Tyrod Taylor

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.

AFC Rumors: Bills, Bortles, Patriots, Broncos

Marcell Dareus‘ standing with the new Bills regime took a hit Saturday night when the team sent the cornerstone defensive tackle home from its preseason game against the Ravens for violating a team rule. The nature of the violation isn’t known, but first-year GM Brandon Beane addressed the matter pregame.

A guy with his contract status, you’d hope he’d be a better leader than that,” Beane said, via CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora (on Twitter).

A quadriceps injury has slowed the seventh-year defensive tackle in practice, so it’s uncertain he would have played anyway. Nevertheless, this is another run-in with authority for Dareus, who hasn’t been eligible to play in a Week 1 game since 2014. He was suspended for four games last season and one in 2015, and as Mike Rodak of ESPN.com points out, benched in multiple games under Doug Marrone in 2013 because he showed up late to meetings.

Here’s the latest out of Buffalo and some other AFC cities as the league’s most relevant preseason week continues.

  • Shortly after the Bills sent Dareus home, they lost their quarterback to a concussion. Tyrod Taylor left the game because of a head injury, the team announced. He is in the concussion protocol. A third-down sack led to Taylor’s removal from the game. Nathan Peterman replaced the starter.
  • One key facet of Blake Bortles‘ game got him the nod to make a third straight Week 1 Jaguars start over Chad Henne. Marrone pointed to Bortles’ scrambling ability as the key, Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union notes. Bortles has rushed for 1,088 yards in his three-year career, and the Jags face the Texans and Ravens during the first two weeks of the season. O’Halloran writes this decision doesn’t change the Jags’ 2018 draft strategy, when another quarterback figures to be in play (barring an unexpected Bortles bounce-back effort).
  • The Patriots cut Kony Ealy a week early in order to help the former Panthers defensive end catch on with his next team early, thus giving him a better shot to make an impact in 2017, Bill Belichick said. “I just think it’s one of those things that didn’t work out or wasn’t going to work out,” Belichick said, via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. “Nobody’s fault. He worked hard. We worked hard. A lot of effort put in, but in the end, we didn’t feel like this was going to work out. It gives him an opportunity about a week ahead of next week to hopefully create a better opportunity for himself.” Ealy will be placed on waivers.
  • Saddled with a ravaged defensive end corps, the Broncos would make sense as an Ealy fit. But Troy Renck of Denver7 said the team doesn’t plan to pursue him (Twitter link). Denver is without Derek Wolfe and Jared Crick for the time being and saw recently re-signed defensive lineman Billy Winn tear an ACL in the Broncos’ first preseason game. UFA addition Zach Kerr also left the Broncos’ preseason game Saturday with a first-half knee injury. Ealy’s best game came against the Broncos, with the former second-round pick sacking Peyton Manning three times and intercepting him once in Super Bowl 50.

Extra Points: Bills, Taylor, Lions, Wilson

Here’s a look around the NFL:

  • Bills coach Sean McDermott says he is not considering a quarterback change, despite comments that made it seem as though he could move away from Tyrod Taylor (Twitter link via Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News). Taylor struggled against Jacksonville on Thursday night, leading some to speculate that rookie Nathan Peterman could step in as the starter. The Bills inked Taylor to a new two-year deal this past offseason, but they’re really only tied to him through 2017. Only $1MM of his $10MM salary in 2018 is guaranteed and he could theoretically be released before he can collect on his $6MM roster bonus early in the 2018 league year.
  • Lions coach Jim Caldwell says safety Tavon Wilson could still face a potential suspension for the civil lawsuit filed against him by his ex-girlfriend. “The league has the information,” Caldwell said (via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press). “They’ll look at, they’ll make a determination. If there’s an issue they’ll let us know. So that’s all we can do.” The woman claims that Wilson and his friends threw her to the ground and broke her nose, but the safety was not charged with any crimes relating to the May 2016 incident.
  • The Colts did not pursue Jeremy Zuttah as hard as the Ravens did, Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star (Twitter links) hears. The Colts also had a need for Zuttah in the wake of Ryan Kelly‘s injury, but their offer apparently didn’t measure up to Baltimore’s.

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).