It seems lately that a lot of talk has been about Tyrod Taylor and his future as the starting quarterback of the Buffalo Bills. Before we even think about a long-term extension for Tyrod, let’s take a step back and think about Tyrod and the Bills’ history with quarterbacks. If we have learned anything from recent history patience is key before committing to a signal caller long-term.
The last quarterback the Bills offered a long-term deal to was Ryan Fitzpatrick, and we all know how that ended. For those who need a reminder, Fitzpatrick was given a six-year, $59 million deal, then cut less than a year and a half into the deal. Let’s remember that Fitzpatrick was only 13-15 when he signed the contract extension after week six when the team was 4-2, they finished 6-10. Former GM Buddy Nix panicked, the team was desperate for a quarterback so he quickly put all his chips on Fitzpatrick, that backfired.
Who else have the Bills heavily invested in at quarterback lately, oh wait I know, E.J. Manuel. The former 16th overall pick was a major reach in a draft that didn’t even have a realistic 1st round quarterback prospect. Manuel showed a little life in his rookie season, though he should not have started. Since then, Manuel has not gotten any better, his last start in which he lost to Jacksonville was the nail in the coffin of another desperate Bills attempt to find a quarterback.
Now we move on to Tyrod, who has been excellent this year on a team that was supposed to be led by its defense. The odds really have been stacked against Taylor, but he has overcome them. He came in to camp as the 3rd string, with a new team and new offense coordinator. He won the job despite having no chemistry with anyone on the offense. Taylor was supposed to be a game manager and let the stellar defense win games, it has been the opposite. Taylor was forced into being a playmaker outscoring teams because of how bad the defense has been. He has dealt with injuries not just to himself, but also to nearly every starting player on offense.
Dec 6, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) throws a pass before a game against the Houston Texans at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Despite all the things working against Taylor, he has been successful as a quarterback, even though the team has underachieved. Taylor has completed over 63% of his passes averaging eight yards per completion, thanks to one of the prettiest deep balls in the league. Taylor has also been able to use Sammy Watkins with his deep ball. The best part about Taylor’s game is his 18:5 touchdown to interception ratio. He can use his legs when he has to, but prefers to throw, always protecting the ball. He electrifies fans with his style of play, seemingly reckless but always under control.
However, with the good comes the bad. Taylor has not been able to win games late, lacking the clutch factor. In reality, Taylor wouldn’t be in these late game situations if his defense was half of what we expected them to be. Nonetheless, the next step for Tyrod is being able to win game late in the 4th quarter, that is where you become elite. Taylor also must work on his accuracy, and understanding of the offense but that comes with time.
Bottom line is the Bills must stay the patient with Taylor, making sure he continues to get better going forward. Giving him a long-term deal now would cause complacency. Buffalo would be wise to make sure Taylor stays hungry, a full off-season with Greg Roman knowing that Taylor is the guy will help. After all, we know what happened to Roman’s last duel threat quarterback that came out of nowhere, Colin Kaepernick. In Kaepernick’s first year he led his team to the Super Bowl, ever since he has regressed, leading to him being benched this year.
If waiting till next year to re-sign Taylor means giving him more money, so be it. If he proves he is the guy after two great seasons of improvement, I don’t care how much we spend on Taylor. There is no reason to rush anything, let’s be sure of Taylor before we anoint him “the franchise quarterback” that we are so desperate to say. It has been forever since Buffalo has had a franchise quarterback, let’s make sure Tyrod is that before we reward him.