’s not too late to land themselves a wild card spot.

Taylor’s performance in these final six games (assuming he holds on to the starting job) will impact the Bills’ playoff chances as well as his own future with the team. The Bills can keep Taylor at an affordable $10MM salary for 2o18 with a $6MM roster bonus due in March. Alternatively, the Bills can cut him early in the league year, leaving them on the hook for just $1MM.

Taylor’s first assignment will be to lead the Bills to victory over the Chiefs on Sunday. According to Football Outsiders, the 5-5 Bills still have a 23.7% chance of making the playoffs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Dolphins, Jets, Rosen, Darnold, McDermott, Bills QB’s, Kizer, Broncos Offense

The Dolphins dropped their fourth game in a row when the Bucs broke away in the fourth quarter of today’s contest, which has James Walker of ESPN.com saying that the team will start have to turn their attention to 2018. While Walker does note that the coaches and players will say that they’re still in the wild card hunt, the reality is that the team is showing no signs of making a run during the remaining weeks of the regular season. It’s a sobering thought for second-year head coach Adam Gase, who led Miami to a playoff birth during his first season as the Dolphins leader.

In addition to the defeat, the team also lost starting quarterback Jay Cutler to a concussion during today’s game. Cutler has already missed time earlier in the season, but the Dolphins continue to have an identity problem at the position, according to Adam Beasley of The Miami Herald. Although Matt Moore was effective in relief of Cutler in Week 11, the team did not signal what they intend to do at the quarterback position a week from now.

Gase told Beasley after the game that, “I want to get to tomorrow first, see how [Cutler is] feeling.” These situations usually get more light shed on them as the practice week goes on, however the Dolphins find themselves stuck in an unassuming gray area of the league with two veteran signal callers that can’t be relied on to deliver in the future. Miami still has Ryan Tannehill signed to a long-term deal when he fully recovers from his season-ending knee injury, but he hasn’t truly grabbed the reigns of the franchise since the team took the quarterback in the first round back in 2012.

  • Another team definitely looking ahead in regards to the QB position is the Jets, who had their general manager Mike Maccagnan, vice president of personnel Brian Heimerdinger and area scout Brian Shields on hand for the USC-UCLA game on Saturday to watch two of the best 2018 NFL Draft QB prospects in Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold square off, reports Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. Cimini notes the interesting behavior of Maccagnan in particular, who he saw writing a “copious” amount of notes and decided to watch the game from behind the sidelines instead of in the press box, where most of the NFL scouts were sitting. The Jets are likely to cast a wide net in their search for their next franchise signal, but it would seem that the front office has a significant amount of interest in two of the best college quarterbacks in the country.
  • The Bills have produced themselves a tremendous QB controversy when they shockingly decided to bench starter Tyrod Taylor for rookie Nathan Peterman. However, after Peterman threw five interceptions in the first half of today’s loss at the hands of the Chargers, head coach Sean McDermott is confident and says that he is not second guessing his decision, according to Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. The head coach didn’t reveal his intentions for who will start next week, even though Taylor did finish out the game today. The coach just said, “I’m going to evaluate.” when asked about his QB questions in his postgame media session, reports Vic Carruci of the Buffalo News (Twitter link).
  • On the other hand, Browns head coach Hue Jackson committed to his rookie signal caller for the rest of the season after today’s game, reports Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Jackson has turned to both Kevin Hogan and Cody Kessler throughout the season, but he seemed very set on DeShone Kizer after his team suffered their 10th straight loss of the 2017 season. “Where we are right now, I need to continue to see him,” said Jackson. “Let’s let him play. Let’s let him play this thing out. As long as he’s healthy, let’s keep putting him out there. I want to walk away from this season knowing exactly what DeShone Kizer is top to bottom. He deserves that. I know this is all tough for him. Week in and week out, it’s the consistency he has to keep chasing. He just has to keep working at it.” While seeing how Kizer reacts to this adversity seems like the franchise’s main priority, they’re quickly running out of chances to not fall into the same breadth as the 2008 Lions, who were the first team in league history to go 0-16 in a season.
  • The Broncos suffered their sixth straight loss at the hands of the Bengals after starting out 3-1 to start the season. The team has shifted to backup Brock Osweiler and could be looking to implement second-year quarterback Paxton Lynch at some point in the remaining six weeks of the season. However, apart from the QB problems, the team is apparently dealing with pushback from players regarding their current offensive scheme, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Sources tell the reporter that players are starting to show frustration with the way the offense is running. The team does have two very good receivers in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, but there are a ton of holes throughout the unit that schemes won’t hide. We’ll see how first-year head coach Vance Joseph reacts to the losing streak, but it’s turning out that this is a lost season for the Super Bowl 50 champions.

La Canfora’s Latest: Bills, P. Manning, Giants, Goodell

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor is likely to be an attractive trade chip this offseason due to his relative youth, upside, and athleticism (not to mention his reasonable salary). Taylor is due a $6MM roster bonus in the first week of free agency this March, and even when he inked his current deal, it was speculated that Buffalo could cut Taylor before having to pay out that bonus. So while teams theoretically could wait for the Bills to release Taylor — they did just bench him, after all — La Canfora’s sources indicate that the ability to land him at a reasonable contract and secure his rights for at least 2018 would lead to someone giving Buffalo something of reasonable value.

Indeed, aside from the $6MM roster bonus, Taylor is owed a fairly modest $10MM base salary, and it’s not as if the free agent QB market is likely to set the world on fire. Plus, there will be plenty of teams who are unable to address their QB needs in the draft. La Canfora names the Jaguars, Broncos, Cardinals, and Saints as potential landing spots for Taylor, and he says the Bills will be doing their own homework on the 2018 quarterback draft class. He also says the Bills could continue to look to trade Cordy Glenn this offseason.

Now for more from La Canfora, who has again treated us to a bevy of Sunday morning notes:

  • Taylor might draw plenty of trade interest this offseason, but La Canfora writes that the Bills had been weighing the decision to start Nathan Peterman over Taylor for weeks, and the team’s slow starts and inability to throw the ball downfield ultimately forced the change.
  • We have heard plenty of speculation about the Browns‘ desire to bring future Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning on board in some sort of high-level capacity, and La Canfora writes that club owner Jimmy Haslam is serious about recruiting Manning and could be willing to offer him a small stake in the team as incentive to take on a team president/top executive role.
  • Although Giants ownership recently indicated that head coach Ben McAdoo would at least get the opportunity to finish out the season before they make a decision on his future with the club, La Canfora says the club’s evaluation will not be limited to the coaching staff. He believes ownership could also make changes to the personnel side of team operations, suggesting that GM Jerry Reese could be on the hot seat.
  • La Canfora says that Roger Goodell never demanded $50MM per year and use of a private jet for life as part of his contract extension, as was reported last week. Instead, the structure that Goodell agreed to weeks ago will pay him a base salary of $20MM per year, with a chance to hit $200MM over five years if all incentives are met (Goodell had been earning about $40MM per year under his present contract). His new deal is still awaiting a formal signing/announcement.

Bills Bench Taylor, Start Peterman

The Bills are making a major change under center. Nathan Peterman will start on Sunday against the Chargers instead of Tyrod Taylor, coach Sean McDermott announced on Wednesday morning. 

This is about becoming a better team. Tyrod has made improvements,” McDermott told reporters. “This is not an indictment on Tyrod. He is an important part of our team and will continue to be an important part of our team…I‘ve been impressed with Nate and his maturity at a very early point in his career. He has certainly worked hard. … The other day, we [saw] some good things, albeit it was a small sample size in a regular season. That said, he has a lot of work to do, just like we all do.

The announcement comes as a shock, particularly since the Bills are in the playoff mix. Granted, the Bills have lost their last two games, including a lopsided defeat at the hands of the Saints last week. In the midst of the blowout, Peterman was given the opportunity to take over. When he did, he marched the Bills down the field for their only touchdown of the game.

The QB change signals that the Bills will be moving on from Taylor this offseason. Buffalo’s deal with Taylor will allow the team to release him after this season without major penalty. Only $1MM of his $10MM salary is guaranteed for next year and he’ll be due a $6MM roster bonus early on in the 2018 league year. By cutting him before that roster date, the Bills can free themselves of most of the obligation.

When he came on board in the offseason, McDermott did his best to give the impression that Taylor would hold on to the job. After some shaky performances, however, the new regime is turning to some new blood.

He is, in Tyrod Taylor,” McDermott said in May when asked if the team’s QB of the future was already on the roster. “We’ve drafted Nathan Peterman, …I’m not sure there is a team out there that has the depth that we do at the quarterback position. So we feel good about that. We’re anxious to see how Tyrod develops in his third year as a starter in a new system, a system that he has some familiarity with in terms of [new Buffalo offensive coordinator] Rick Dennison’s system in Baltimore a few years back with Gary Kubiak.”

For his part, Taylor is handling the news like a professional.

I’m obviously disappointed and it’s a decision that I don’t agree with,” Taylor said (via the team’s Twitter). “Ultimately, it’s Coach McDermott’s decision and I need to continue to be the leader and teammate that I know I can be.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Dolphins, Brady, Taylor, Colts

The NFL postponed the DolphinsBuccaneers‘ Week 1 game until Week 11 due to Hurricane Irma (Twitter link). Both teams had byes that week, making this rare postponement easier. Both south Florida teams will now play 16 straight games.

Here’s the latest from several other AFC cities on Wednesday morning.

  • After a joint review by the NFL and NFLPA, the Patriots were determined to have followed protocol regarding a potential Tom Brady concussion last season, the sides said in a statement (via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, on Twitter). Brady’s wife, Gisele Bundchen, said earlier this offseason her husband suffered a concussion last season that wasn’t reported by the Patriots. Brady issued a vague response when asked about this in July, but the quarterback turned over his medical records during this investigation — one that examined film from all 19 Patriots games, along with reports from unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants and concussion spotters assigned to those respective games. While the NFL isn’t claiming Bundchen is lying about the concussions, Volin tweets this examination merely determined the Patriots followed protocol. This matter appears to be closed, from the league’s perspective.
  • Tyrod Taylor‘s agent contacted the Browns, Jets and 49ers prior to the Bills agreeing to a revamped deal with their incumbent starter, Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News reports. After those discussions, Carucci reports Taylor’s camp decided it was best to agree to the reworked Bills pact. The three teams possessed some degree of interest in Taylor had he hit free agency, but it evidently wasn’t enough to dissuade Taylor from staying with the Bills on a contract that now pays him $10MM less over the next two years than it would have under the previous terms. “Maybe a couple less touchdowns, but as far as yardage, I did what I did to get that deal in the first place,” Taylor said, via Carucci, about the adjusted contract. “So whether they thought that I didn’t deserve it, I don’t know. That’s up to them.” Taylor threw for just 12 fewer yards last season (3,023) and rushed for 12 more (580) than he did in 2015. Although, the quarterback played in one more game last season than he did during his first year as Buffalo’s starter.
  • The Texans‘ deal with cornerback Marcus Burley is for two years, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. A former sixth-round pick, Burley’s played in 38 games during his three-year career. After two seasons with the Seahawks, Burley played with the Browns in 2016. Cleveland cut him last week.
  • The Colts worked out offensive lineman Emmett Cleary, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The Cowboys cut Cleary on Saturday after he played in 13 games for them last season.
  • Newly acquired Steelers defensive backs Joe Haden and J.J. Wilcox account for a combined $5.541MM in 2017 cap hits, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes. Pittsburgh now holds $11.07MM in cap space.

Bills Place QB T.J. Yates On IR

The Bills announced that they have placed quarterback T.J. Yates on injured reserve. In other QB news, the Bills confirmed that Tyrod Taylor will be ready to go for Week 1 against the Jets. T.J. Yates (vertical)

Both Yates and Taylor suffered concussions in August, putting the team’s QB depth in serious jeopardy. The team signed Joe Webb on Monday to brace for the possibility that rookie Nathan Peterman would be left as the team’s only other healthy signal caller. Now that Taylor has been given the green light, Webb may or may not stick on the roster as the QB3. Yates will be eligible to return after eight weeks, if the Bills want to use one of their two IR-DTR spots on him.

In other news, the Bills signed safety Colt Anderson and defensive tackle Cedric Thornton. Defensive tackle Deandre Coleman has been released.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.