Over the past few weeks, rumors have been rampant that the Buffalo Bills and starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor might be on the way to signing a new contract. According to the latest report, it might just be as a short-term deal.
The term ‘bridge’ deal has been used, and Jason LaCanfora of CBSSports.com reported on the potential details this afternoon:
If the Bills are able to come to terms with QB Tyrod Taylor, the template they are discussing is a bridge deal in the range of 2yrs, $30M
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) August 4, 2016
Taylor, the 27-year-old unquestioned starter of the Bills, is due to make only $3 million in the 2016 season, with a base salary of $2 million. He started 14 games for the Bills in 2015, throwing for 3,035 yards, 20 touchdowns, and six interceptions.
Joe B’s Take
At first glance of the proposed contract, most will first read it as just a two-year deal, split the difference, and expect that it’s $15 million per season. For both sides, I don’t know that it makes a great deal of sense to structure it that way.
From Taylor’s perspective, if he has a humongous season in 2016, he would essentially be committing to getting underpaid in 2017, just as he is as of right now for the upcoming seasons. And for the Bills, it wouldn’t make a great deal of sense for them to automatically commit $15 million to Taylor for the upcoming season, especially when he’s only started 14 games in his career to this point.
What makes the most sense for both sides, in my opinion, is to structure the first year as a fully guaranteed $10-to-$12 million contract, with the rest of the $18-$20 million coming to him in 2017. If it’s built that way, it would help the Bills give a relatively cheap, longer look at Taylor in 2016, and already committing him to a franchise tag-worthy price in the 2017 season.
The guaranteed money will also have to be a big consideration, because if Taylor goes down the tubes in 2016, or worse yet suffers a significant injury, then the Bills won’t particularly want to have a lot of guaranteed money tied into him in the event that they need to cut ties after 2016.
Even for a two-year deal, it’s a complex negotiation that requires perspective from both sides, perhaps a higher paid “prove it” year for both sides, and it certainly isn’t as simple as it initially reads. It’s really all in the details.