One of the biggest questions of the 2016 season has officially been answered by the Buffalo Bills. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who made 14 starts for the Bills in 2015, has been signed to a contract extension.
The team announced the new deal on Friday afternoon, but did not disclose details of a new contract. Although Tim Graham of The Buffalo News reported that the new contract is full of team options, and could be a six-year deal worth $90 million, or more with incentives.
Earlier in the week, Jason LaCanfora from CBS Sports reported potential parameters of a deal included Taylor making $35 million over the first two season. The Bills have said they’ve been impressed by the progress Taylor has made in the offseason, which ultimately led to today’s contract extension.
Taylor, 27, was only a one-year starter for the Bills after spending four years as the backup to Joe Flacco in Baltimore.
Joe B.'s Take
The question that will be asked between now and the start of the regular season is this: did the Bills sign Taylor to a deal too early into his starting tenure? There are certainly two schools of thought on that, and you could make a compelling argument for each.
Taylor showed signs of extremely competent quarterback play, and even took over a couple of games during the 2015 season, but after starting only 14 games for the Bills the sample size for his potential worth was small. From the Bills perspective, this is why the deal makes sense to do it right now:
If he's going to make the type of jump that they believe he will, then getting him signed before the quarterback money balloons even more in 2017, and before he proves himself to be worth more than what they just signed him for is a justifiable motivation. The Bills haven't had solid quarterback play for years on end, and they believe Taylor is still an ascending player.
That said, the inherent risk is obvious. If Taylor either gets hurt with his playing style, levels off in his progress, or even gets worse in 2016 and beyond, then the Bills are stuck paying a quarterback a lump sum of money for the first two years at least. The idea of signing a player to a lucrative extension after just 14 games, an offseason, and half of a training camp is not a lot to go on.
If the structure of the new deal is one that allows the Bills to get out from under it after a couple of years as insinuated by Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, then I like it for them. They get their bridge deal for the first two years, Taylor gets like the rest of the starters in the league, and if he earns it, it becomes a lucrative long-term extension.
I understand the player's motivation: he wants to get paid in the event that a serious injury does happen and he may no longer be worth the type of money he's getting now. That fear, in the sport of football, is very real. Getting pen to paper, especially with a playing style like Taylor's, is an extreme motivator.
As always, you have to wait and see how the contract is structured before totally jumping in on the idea, or rejecting it entirely. However, if the Bills structured it in a way to give themselves options past the 2017 season, then I believe this is a win for all parties involved.
Plus, it gives them options this offseason with cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who now can be franchise tagged without fear of losing their starting quarterback to the open market.
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