The Buffalo Bills made the correct decision to bring back Tyrod Taylor.
For months now, I’ve written (and tweeted) that’s precisely what the Bills should. I did not, however, think they’d be able to do so on a restructured contract. I thought Taylor representing a $15.9M in 2017 was more than fair for Buffalo. Now, with a reconfigured deal, Tyrod will actually be less expensive this season. His cap hit will be just $10M this year, per Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News. (More on that to come soon.)
Tyrod has flaws. No doubt about it. Sometimes he misses receivers over the middle. He’s been much more of a game-manager than gun-slinger during his time as a starting quarterback. Some claim to want more of the gun-slinger mentality, but with that almost always comes an uptick in interceptions. In 2016, no quarterback was sacked more than Tyrod (42x) — which is a problem — but he helps to elevate some of his shortcomings and propensity to get sacked (obviously not all his fault) by unleashing his unique escapability and play-extending magic on a rather routine basis.
Tyrod has proven to be, arguably, the most dangerous running threat at the quarterback position in the league, an important yet sometimes overlooked aspect of the Bills’ elite rushing attack. Even if his rushing stats aren’t considered, the threat of him running changes how defenses can play Buffalo. He’s been one of the league best deep passers
With Tyrod now the Bills’ unquestioned starter in 2017, the team’s attention must turn to the wide receiver and tight end positions. Buffalo needs to acquire 3-4 more legitimate pass-catchers to help get the absolute most out of Tyrod during the Sean McDermott Era.
Unsurprisingly, Tyrod experienced some struggles in 2016 when he had Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin, and Brandon Tate as his top wideouts. The year before, Sammy Watkins played in 12 games together. This past season they played in seven together.
Beyond Watkins, though... the secondary and tertiary options need upgrades. Tyrod is not the type of quarterback to turn practice-squad pass-catchers into Pro Bowls, and that’s ok. The injury bug bit Buffalo’s receiving group hard in 2016, but the depth wasn’t good enough. The quality of his weapons is paramount.
With more room cleared to spend in free agency, there are a handful of useful, No. 2/3-type receivers available. Kenny Britt, Kendall Wright, Brandon LaFell, Terrance Williams, and yes, Robert Woods. And additions at that spot shouldn’t stop in free agency. A wideout or tight end with plus receiving ability should be a priority early in the 2017 draft.
Beyond that, earlier today a rumor floated around that Buffalo was in on top UFA right tackle Ricky Wagner. He ultimately agreed to terms with the Detroit Lions, but if true, the rumor was an indication that the Bills want to provide an environment most conducive to success for Tyrod, after a season with a depleted receiving corps and a matador at right tackle.
That’s precisely what every organization should do for its starting quarterback.
With a strong supporting cast, I think Tyrod Taylor can be an important piece of a team capable of making a deep run in the playoffs.