Tyrod Taylor will be a prime trade chip for the Bills in the offseason
Taylor's reasonable base salary, his age, and upside make him an attractive QB option
The Bills benching of starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor last week has cast his future in Buffalo in doubt, and he will be a very viable trade chip in 2018, numerous NFL executives said. The Bills, one of the most aggressive trading teams in the NFL since Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane took over the franchise this year, are always open to such options and their peers anticipate Taylor being dealt this winter.
Buffalo has a $6M roster bonus due to Taylor in the first week of free agency in March, but, with just a $10M base salary other GMs see that as a trade-able contract with some value, given Taylor's productivity, age, upside and unique athleticism. Other GMs identified the Jaguars, Broncos, Cardinals and Saints (if Drew Brees leaves as a free agent) as possible destinations. Those teams have strong defenses and other parts in place who are very likely to be on the market for a quarterback upgrade next season. Keeping Taylor as a backup for $16M isn't feasible for Buffalo, and the Bills are evaluating fifth-round pick Nathan Peterman as the starter now and doing heavy work on the 2018 rookie quarterback class.
Several NFL execs said they foresee a decent trade market for Taylor, who just turned 28 in August, this offseason, and expect interest to form at the combine. Not all teams will be in line to draft a quarterback they like, some will invariably prefer Taylor, who has played in 52 games (38 starts) with 47 touchdowns to just 17 interceptions (his 1.5 career interception percentage puts him atop league leaders) with a very solid QB rating of 92.1, while also averaging 5.5 yards per carry with 10 rushing touchdowns. Besides Brees, the free-agent class of quarterbacks is hardly overwhelming. Sam Bradford is hurt again, Teddy Bridgewater hasn't played in two years, Kirk Cousins is virtually certain to get tagged again -- franchise or transition -- and Case Keenum may be the next best available if he doesn't sign an extension.
While teams could conceivably wait for the Bills to release Taylor -- given that looming roster bonus -- the ability to land him at a reasonable contract and secure his rights for at least 2018 will likely lead to someone giving Buffalo something of reasonable value for the quarterback, the GMs predicted. They are almost always in short supply, and Taylor looks like a great bargain compared to recent deals for Brock Osweiler (Cleveland paid $16M just to release him) and Mike Glennon (barely held his starting job for a month after being given $18.5M guaranteed in March).
Bills left tackle Cordy Glenn could be a strong candidate for an offseason trade as well -- several teams explored acquiring him before the trade deadline -- with the team's decision makers not afraid to make bold and potentially unpopular moves in an attempt to build what they hope will be an annual contender for a franchise without a playoff appearance in almost two decades.
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