Last week, the agent for Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor took to the media to express his dissatisfaction with the Bills' stance in negotiating a long-term contract extension with their starting signal-caller. In doing so, he did what he could to move the negotiations along - but the thrust of the tactic was lacking.
"It's the Bills' prerogative to do what they want to do as it relates to Tyrod Taylor or any other Bills player," Adisa Bakari told The Buffalo News last Monday. "Fortunately, there are 31 other teams that have watched, and will be watching, Tyrod. And the fact of the matter is what Tyrod was able to do as a first-time starter in 2015 was give the Bills the best quarterback play they've had since Jim Kelly. If that isn’t enough to warrant an extension, I don’t know what will be."
It's that last part of Bakari's argument - that Taylor's production as compared to every Bills quarterback since the Hall of Fame leader of the franchise's glory years is reason enough to give his client a massive contract extension - where things spiral out of control.
Yes, it's true that Taylor's 99.4 quarterback rating in 2015 was the highest figure posted not just by any Bills quarterback since Kelly, but since Kelly's career-high 101.2 rating in 1990. Despite Taylor leaving much to be desired as a passer, there's little doubt that he's the best player the Bills have seen under center since No. 12's playing days.
But that's the problem with Bakari's argument: Taylor didn't have a high bar to clear; he, in fact, cleared a sadly low bar. Prior to Taylor's 2015 season, the highest quarterback rating posted by a full-time Bills starter since Kelly's retirement after the 1996 season was the 87.8 figure that Kyle Orton mustered in 2014, the season before Taylor's arrival. It's great that Taylor surpassed that figure in his first year as a starter, but a whopping 24 NFL quarterbacks (Taylor, plus 23 others) managed to best an 87.8 rating in 2015, as well. That list includes stalwarts such as Josh McCown, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Tannehill, and the poster child for extending a quarterback's contract too quickly, Ryan Fitzpatrick. Heck, even Case Keenum almost added his name to the list.
The Taylor-Bills negotiations seem like a non-starter right now, because both sides are fully justified in their stances, and the gap between those two stances is considerable. Taylor earned more financial security with his play last season, security that he'd very much like to have given the risks of his particular style of play. But the Bills want to make sure they're going to yield more than one such season out of Taylor, especially given the risk of injury, before breaking the bank to make him the centerpiece of their immediate future.
One thing is certain, though: the Bills can't, and won't, panic into an extension simply because Taylor is the best quarterback they've managed to acquire in the last two decades. That type of skewed perspective has no place in objective negotiation.