Tyrod Taylor has been confirmed the Buffalo starter for at least one more week. However the fact that we are even questioning his job teamed with the unsettling rumblings coming out of Buffalo with regards to Rex Ryan puts the sixth year passer under the microscope down the stretch and entering the offseason. Should the Bills go in a different direction in 2017 here are five potential landing spots for Taylor:
San Francisco 49ers:
Chip Kelly’s position in San Francisco is just as unstable as Ryan’s in Buffalo. However Taylor would almost certainly be an upgrade on current quarterback Colin Kaepernick who has also chosen to opt out of his contract after the current season draws to a close. Taylor possesses the dynamic playmaking ability that Kelly looks for in a signal caller and is more accurate on the deep ball than Kaepernick or the Niners’ second option Blaine Gabbert. The Niners also have the cap space to facilitate the salary Taylor is due in 2017 should the two clubs agree to a trade. What the Bills would demand in return for Taylor is unclear and there are so many holes in the San Francisco roster that draft picks are precious.
This one is obvious. The quarterbacks currently in Cleveland – I have forgotten how many they have trotted out to date this season – are simply not going to propel the organisation to a winning team. Heck a win of any kind would be good at this point. With a lorry load of cap space and a plethora of draft picks the Browns could very well be a destination Taylor looks at. The former Baltimore Ravens would be returning to the AFC North and would have legitimate deep threats to work with in Terrelle Pryor and Corey Coleman. Taylor could perhaps step in and provide a more adequate guinea pig for what Head Coach Hue Jackson had planned for Robert Griffin III. The Browns desperately need a long term answer at quarterback but if they fail to fall in love with any signal caller entering the 2017 draft Taylor may be yet another stop gap option.
Jay Cutler has almost certainly thrown his last pass as a Chicago Bear and it is a long shot that Matt Barkley will be their long term answer at the position. Another team with plenty of roster holes and salary cap space the Bears will be active in free agency no doubt but could have an eye on Taylor as their QB for 2017. Currently occupying the fourth overall pick in the 2017 draft and may look to strengthen their lacklustre secondary with several highly coveted corners looking set to enter the 2017 draft. Should that be their plan then it could make Taylor an ideal option as the Bears look to get back on track next season.
New York Jets:
Giving Ryan Fitzpatrick $12,000,000 did not work. Maybe giving Tyrod Taylor $12,000,000 will. The quarterback situation in New York is just as bad as Cleveland’s. backed into a corner this past offseason after FitzMagic put together a career year the Jets have fallen apart and quit on the 2016 season. Taylor is a much younger option with a much stronger arm and the ability to escape the pocket on broken plays. More in the mould of Geno Smith than Fitz. The Jets have hardly any cap space to make room for such a big contract so the move would require some heavy negotiating but with the discord coming out of Buffalo it should have certainly pricked up the ears of their division rivals. They may be looking at their alternative options in Bryce Petty until season’s end but the second year pro does not look ready for the NFL.
Bit of a wildcard here but anybody can guess the Jacksonville Jaguars and L.A. Rams need a QB. It is unsure if Teddy Bridgewater will ever be himself again after sustaining a nasty knee injury during training camp and Sam Bradford has been streaky as usual looking dynamite for the first six weeks and more like a firecracker ever since. Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman showed their aggression in acquiring Bradford for a first and fourth round pick in this year’s draft so making another aggressive move at the position should not be ruled out. The Vikings have the defense to enable Taylor to be successful, using the run game well and taking selectively aggressive shots downfield. The point can be made that they gave up a lot for Bradford but when the move was made it was with a short term vision in mind that this team could win now. The hope is of course that Bridgewater comes back and is able to play at a level which puts Minnesota back in Super Bowl contention but Taylor is clearly available should the Vikings want to explore their options.