Before winter releases Western New York from its icy grip in the spring of 2018 the Buffalo Bills are expected to release quarterback Tyrod Taylor from their roster.
Taylor has been the starting quarterback for the Buffalo Bills since 2015. Over that time the mobile QB has amassed a 20-18 win-loss record and the best TD-INT ratio in league history.
So why is Taylor on the way out?
Well, aside from those 2 stats, there really isn’t much more to brag about. Taylor’s critics will point out that he is often indecisive in the pocket, seems unable or unwilling to throw with anticipation, reluctant to throw into coverage or tight windows and as a result has a hard time getting rid of the football.
When you combine these issues it results in a lot of sacks. Taylor is considered to be one of the most athletic and gifted running QBs in the league so it may surprise you to learn that he averages over 35 sacks per year as a starter. In fact, he was the most sacked QB in the NFL in 2016 and is in contention to repeat the distressing feat this season.
You could argue that sacks are better than interceptions and I would tend to agree with you on that point. However, a QB who refuses to put the ball at risk rarely gets rewarded. The Bills rank 25th in the league in drives ending in 3-and-outs, 26th in yards per drive, 27th in time of possession per drive and 24th in drive success rate, which measures the percentage of series that result in a first down or touchdown.
Now, sure, not all of this rests on Taylor’s shoulders but, as you know, the quarterback usually gets more credit than he deserves and more blame than he deserves.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott has already benched Taylor for one game this season and has stated that the QB position will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis. This is far from a committed relationship and all signs point to the exit for Tyrod Taylor.
With all of that in mind, let’s take a look at the best destinations for Tyrod Taylor in 2018.
Unlike the Buffalo Bills the Jaguars are only a couple pieces away from being a serious Super Bowl contender. The biggest piece they are missing is a stable, consistent quarterback who can protect the football and make big plays with his feet or the deep ball. Taylor checks these boxes for the Jags.
Taylor benefits greatly from a strong run game as it allows him to play second fiddle in the offense. When a defense has to focus on the run Taylor can use play-action to open up the passing game or become a threat on the ground.
Also, the Jaguars have one of the best defenses in the league. This would reduce the chances of Taylor being put in the situation where he has to use his arm to rally his team back from a deficit. Taylor has only engineered a 4th quarter comeback 3 times in his career. That ties him for last among active QBs along with Drew Stanton, Geno Smith, Trevor Siemian, Tom Savage and Mike Glennon. Not exactly Murderer’s Row.
Speaking of Trevor Siemian, that is exactly who Taylor would be supplanting in Denver. Although the Broncos have used several recent draft picks on quarterbacks, none have worked out, and, similar to the Jaguars situation, it is the glaring blemish on their roster.
With competent play at the QB position the Broncos could be an AFC West contender by week 1 of 2018. Taylor has his flaws but he is more than a competent quarterback and could reignite the fires in the Rocky Mountains.
Along with the Jags, I believe these locations to be Taylor’s best chance to be a starting QB on a contender next season.
On the surface this isn’t an ideal situation for Tyrod Taylor. However, the Browns have a boatload of upcoming draft picks (including 2 likely top 10 picks), can surround him with young talent and begin building a team around him. Taylor, from all reports, is a great leader and an extremely hard worker, which is exactly what a young team needs.
DeShone Kizer has a similar skillset to Taylor and could act as a sponge in soaking up information and lessons from the veteran. This would be a great opportunity for the Browns to set themselves up for the next decade at the QB position.
Aside from being the offensive leader that this organization needs, Taylor is a known commodity and well liked by NFL fans. If the Browns are willing to build their team around Taylor he can be the face of the franchise and help bring the team out of the NFL dark ages.
New York Jets:
Everyone expected the Jets to tank this season in order to generate a high draft selection at the QB spot in 2018. The Jets, however, have proven to be a scrappy squad and have outperformed expectations all year. With the team in a better situation than many thought possible, this would be another great fit for Taylor.
As mentioned earlier, Taylor benefits greatly from a solid defense and the Jets have just that. If Taylor were to agree to a contract with New York, you could expect them to use their (likely) top 10 draft pick on a weapon for the QB.
Much like the Browns, this situation comes with more of a long-term vision instead of a win-now approach. However, the Jets are an AFC East rival of the Buffalo Bills and would allow Taylor the chance to stick it to his former squad twice a year.
Make no mistake about it; I am a Tyrod Taylor fan. Part of the reason for me looking at the next chapter of his career is the hope that he finds a true home and a team that will be a great fit for him as a player. I do not think he has that in his current situation and as a result it is not only holding back the Buffalo Bills but also holding back Tyrod Taylor.