Tyrod Taylor

AFC Notes: Jets, Chargers, Ivory, Maclin

A video emerged on Twitter this weekend allegedly showing Jets linebacker Darron Lee in an apparent altercation with a woman at the Governors Ball Music Festival on Randall’s Island. The video shows a man shouting at a woman, and the Twitter user claimed the individual proceeded to “manhandle her’’ and “call her names.’’

Jets defensive end Leonard Williams can also be seen in the video physically restraining his teammate, according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. Williams’ Instagram account showed that quarterback Bryce Petty was also at the festival.

We are aware of the reports,” a Jets spokesman said (via Schwartz). “We are taking them seriously, and we are looking into the specifics of the situation. We will have no further comment at this time.”

Lee, a 2016 first-round pick, appeared in 13 games (nine starts) with the Jets last season, compiling 73 tackles and one sack.

Let’s take a look at other notes from around the AFC…

  • Danny Woodhead signed with the Ravens this offseason, so ESPN.com’s Eric D. Williams took a look at current Chargers who could replace the departed running back’s production. The writer points to Branden Oliver and Kenjon Barner as players who could serve as the pass-catching back behind starter Melvin Gordon.
  • We learned yesterday that running back LeSean McCoy was recruiting former teammate Jeremy Maclin to join the Bills. Now it looks like quarterback Tyrod Taylor is also looking to touch base with the free agent receiver. “Today was the first day I seen Shady,” Taylor told Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News. “We texted about it, but [I] want to get Maclin’s number and try to reach out to him. Just to see what his thoughts, what is he thinking moving forward and try to get him here.”
  • After a season that saw him compile only 439 rushing yards, Jaguars running back Chris Ivory wants to prove that he’s still capable of starting in the NFL. Unfortunately, despite his experience, the veteran has fourth-overall pick Leonard Fournette breathing down his neck. While the odds seem to be against the 29-year-old, he’s still confident that his 2016 woes are a thing of the past. “One thing about it, people and everybody are going to have their opinions,’’ Ivory told John Reid of the Florida Times-Union. “Mainly, the people that know nothing about football. They don’t know the things we go through to get to this point. What we actually face before we come out for those games…Most of the stuff the people on the outside see are the mistakes and the bad things you do. It’s not always going to go the way you want. I think a lot of people that like to see guys get a 1,000 yards each year, but it just don’t work that way.’’

Extra Points: Cousins, Fitz, Bills, L. Green

Franchise-tagged quarterback Kirk Cousins has spoken highly of Redskins brass lately, but it remains doubtful that the two sides will agree to a long-term contract by the July 15 deadline, writes Rich Tandler of CSNMidAtlantic.com. Cousins has little incentive to take Washington’s $20MM-per-year offer, observes Tandler, as he’s set to make a fully guaranteed ~$24MM as the team’s franchise player this season and could earn another $34MM in 2018 in the unlikely event it places the franchise tag on him again. Otherwise, Cousins could be in position next offseason to hit free agency and ink a lucrative contract with either the Redskins or someone else.

More from around the NFL:

  • Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s one-year, $3MM deal with the Buccaneers could be worth up to $5MM, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). With Fitzpatrick now off the board, the only remaining free agent QBs who started a game in 2016 are Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III and Shaun Hill, notes Field Yates of ESPN (on Twitter). In case you missed it, Tampa Bay did not consider signing Kaepernick before it tabbed Fitzpatrick to serve as Jameis Winston‘s backup in 2017.
  • The Bills made a few changes to their scouting staff Friday, most notably hiring former Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey as a senior college scout, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). Hickey only lasted as Miami’s GM from 2014-15, but he previously worked in a scouting capacity for several years in Tampa Bay. Along with Hickey, the Bills added scouts Gerald Dixon, Doug Majeski and Brian Fisher, per Mike Rodak of ESPN.com (via Twitter). The team dismissed all three last month, but they’ll return in newly hired GM Brandon Beane‘s front office.
  • Speaking of the Bills, quarterback Tyrod Taylor has gotten off to a nice start in OTAs in new offensive coordinator Rick Dennison‘s system, says James Palmer of NFL Network (video link). Taylor is familiar with both Dennison and the Gary Kubiak-created system the Bills are using, as the passer studied it in Baltimore as Joe Flacco‘s backup from 2011-14 (Dennison was the Ravens’ QBs coach in 2014). Moreover, Kubiak has always regarded Taylor as a good fit for the system, per Palmer. That could bode well for Taylor as he enters a crucial season in Buffalo, which will have the opportunity to easily escape his contract next winter.
  • Although injuries (especially to the head) have beset tight end Ladarius Green in recent years, he’s not planning to retire. After the Steelers released the 26-year-old on Thursday, a player Green spoke with told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com that he’s hoping to catch on elsewhere as a free agent (Twitter link). Ankle and head issues limited Green to six games and 18 receptions in 2016, the first season of a four-year, $20MM contract.

East Rumors: Brady, Patriots, Bills, Taylor

Recently, Tom Brady was asked if he is annoyed that Bill Belichick hasn’t traded Jimmy Garoppolo and his non-answer might raise some eyebrows.

When you’re a member of a team sport, the best guy plays,” the Patriots quarterback told Ian O’Connor of ESPN.com. “So I always want to make sure I’m the best guy, and I give our team a great chance to win. But if you’re ever not [the best guy], part of being a great teammate is letting the other guy do that, as well. Competition is what has always driven me. I’ve never been one that was hand selected, to be this particular player. … In high school, college, professionally, I think the greater the competition, the more that it really allows me to dig deep and bring the best out of me.”

Of course, this is a far cry from Brady saying that he’s peeved at the team for not trading the backup QB, but he didn’t shoot the notion down when given the opportunity either. The Patriots were at least mulling a Garoppolo trade at some point this offseason, but it seems that they set an extremely high asking price because they ultimately did not want to part with him.

Here’s more from the AFC and NFC East:

  • In an interview on Monday, Bills GM Brandon Beane said Tyrod Taylor will probably be the team’s starting QB, but he cautioned that he’s “not in business of handing out jobs on May the 15th,” (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Mike Rodak).
  • Giants kicker Aldrick Rosas cleared a giant hurdle this weekend when the team declined to sign veteran Travis Coons after a weekend tryout. “I try not to focus on the competition,” Rosas told James Kratch of NJ.com. “I just try to focus on how I can improve myself and be the best specialist I can be.” For now, Rosas stands as the only kicker on the team’s roster.
  • The Jets auditioned running back Stevan Ridley last week.

Q&A With Bills’ McDermott, Beane

The Bills are in the midst of a 17-season playoff drought, but the new regime is hopeful that things will be turning around fast. New head coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane have some history together thanks to their time with the Panthers and the duo is ready to change the culture in Buffalo. During a conference call with Peter King of The MMQB, both men discussed their shared past and the future of the franchise. Here’s a look at some of the highlights:

Is Buffalo’s quarterback of the future on the roster now?

McDermott: He is, in Tyrod Taylor. And then when you look at the competition we have behind him. We’ve drafted Nathan Peterman, we’ve added T.J. Yates, and then Cardale Jones in the draft a year ago. 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 KubiakTyrod Taylor (vertical)

Beane: We have open competition everywhere. Obviously it is a quarterback league, but with Tyrod … He has some tools, his speed, he is tough to game-plan for. He has some strengths and he is still a young starter in this league. It is going to be a competition for every position, to let them fight it out and earn the right to start on this team.

[RELATED: Bills Name Joe Schoen Assistant GM]

How do you both feel about being tied at the hip?

Beane: That was part of the attraction of the job. There were a lot of attractions, but I don’t have to get to know the guy I am going to be working side by side with personally, away from the office. I already know that. I have that box checked. I know that this guy is going to have my back, and he knows I am going to have his back. And that’s a huge thing in this business. We know how important it is to trust each other. It’s so funny when people ask, Who’s got control? Who has the 53-man roster? Honestly, we don’t care about it. We are going to make decisions together and we are going to talk about everything that affects the roster, the staff, and that is what’s exciting. You don’t get that everywhere. You read about dysfunction in various organizations, and that is part of the reason I am here. I did not want to leave Carolina for something I was unsure of. This seemed like as sure a thing as there can be in the NFL, to partner up with Sean.

McDermott: Sometimes you get a chance and you have to take it. I wanted him to know that there is a soft landing on this side because of his familiarity with me. If we are tied at the hip, there is no one I would rather be tied at the hip with than Brandon.

Why should a Bills fan believe in you both?

Beane: We have to keep the same mindset we’ve had our whole career. Keep our head down, work on ourselves, learn our strengths, learn our weaknesses, and then obviously know our division. And then one of the first things you want to do for success is win your division. We feel bad for the city of Buffalo. These fans have had to endure a 17-year deal, but we’re focused on being part of the solution with the whole organization to get it right.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fallout From Bills’ Front Office Shakeup

The Bills deciding to trade out of their No. 10 slot, when the Chiefs surrendered their 2018 first-rounder to headline a package that netted them Patrick Mahomes, indicated Doug Whaley was not going to be around much longer, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes. Buffalo moving down 17 spots — a move the Bills were believed to be pushing for prior to the draft — signaled a long-term plan more than one designed to help an embattled GM’s team win now. (However, Chiefs GM John Dorsey told B.J. Kissel of KCChiefs.com — Twitter link — Whaley was involved in talks that originated early this week.)

Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com notes the Bills’ chaotic front office situation goes back to 2014, when Terry and Kim Pegula took over and were surprised when Doug Marrone exercised an opt-out option that garnered him $4MM and left the Bills without a coach despite having completed a rare over-.500 season in 2014. The current Jaguars HC’s 9-7 campaign, aided the Patriots resting starters in Week 17 of that season, represents the most the Bills wins since 2004.

La Canfora notes Whaley has not gotten along especially well with any of his coaches, describing less-than-ideal relationships with both Marrone and Rex Ryan, and the one with Sean McDermott did not take off. Bill Polian declined to join the Bills in January of 2015, and La Canfora notes that decision kept Whaley in charge and helped lead to Marrone bolting on his contract.

Now running the show in Buffalo, McDermott was not happy the Patriots plucked Stephon Gilmore in free agency, La Canfora writes. The RFA decisions on Chris Hogan and Mike Gillislee did not help, either. The CBS-based reporter notes some of Pegula’s confidants advised him to fire Whaley years ago. The Bills signed Whaley to an extension last year, however.

A source categorized the Bills’ draft room this weekend as “one of the weirdest three days,” per Breer, due to the fact a leadership component wasn’t entirely present. McDermott, though, was the one who was providing the final say, Breer reports. The first-year HC was given autonomy to remove prospects from the draft board as well. Pegula said today Whaley put together the draft and the organization decided to fire him after the three-day event, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com relays.

Scouts were upset with Ryan’s program last year, Breer notes, adding that Bills coaches felt some of Whaley’s draft decisions — be it the trade-up for Sammy Watkins or selection of injury-risk Shaq Lawson — didn’t fit the schemes they were using. As for Watkins, it’s possible the Bills made his injury situation worse. Breer reports that the wideout’s foot injury was too severe for him to complete walkthroughs, but no one put a stop to his comeback attempt, and the pain worsened as he pushed through it to lead to a two-month shutdown. Watkins returned for the final six games but only cleared 80 receiving yards twice, albeit on a run-centric team. Already rumored to be set to decline Watkins’ fifth-year option, the Bills are probably more likely to go in that direction now that Whaley is gone, Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap tweets.

Further complicating things with McDermott: Anthony Lynn was Whaley’s first HC choice, according to Breer, and ownership went with the former Panthers DC — with whom Whaley did not have much of a relationship — while letting Lynn proceed to the Chargers’ job. Tyrod Taylor‘s return on an adjusted deal also went against Whaley’s wishes and was more in line with new OC Rick Dennison‘s. The latter was the Broncos’ OC when the team pursued Taylor in 2015.

As far as the selection of the next GM, the Pegulas might not lean on team president Russ Brandon too much, with Terry Pegula saying today the owners would ask Brandon questions if they believed they need to (Twitter link via Breer). Former Eagles president and Browns CEO Joe Banner understandably expects the new GM to be someone with close ties to McDermott, the longtime exec told Sirius XM Radio (Twitter link). Panthers assistant GM Brandon Beane could well become a candidate.

Contract Details: Taylor, Cook, Willson

The latest contract details from around the NFL:

  • Tyrod Taylor, QB (Bills): Taylor earns an additional $500K if the Bills make it to the divisional round of the playoffs in 2017, which becomes $1MM if they advance to the AFC Championship, and $2MM if they advance to the Super Bowl. The same package of incentives applies to 2018 (via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk).
  • Jared Cook, TE (Raiders): Two years, $10.6MM, $1.6MM in incentives (effectively a one-year $5.3MM deal with $800K in incentives) (Twitter link via Ben Volin of The Boston Globe).
  • Luke Willson, TE (Seahawks): One year, $1.8MM, $1MM in incentives (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle).
  • Kayvon Webster, CB (Rams): Two years, $7.75MM. Salaries of $2.75MM (guaranteed), $3MM. $1MM 2017 roster bonus guaranteed, $500K 2018 roster bonus guaranteed. (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Sean Spence, LB (Colts): One year, $2.5MM. $750K signing bonus. $500K in incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Kendall Wright, WR (Bears): One year, $2MM. $250K signing bonus. $2MM in incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).

Terms Of Tyrod Taylor’s New Bills Deal

Tyrod Taylor‘s camp insisted that it was an all or nothing proposition: the Bills either had to pick up his five-year option with $30.5MM guaranteed or the quarterback would test the open market. Amidst rumblings that Bills brass wasn’t all that high on Taylor anyway, it seemed like a sure thing that the QB would reach free agency. Then, out of nowhere, the Bills and Taylor agreed to a restructured deal to keep him under center. Details were a bit sparse at the time, but we now have additional info on the revamped pact. Tyrod Taylor (vertical)

Taylor’s restructured Bills deal is a two-year, $30.5MM pact, which is less than the $40.5MM he would have made under the terms of the option (Twitter link via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com). However, Taylor benefits here because he will be eligible for free agency following the 2018 season. Under the old deal, he would have remained under Bills control through the 2021 campaign.

The structure of the new deal could lead the Bills to go through the same song and dance next year. Only $1MM of his $10MM salary in 2018 is guaranteed and he’ll be due a $6MM roster bonus early on in the 2018 league year. If Taylor is retained through 2018 and plays well, there will also be a decision to make on whether to use the franchise tag. In that scenario, Taylor would probably prefer to test the open market unencumbered since he’ll still only be entering his age-30 season.

Assuming the two sides see this new contract through until the end, he’ll have a $9.713MM cap number in 2017 and a $18.08MM cap number in 2018. In the original five-year option, Taylor’s 2018 cap number would have been $16.78MM. The deal will automatically void if he’s on the roster just after the Super Bowl in February 2019. Then, the Bills will carry $4.2MM for 2019 in dead money in 2019, representing the leftover portion of his $7MM signing bonus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Jones, Taylor, Branch, D-Jax, Bitonio, Davis

Here’s the latest on some of the latest contracts agreed to this week.

  • Chandler Jonesfive-year Cardinals extension will pay him $16.5MM per year, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com tweets. Jones will make $53MM in guaranteed money from his second NFL contract, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports adds (on Twitter).
  • Tyrod Taylor‘s restructured Bills deal is a two-year, $30.5MM pact, La Canfora reports (on Twitter), adding that the rest of it voids after 2018. Taylor will make $15.5MM in guarantees as a result of the re-done pact and $14.5MM in 2017. La Canfora adds the quarterback stands to collect $16MM in ’18.
  • Andre Branch‘s three-year Dolphins deal is worth $24MM, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reports (on Twitter). Volin adds the contract includes two fully guaranteed years– at $17MM — for the 27-year-old pass-rusher. Volin adds that Branch could see $3.75MM more via incentives. Branch will receive a $6MM signing bonus, make $2.9MM in base salary in 2017, $7.9MM in ’18 and $6.9MM in ’19, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter).
  • DeSean Jackson‘s Buccaneers pact will be worth approximately $11MM per year, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports.
  • Joel Bitonio‘s five-year Browns extension will pay out $47.5MM in base salary, Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com tweets, adding $23MM in guarantees are included. The new deal kicks in after Bitonio’s 2017 season, so he’s under contract in Cleveland through 2022.
  • Vernon Davis‘ second Redskins contract will include a $4MM signing bonus and $7.5MM guaranteed, Wilson tweets. His base salaries from 2017-19, respectively, are $2MM, $3.75MM and $4.75MM.
  • Courtney Upshaw re-signing with the Falcons on a one-year deal will result in $1.15MM coming his way in 2017, Wilson tweets. The defender gets a $125K signing bonus and will make $775K in base salary this season.

Bills Keep Tyrod Taylor

This is a bit of a surprise, but the Bills will be keeping Tyrod Taylor after all. The team announced that the quarterback will remain in Buffalo on a restructured deal. The new deal will cover five year, and it will become a “year-to-year agreement” following the first two years, per Vic Carrucci of the Buffalo News. Taylor’s cap charge will decrease from $16MM to just under $10MM in 2017, according to Carrucci.

Tyrod Taylor (vertical)This offseason, the Bills held an option on Taylor worth $27.5MM option, due March 11th. That number was unpalatable for Buffalo management and Taylor’s reps were holding firm, telling the organization that it was an “all or nothing” proposition if they wanted to keep him off the open market. Ultimately, Taylor caved a bit in order to stay put.

Based on recent word out of Buffalo, it seems that top decision makers like GM Doug Whaley, senior VP of football administration Jim Overdorf, and team president Russ Brandon were against bringing Taylor back. However, new head coach Sean McDermott advocated for Taylor’s return, citing a lack of quality options in free agency.

“I’ve gotten a chance to know Tyrod and study him over the past several weeks and he is both a great person and competitor,” McDermott said today (via Carucci on Twitter). “Doug (Whaley) and I are confident this was best move for the Bills at this time.”

After spending the first four seasons of his career in Baltimore, the former ACC Player of the Year signed a three-year, $3.35MM deal with the Bills in 2015. Taylor ended up earning the starting gig in Buffalo, and he went on to make the Pro Bowl that season.

The third year of that contract was voided since Taylor ended up playing more than 50-percent of the team’s snaps in 2015. As a result, the Bills extended the quarterback for six years and $92MM. The 27-year-old ultimately completed 61.7-percent of his passes for 3,023 yards, 17 touchdowns, and six interceptions in 2016. He also added another 580 yards and six touchdowns on the ground.

Of course, those numbers were compiled in “only” 15 games. Taylor was inactive for the team’s season finale as the Bills looked to slide out of his 2017 guaranteed salary.

The Jets, 49ers, Browns, and Cardinals were among the team’s reportedly eying the Taylor situation.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On QB Market

There are a lot of moving pieces in this year’s quarterback market, and the Patriots’ Jimmy Garoppolo, despite recent reports suggesting he would not be traded, remains the forefront of the discussion. Per Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, New England is willing to deal Garoppolo, but the team has not yet received an offer approaching its asking price for Tom Brady‘s top backup. Howe writes that the current asking price is believed to be a first- and second-round draft pick, but the Patriots will not simply flip Garoppolo to the highest bidder. If the team is not “properly compensated,” they will not make a deal.

Tyrod Taylor (vertical)

Meanwhile, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that the Bills are not expected to retain Tyrod Taylor under his current contract (we heard several days ago that Buffalo was leaning against keeping Taylor, though there is a split among the club’s top decision-makers in that regard). Assuming Taylor does hit the open market, La Canfora expects the Browns to emerge as the front-runner for his services. Indeed, Taylor has strong ties to some members of the Browns staff already, and if Cleveland is able to acquire him, the club could use its two first-round selections on the best player available and would not have to reach for a quarterback or deal one (or both) picks for Garoppolo.

La Canfora also reports that the Bears have the strongest interest in Mike Glennon at the moment, and sources around the league believe Chicago will push hard to acquire him. The Bears also love Garoppolo, but they do not want to meet the Patriots’ asking price (all of that is consistent with reports that our Sam Robinson passed along last night). La Canfora projects Glennon, who turned down an $8MM/year offer from Tampa Bay, to receive an incentive-laden contract with an AAV of around $12MM.

Interestingly, Glennon has no official agent at this point, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. That’s significant because when the “legal tampering” period opens on Tuesday, teams can negotiate with agents representing free agents, but not with the free agents directly. Jason Cole of Bleacher Report tweets that teams with interest in Glennon are working under the assumption that David Dunn is his agent.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.