The Buffalo Bills made plenty of noise in Week 11 by benching their starting QB in place of a 5th-round selection & completely untested Nathan Peterman. The result was a fantastic disaster, and Tyrod Taylor quickly took back the reigns for what should be the remainder of 2017.
Buffalo has done little to show confidence in Taylor over the past 12 months, allowing him to test his open market, then negotiating down a $13M pay cut to return for the 2017 season. Taylor will earn $14.5M in 2017, 13th among QBs this year. He has the potential to make another $16M in 2018, but many speculate his $18M cap figure will be too rich for the Bills to swallow based on their long-term plans at the position.
Boring but Productive
In a league where offenses are opening up, passing games have become the dominant weapon, and big plays are expected, Taylor is a bit of an outlier. The true definition of a "game manager", Tyrod Taylor has been wildly conservative, rarely choosing to take chances in the passing game. Many speculate this as the reasoning for the sudden replacement in Week 11, as Peterman has been scouted as the converse to this passage - a bit of a wildcard.
While Taylor's numbers aren't going to top charts, nor are the majority of his plays going to render viral highlights, the bottomline remains that efficient play has worked for him in 2+ years with the Bills. While Buffalo's 17-year playoff drought remains intact, the Bills offense has produced through the running game (from both Taylor and RB LeSean McCoy), and through a short/mid-range, calculated passing game. In now 40 games for Buffalo, Taylor has accrued 62 touchdowns through the air or with his legs, and just 15 interceptions. He holds an average passer rating of 93.5, and a completion percentage north of 63%.
Calculated Market Value
So where does Tyrod Taylor's actual value stand currently?
Including his Week 12 performance against Kansas City, Taylor's statistics since 2016 compare favorably with Alex Smith, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, and Colin Kaepernick prior to their most recent contracts. We factored in Games Played, Passing Yard, Passing Touchdowns, Interceptions, Completion %, Passer Rating, & Rushing Yards - the major statistics for a player with Taylor's skillset.
The result? Any almost even split in terms of production, placing his value right in between the signed values of those four players. Taylor's $18.5M calculated value would place him 17th among active quarterbacks, and is clearly inline with his $18M cap figure for 2018.
Statistically, Taylor is a strong comparable to his most recent opponent, Alex Smith, who has one more year remaining on his
$17M AAV contract in Kansas City (and is also amidst speculation of being replaced by a young draft pick). The Chiefs stuck with Smith in 2017 despite a big move to select Pat Mahomes, and for the most part this season have been rewarded for it.
While many speculate the Bills will move on from Taylor after 2017, searching for a younger, sexier option from the upcoming
draft or unusual free agent QB class, holding on to Tyrod for another season shouldn't be out of the question. By releasing Taylor next March, the Bills will incur an $8.64M dead cap hit, leading to $9.44M in savings. His $18.08M cap figure for 2018 ranks 17th among NFL QBs next season, while his $16M in cash ranks 11th. Taylor currently ranks 9th among QBs according to Pro Football Focus, and his 6-5 Bills are in the hunt for their first playoff birth 1999.
The bottom line is, the Bills carry a projected $33M in cap space for 2018 (including rollover from 2017, and Taylor's $18.08M figure), and can afford to keep the 28-year-old in the fold next season - even if they select a top prospect early in the draft. Put simply, the question is- do they want to?