The Buffalo Bills did the quarterback dance that so many needy teams do these days, spending the past few weeks looking at the free-agent market and the NFL Draft for a potential starter, and ultimately they came to a smart conclusion: They are going to dance with a partner they know well. The Bills will stay with the best guy for their team right now, that being Tyrod Taylor.
The Bills and Taylor agreed to a restructured five-year deal (really a two-year deal), one that drops his outrageous cap number from $16 million to $10 million, which means he will be the team’s starting quarterback.
It’s the right move based on the draft and the free-agent market, but it also sends a strong message: New Bills coach Sean McDermott is the guy with the juice in the building now.
The Bills appeared to be readying to hire interim coach Anthony Lynn after the season, but word around the league was that McDermott wowed owners Terry and Kim Pegula during his interview. When that happened, McDermott became the power broker in the building, making general manager Doug Whaley, who many wondered why he still had a job anyway, a guy without the juice anymore.
Whaley clearly was not a Taylor guy, which is why he instructed Lynn to sit him late last season rather than risk injury that would have guaranteed him the 2017 salary. That was not a football move at all. It was a Whaley move based on money and the future, even though he’s the one who gave Taylor the bad contract last year.
McDermott, who comes over after serving as the defensive coordinator with the Carolina Panthers, was smart enough to realize that Taylor was his best option this year. The talk that Cardale Jones would be in play was absurd.
It was either Taylor or a draft pick.
With the quarterback class limited, it made sense to keep Taylor. I don’t think he will ever be a star, but is he a better option than taking a passer in the first round? Yes. Would you rather have him or Tampa Bay’s Mike Glennon or Brian Hoyer or any of the other quarterbacks on the market?
Give me Taylor.
He does need to do a better job going forward of staying in the pocket and letting plays develop. Too often he is quick to take off after one or two reads. He left plays on the field last year.
Taylor’s ability to move should be a weapon, but more so in the passing game. As he matures, I think it can be that. Taylor needs to move to throw, not to run. He topped all NFL quarterback with 31 runs for first downs, but that’s not sustainable.
Taylor threw for 3,023 yards with 17 touchdowns and six picks last season. But he wasn’t good on third down, completing just 55.9 percent of his passes. That’s not close to being good enough, and that has to be a focal point.
That number is even more alarming when you consider that the Bills led the NFL in rushing, which means they had favorable down-and-distance situations much of the time.
Despite the limitations, Taylor remained the best option for the Bills. McDermott and his new juice was able to figure that out as they surveyed the landscape.
Taylor might not be Jim Kelly, but then again nobody else out there in the draft or free agency will be, either, so bringing him back was the right move.
Romo could make Texans a SB contender
The Broncos have Trevor Siemian and second-year player Paxton Lynch, a 2016 first-round pick. I think general manage John Elway would love to see Lynch start and take over, but with a good defense and a small window right now Romo makes sense.
The Texans should do whatever they can to get him. They play in a bad division and have a dominant defense. A quarterback like Romo might make them a real Super Bowl contender.
I still think the Cowboys will regret this move in the short term. If Romo played last year when he got healthy, I still think the Cowboys would have been in the Super Bowl. I get that Dak Prescott is the long-term answer, but Romo can still play.
More news and notes from around the NFL:
I don’t get the infatuation with Glennon. It looks like it’s a done deal with Glennon to the Bears for $14 million to $16 million a year. Good for Glennon, who teammates and coaches really like. But when he played, did anything scream franchise passer? There were moments when he started for Tampa Bay, but not much more than that. Why would the Bears, with a regime that needs to win now, lock onto a guy who has a completion percentage of 59.4? Is he better than Jay Cutler? No chance.
Some personnel people are astounded that Ravens right tackle Ricky Wagner will get a deal that will average $9 million a year from the Lions. Wagner is a good player, especially in pass protection, but that’s a lot of money for a right tackle. Then again, the money will flow this week.
I like the Colts’ move to keep tight end Jack Doyle, even in a deep draft class of tight ends. Now they can focus on the defense, which is in need of a major upgrade. They got Doyle for an average of $6.3 million, which is a fair deal for a player who is ascending.
I expect the Jaguars to spend a ton in this free agency period, with expected targets being Bengals guard Kevin Zeitler, Texans corner A.J. Bouye or Patriots corner Logan Ryan, Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell and Cowboys safety Barry Church. If they can land them, then get another pass rusher with the fourth overall pick in the draft, they might have a dominant defense in 2017.