Referencing Taylor, who the Browns recently acquired in a trade with the Bills, coach Hue Jackson confirmed that the 28-year-old is "going to be the starting quarterback (in 2018). There is no competition," Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
For now, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan remain on the Browns' roster, but it seems likely that the team will add another QB in April's draft, possibly with one of its two first-round picks. Taylor doesn't buy into the notion that he's simply a bridge QB, destined to to helm the offense while the Browns groom their next franchise QB, but that will be the perception if the team does indeed select a high-profile young signal-caller next month. For the foreseeable future, however, Taylor is in line to work with an intriguing collection of pass-catchers, featuring wideouts Josh Gordon, Jarvis Landry and Corey Coleman, as well as promising tight end David Njoku and change-of-pace back Duke Johnson. Assuming Taylor clicks with his new teammates, he brings some fantasy upside to the table in 2018, considering the points that he can rack up with his wheels, as well as his tendency to log a low turnover rate.
Adam Schefter is reporting the same deal. It looks like Taylor is on his way to Cleveland, where he'll be throwing to fellow Friday acquisition Jarvis Landry for what's certain to be a new-look team in 2018. It'll be interesting to see what the Browns do with the No. 1 and No. 4 overall picks with two major deals out of the way, though it's conceivable they could still draft a top QB and let him get up to speed slowly while Taylor runs the show. The Bills will get pick No. 65 in the draft and currently own six selections out of the draft's first 96 picks.
General manager Brandon Beane reiterated this week that the team has no plans to cut Taylor before he's due a roster bonus March 16, Chris Brown of the Bills' official site reports. "Tyrod is on our roster right now and that's the plan," said Beane. "We're just taking it day by day. We're trying to get better everywhere, so we're looking at every position including quarterback, but Tyrod did a lot of good things for us. So I'm not really worried about the (roster) bonus. I see him on our roster right now. Unless something changes he'll be here through that part."
Earlier in the offseason, it seemed the veteran was as good as gone following an up-and-down season, highlighted by some surprise wins that featured some special plays by the mobile quarterback, with other games sprinkled in where he did little with the unexciting offense around him or his limitations as a passer were exposed. But the "Taylor's gone" tune has started to change lately, with one rational line of thinking saying the Bills will keep Taylor yet throw a young stud (the team has two first-round picks) into the mix to work behind him until that player is ready. This all said, the new Buffalo brass has proven in short time that it likes to mess with the recipe, so we also wouldn't rule out the team trading Taylor or making a play for a higher-level guy like Kirk Cousins. In any case, it's looking more like the team isn't going to simply cast him away.
Buffalo had considered getting rid of Taylor last offseason before he agreed to a restructured two-year contract, but that hardly gave the 28-year-old much job security heading into 2017. Another parting of ways seemed imminent after a healthy Taylor was benched in favor of rookie Nathan Peterman in the Week 11 game against the Chargers, though the veteran quickly recaptured the starting gig and helped lead the Bills to the postseason for the first time since 1999. Taylor's shortcomings as a passer were plainly visible in a wild-card round loss Jacksonville, wherein he completed 17 of 37 passes for 134 yards, no touchdowns and an interception before exiting on the final drive with a concussion, but there's something to be said about his mobility and ability to avoid turnovers, even though the latter often comes at the expense of big plays downfield. It's unknown if the Bills' current inclination to keep Taylor has more to do with the coaching staff coming around to recognize his strengths or a dissatisfaction with the quarterback options likely to be available via the draft or free agency, but for now, it sounds like Taylor's starting job could be safe, or at the very least he'll have a chance to fight for it. Taylor is owed a $10 million base salary for the coming season and is due a $6 million roster bonus March 16.
Taylor (concussion) said he would like to remain the quarterback of the Bills, but he will not accept another pay cut to do so. "Nah, that's not really part of the plan right now," Taylor told The Buffalo News on Friday. "Definitely not part of my mindset. I've done that before (last year, when he accepted a $10-million salary reduction over two seasons). I don't think there's a need to do that again. That's definitely not part of my mindset."
The big test of what the Bills aim to do will come in March, when Taylor will be due a $6 million roster bonus. Taylor says he hasn't spoken with the team since the Bills' final game of the season, a playoff loss at Jacksonville. He was a key part in taking the team to its first playoff appearance since the 1999 season, yet his limitations were also exposed at various points throughout the season. The Bills may be the NFL team with the most options for a starting quarterback next season, though the situation is entirely up in the air and elite play at the position seems to be a long way off for the franchise. Buffalo could roll with Taylor for another season, or turn to youngster Nathan Peterman -- who saw snaps in 2017 to very mixed results -- or make a bid at someone like Kirk Cousins on the free-agent market, or finally, use one of its two first-round picks on a potential immediate starter.
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