The decision every single fan of the Buffalo Bills had been waiting for has finally been made.
After two-plus months of speculation, the Bills announced Wednesday that they will be bringing back quarterback Tyrod Taylor on a restructured contract, keeping him the presumed starter for the 2017 season. The Bills had until Saturday at 4:00 pm to make the final decision, before Taylor's option kicked into gear.
The Bills issued the official press release, and head coach Sean McDermott was the one to make an official statement on the choice to keep Taylor:
"We are excited about the opportunity to keep Tyrod with the Bills. I've gotten a chance to know Tyrod and study him over the past several weeks and he is both a great person and competitor. Doug and I are confident this was best move for the Bills at this time."
According to The Buffalo News, the restructured contract provides a $7 million signing bonus, and drops Taylor's cap hit in 2017 to around $10 million.
Taylor, who turns 28 in August, has been the starting quarterback for the Bills for each of the last two seasons. Taylor threw for 3,023 yards, 17 touchdowns and just six interceptions in 2016, while adding 580 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground during his 15 games played.
More to come as it becomes available.
Joe B's Take
The moment head coach Sean McDermott started speaking while at the NFL Scouting Combine last week, it sounded as though the Bills were a team that was not interested in the rebuilding process, and one that is looking to win right away.
While McDermott said multiple times that they're taking a long-term approach with the roster, he also said they're keeping the short-term in mind, too. When I asked him last week what he likes most about Taylor, the very first thing he said was that Taylor helped the Bills win games, and you couldn't overlook that fact.
The Bills still have competitive pieces on the roster for 2017 in LeSean McCoy, Sammy Watkins, the offensive line, Charles Clay, Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams, and others, and they must firmly believe they can take a shot at making the playoffs as early as this year.
If you look at the supporting evidence -- even from only earlier Wednesday -- the Bills are in on free agents that could wind up costing them more than the caliber of free agents that they were expected to go after. They've been reported to be the favorites to land Pro Bowl fullback/tight end hybrid Kyle Juszczyk, they were rumored to be after right tackle Ricky Wagner who wound up agreeing to terms on a deal with the Lions for $9 million, and they're even mentioned with tight end Martellus Bennett.
These are veteran players, and none of them give an indication that the Bills believe they're too far away from a talent perspective to make it to the postseason in 2017. With new direction, the Bills clearly believe they have what it takes.
And now, they have their quarterback for the 2017 season, without really committing to him as the franchise guy. If they think they're close, Taylor is one of their best bets to make the playoffs this year. That's the only reason they'd bring him back, considering the window of winning with this current, aging roster might be closing in the next year o two.