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Tyrod Taylor contract negotiations: Could the Bills offer him a vesting option?

The contract negotiation is getting creative.

In the continuing discussion of "how will Tyrod Taylor's next contract look," WGR550's Sal Capaccio has shed new light on the topic. An article published Tuesday afternoon reported from a league source:

The two sides have discussed a deal that would be short-term in nature, even as short as one season, but automatically kick in long-term years and more money if Taylor performs well enough that the team wants to keep him beyond that.

As Capaccio notes, the Bills took a similar tactic when negotiating their deal with Percy Harvin last offseason. Nominally a three year, $24 million contract, in reality the deal voided after only a single year due to the team's option.

Capaccio's source noted that Taylor's production contrasted with his existing contract and his lack of sample size created a conundrum that requires the deal to be more creative than usual.

Taylor's agent is already familiar with so-called vesting options, having used them when he structured Taylor's first contract. That was the mechanic by which Taylor's third year voided following the 2015 season. The hangup for Taylor and his agent will be the proper balance of guaranteed earnings with potential earnings.

Consider Taylor's commonly-accepted market value, the four year, $72 million contract signed by Brock Osweiler. Osweiler will receive $37 million fully guaranteed in the deal, $21 million in the first year. In Tom Mitchell's recent contract projection, he considered a two year, $30 million extension (with $20 million guaranteed).  What if the Bills were to offer a similar deal, with one caveat: If Taylor wins 11 games as a starter (or wins 9 and the Bills make the playoffs), they void the final year of his deal, and replace it with a four year, $90 million extension (say $40 million guaranteed).

On the one hand, if Taylor takes the "vesting" deal and meets his goal, he gets the rare and elusive immediate contract boost. While he might not be the top paid quarterback in the NFL, he could have $60 million to count on and a team for the long term. On the other hand, if he gambles on himself and doesn't succeed, he'd make less money than the conventional contract offers him.

Whatever the parameters, it does seem that the Bills and Taylor are a lot closer to agreeing on a contract than to parting ways in free agency, at this point in time. The multiple options being discussed are a good indication that the two have some common ground to work on, and that they'll come to a consensus before long.