Quarterback Tyrod Taylor will stay with the Bills after agreeing to a restructured contract that will reportedly cover five years and lower his salary cap hit in 2017 from $16 million to just under $10 million.
Taylor is what many teams would love to have: An experienced, versatile, and young starting QB who has proved to be a reliable point guard for his team’s offense. He can throw from inside the pocket or from outside on the move, he protects the football efficiently (37 passing touchdowns compared to 12 interceptions in the past two years), and he distributes to his playmakers while adding value as a runner (1,148 yards and 10 scores since 2015). Oh, and he throws an underrated deep ball. Taylor won’t blow up the stat sheet with 30-plus touchdowns a year, but he’s very solid with room to improve.
We don’t yet know what the Bills offense will look like under new head coach Sean McDermott and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, but considering Dennison’s experience working with Gary Kubiak in West Coast–based attacks that rely on zone-blocking schemes, Buffalo will likely embrace a ground-and-pound mentality again in 2017. A run-heavy system suits Taylor’s skill set perfectly, and whether he’s running zone-read stuff out of the shotgun or throwing on the run with play-action bootlegs, Buffalo should look to highlight his mobility and accuracy downfield. Dennison’s familiarity with Taylor (he served as his quarterbacks coach in Baltimore in 2014) will help the duo hit the ground running.
This is a great move for a team that had little in the way of a backup plan at the most important position in sports (Cardale Jones and Josh Woodrum are the Bills’ only other rostered passers). The restructured deal benefits Buffalo’s cap in the short term (it reportedly saves more than $6 million this year) and gives the franchise an out in the long term for if and when it ultimately locates Taylor’s successor. In the meantime, the Bills — who have finished with between seven and nine wins in each of the past three seasons — can try to contend with the dual-threat passer behind center.