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Taylor, Gilmore make list of top 25 2017 free agents

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Two Bills named top pending free agents by ESPN’s John Clayton

Over the past two seasons, there’s been plenty of long-term extension talks swirling around the Buffalo Bills.

First it was Marcell Dareus that needed a big-time deal. Then Cordy Glenn. Richie Incognito signed an extension, too.

The Bills have done a fine job retaining their top talent, but the team has two more deals to get to. Both quarterback Tyrod Taylor and cornerback Stephon Gilmore will be unrestricted free agents after the 2016 season if long-term deals can’t be reached and the team decides against the franchise tag.

Their importance to the Bills’ future is critical, that’s why both found themselves included on a top 25 2017 free agents list put together by ESPN’s John Clayton.

Taylor was No. 16 on the list, while Gilmore was slotted at No. 25.

Taylor’s position has a lot to do with his appearance on the list. It’s not too often franchise quarterbacks make it to the free-agent market, so if he proves to be that guy, he’ll be highly coveted by teams looking to land a starting quarterback.

Clayton wrote, “Taylor proved last season that he can be an above-average starting quarterback. With a big season in 2016, he could get a long-term deal in Buffalo or from another team on the open market.”

Gilmore was hoping for a long-term deal before camp, but it seems like he’ll have to wait until the offseason. The market value for cornerbacks skyrocketed this offseason when Josh Norman signed a mega-deal that will pay him $15 million annually.

It’s unclear if the Bills will be able to retain both, but it’s certainly a better situation than the Arizona Cardinals are in. Four Cardinals made Clayton’s list – safety Tyrann Mathieu, defensive ends Calais Campbell and Chandler Jones and veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

Clayton had Carolina defensive tackle Kawann Short No. 1 on his list.