Tyrod Taylor will be able to become a free agent following the 2016 season by playing in more than 50% of the Bills offensive snaps this season.
Taylor was not considered the starting quarterback when training camp began but since taking the field in Week 1 there has been little doubt that he would reach the 50% mark. Now that leaves the Bills with a curious decision.
ESPN’s Mike Rodak questions whether or not the Bills should give Taylor a new deal this offseason or have the quarterback prove it next year.
Given the free agent market at quarterback is then this year you’d expect 2016 to be a bit better but that is not the case. Still that hardly explains giving Taylor a big deal.
The Bills do not really know what they have in the 27-year-old. Sure his numbers rival those of Rob Johnson in 1998 but that in and of itself should raise a red flag. Johnson was given a five year deal worth $25 million before the 1998 season there were ups and downs and injuries. For the rest of this stay in Buffalo he regressed, never distanced himself from an aging Doug Flutie and was sacked over and over.
Over the past few seasons teams have scattered to prevent worthwhile quarterbacks from reaching free agency. It worked out for the Bengals who locked up Andy Dalton who was having a career season before injury, it did not work out so well for the 49ers who gave Colin Kaepernick a new deal.
Of course both Dalton, Kaepernick, and the likes of Alex Smith all had played more than one season with their clubs before their new deals. The same cannot be said for Taylor who it remains to be seen if his style of play can withstand the NFL much like that of Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin who fell out of flavor with two different coaching staffs.
Personally I have always shied away from giving a big deal on limited work history. The advantages are strong if you are correct but the drawbacks can be detrimental for years to come.
I will not argue that Taylor has not played well or would not deserve a new deal should he put up similar numbers next season but that is just the problem I am writing about. Taylor has no other season to fall back upon.
Taylor is 26 which makes him more than young enough to be a teams future for years to come at a position but over the last four games the Bills are 1-3 with Taylor failing to top 55.6 on his completion percentage, lowest of all season. Of course he does have a 7:1 touchdown to interception ratio during that time so at least his incompletions are not falling into the hands of the other team.
The losses are the biggest thing Taylor has to stop going forward. A few weeks ago the Bills looked every bit of an AFC Playoff team but now their chances of making the postseason are fading. Perhaps Taylor puts on a show to close out the season, makes the playoffs and delivers a win but unless all that happens the Bills are better off sitting and waiting.