Tyrod Taylor may be getting a shiny new contract soon - and we're not talking about a short term "bridge." That's the news that was shared late Friday morning, first by WIVB's Josh Reed, then with a follow-up from Tim Graham at The Buffalo News:
Source tells me that #Bills and QB Tyrod Taylor are very close to announcing contract extension. Announcement could come as soon as today— Josh Reed (@4JoshReed) August 12, 2016
I'm hearing upcoming Tyrod Taylor deal is not a bridge contract. Bills are all-in, maybe as long as six years (unsure on options).— Tim Graham (@ByTimGraham) August 12, 2016
Taylor is entering the final year of his effective two-year deal, shortened when he emerged as a surprisingly dynamic starter after beginning training camp as an afterthought. The quarterback matches outstanding elusiveness with a gifted deep ball, and earned many plaudits last year for his maturity in the pocket.
All offseason, there has been a dialogue between the player, his agent, and the team, as they attempted to agree to terms on one of the most unusual quarterback contract situations in recent memory. With only 13 games of starting experience, Taylor is still a major unknown in the NFL. Robert Griffin III had a very similar season of rushing and passing as a rookie, but a combination of injuries and defensive complexities took away his magic after that first year. When we first tried to peg Taylor's contract value (five years, $83 million, $35 million guaranteed) in December, we compared him with Tony Romo, who also emerged as an unknown hero (Romo was an undrafted free agent) that signed a major extension after only 17 games. Then the market changed, when Brock Osweiler (coming off of a less productive season with fewer games started than Taylor) signed a four-year, $72 million contract with the Texans. Suddenly, it looked like the Bills would have to pony up in order to match what the free market could earn Taylor.
In the last few weeks, we've begun hearing that talks between Taylor's agent and the team, which had stalled with some frustrated language in May, were continuing again. There was talk of a potential bridge deal, or possibly a vesting option. It now appears that the Bills are all-in on this contract, with the talk of the six-year deal. The biggest sticking point will be guarantees; there's a large difference between the Colin Kaepernick contract and the Russell Wilson contract. For now, Taylor can be hopeful that he'll earn more than $3 million this season.