Timing on extension for Tyrod Taylor no easy call

Posted Mar 3, 2016

Tyrod Taylor certainly put his best foot forward in establishing himself as Buffalo's starting quarterback, but when it comes to determining his value for a contract extension the Bills might need to see a bit more of a body of work.

He’s played 14 games for the Buffalo Bills and he performed well considering it was his first year playing regularly in his NFL career. Tyrod Taylor was the seventh-highest rated passer in the game and had a 3.33:1 touchdown to interception ratio. The Bills also finished 21st in third down conversion percentage, 24th in red zone efficiency and 28th in passing and first downs. That’s why the decision on what Taylor’s long term market value is moving forward is not an easy figure to pin down.

“They have to decide if he’s the guy and it seems like he is and then how much of a commitment they make,” said Sports Illustrated and ESPN NFL Business reporter Andrew Brandt in an appearance on the John Murphy Show. “It’s kind of what the Broncos are going through with Brock Osweiler. What is the market?

“We’ve seen what the market is with the top guys of $18-22 million (annually). We now have a (Colin) Kaepernick- (Andy) Dalton market of $12-13 million. Is that the middle? Is that the range? Tyrod Taylor is a case of where are you going to fit him in? I would be surprised if they haven’t had those discussions already in terms of where he fits. Where does he fit in the spectrum of quarterback money?”

Taylor has a year remaining on the contract he signed last offseason when he agreed to be part of a three-man competition for the starting job. Buffalo’s front office has made it clear that there isn’t any urgency to get a long term extension done for their starting quarterback, but would not be opposed to completing a new deal if the two sides can agree on his value.

“I did not talk with his agent at the NFL Combine, but I’ve said all along that if a deal comes to us and we meet with his representation and we can come to a common ground where they feel it’s good for them and they feel it’s good for us we would definitely do a deal,” said Bills GM Doug Whaley in a recent interview on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550. “What that will be is still in the negotiation process, but we wouldn’t be opposed to it.”

However, it appears as though the Bills would like Taylor’s play in 2016 to more accurately pinpoint what his true value is to the club and among quarterbacks in the league.

“It would be nice for us to get it done, but at this time since we have him under contract it would be a luxury (to complete an extension),” said Whaley. “Everybody loves luxuries though right?”

Whaley indicated that Taylor understands what he has to do to maximize his value as a quarterback in this league this upcoming season. Furthermore Buffalo’s personnel boss has said that if Taylor takes off as their starting quarterback they’ll have no problem paying fair market value to keep him.

“He’ll be the first one to tell you that he’s got to take a step in his development,” said Whaley of Taylor. “But also you’ve got to take a look at the fact that this was his first year playing. He played 14 games. If you look at resumes of everybody who has played 14 games, you’re hoping they’re going to get better. Is there a 100 percent guarantee? Not in this business and especially at that position. So again it’s something that both parties have to feel comfortable moving forward with.”

Not having an extension in place prior to the 2016 is of little concern to Taylor, as Whaley understands it, because he’s never been afraid to bet on himself. Evidence of that came in his willingness to sign with Buffalo even though there were no guarantees that he’d be the starting quarterback job last year.

“He’s a consummate professional,” said Whaley of Taylor. “He chose to come to Buffalo knowing that he was going to be in a three man competition. He’s always believed in himself and never shied away from competition. So to go into the last year of his deal I fully believe he’ll attack it just like when he was a sixth-round pick behind Joe Flacco.”

Taylor also has the benefit of being the entrenched starter going into offseason workouts this spring, which will enable him to develop a far better on field rapport with his offensive playmakers than he did splitting reps three ways last year.

“He will have all the snaps with the ones to develop the chemistry and the timing with the receivers, with the running backs and Charles Clay and the tight ends,” said Whaley. “Then also the team will know this is our guy so everybody will be believing in him knowing that this is the guy whose voice we’ll hear in the huddle throughout the season. So that right there is a very big hurdle that will help him in his development. And he can look at how defenses tried to attack him last year and build off of that. And experience is the best teacher. He’s seen a lot of looks and he knows now where he made mistakes and where he did well.”

Adding at quarterback
Whaley has said several times that the team will add a quarterback this offseason due in part to the fact that both Taylor and EJ Manuel are entering the final year of their contracts. Whether it’s the draft, free agency or via trade remains to be seen.

“We have to explore every option and we’re doing our background work on every quarterback out there who would be available to us,” said Whaley.

As for the draft specifically, Whaley didn’t shy away from potentially taking provided of course the value is in line with their draft board.

“We’re going to continue to follow our draft board. It’s been successful,” he said. “Last year everyone questioned why we took Ronald Darby, but we took him because he was the best value on our board. It seemed to work out well. So if a quarterback is the highest rated guy on our board we’re going to take him.”