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Breaking down Tyrod Taylor’s restructured contract

The quarterback took less money but will hit free agency again before 30.

We finally have the numbers for the renegotiated contract between Tyrod Taylor and the Buffalo Bills. Originally slated to count $15.9 million against Buffalo’s salary cap in 2017 with a salary of $12 million, that is no longer the case.

Contract Numbers

Here are the nuts and bolts, courtesy of CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora and Spotrac:

Signing bonus: $7 million
Total money: $30.5 million
Total guaranteed money: $15.5 million

Salary: $7.5 million
Cap hit: ~$9.71 million

Salary: $16 million
Cap hit: $18.08 million

2019 (free agent)
Salary: voided
Cap hit: $5.56 million (pro-rated signing bonus money)

When you consider Mike Glennon just signed a contract worth $15 million a season, it’s really not that much money compared to what other quarterbacks are making.

What Tyrod gets

All along, prognosticators said Tyrod had nothing to gain by restructuring his deal. I was one of them. If he hit free agency, he would have likely received more guaranteed money, more years, and a higher average yearly salary. So why make the move? According to Taylor, it came down to the team.

He began by posting on social media that he was “back in the city I love to play for.” Staying in Buffalo was apparently important to the Bills starting quarterback, saying he and his agent “chose to restructure.” He also told the team’s radio show that he wanted to lower his cap hit in order for the Bills to add pieces. (Then the team let two of their top three receivers leave in free agency without replacing them.)

Tyrod was also able to shorten his deal and bet on himself. If he plays well in 2017 and 2018, he’ll strike it rich entering free agency one more time before he hits 30.

What the Bills get

Buffalo was able to shorten the length of Tyrod’s deal. They can move on from him in a year with a relatively minimal cap hit of $8.64 million or let him play out the last year of his contract and let him become a free agent. His earlier contract ran through 2021.

The Bills were also able to lower his cap hit. Taylor was scheduled to make $12 million in salary in 2017 and count $15.9 million against the cap. Instead, they paid him an extra $2.5 million and lowered his cap hit considerably, putting off his big cap hit to 2018 when Buffalo has an abundance of cap space.

The option scheduled to kick into Taylor’s contract this weekend would have guaranteed him $27.5 million, and Buffalo was able to get out from that with the new contract. Now he only has minimal guaranteed salary beyond 2017, making it easier to release him following 2017.

Why this deal might not make sense for Buffalo

The Bills clearly don’t value Tyrod’s long-term future. The remaining three years of the original deal that they just voided amounted to a three-year, $42 million contract beginning in 2019 and running through 2021. That’s less money than Glennon’s three-year, $45 million signed this week. If Tyrod plays as well as he has for the past two seasons or, gasp, gets better, there is no way he will agree to that kind of contract and Buffalo will look dumb. Doug Whaley is banking on Tyrod faltering.