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Bills notebook: Taylor’s agent calls out team’s weaknesses

Tyrod Taylor’s agent has some theories as to why the Buffalo Bills missed the playoffs in 2015.

During an interview with SiriusXM on Thursday, Adisa Bakari blamed it on discipline and defense.

If that’s a sign of how things are going in negotiations between the two sides regarding a contract extension, it’s safe to say they aren’t close on a deal.

That wasn’t all Bakari had to say during his interview, saying that the Bills could do whatever they want, but that what Taylor was able to accomplish in 2015 was a small sample of his abilities.

Taylor is scheduled to make slightly more than $3 million in 2016. That’s grossly underpaid for a starting quarterback in the NFL. It’s understandable that his agent would be eager for a contract extension that would put him more in line with the going rate for starters, which is somewhere between $12 million and $18 million per season.

The Bills, however, have elected to slow-play things. With precious little space under the salary cap heading into the 2016 season, there isn’t much they can do in regards to an extension for Taylor at the moment. Even if they were to sign him to an extension that did not drastically increase his cap hit for the coming season, there is reason to be hesitant to do so at this point.

While Taylor’s first season as a starter was promising, it apparently wasn’t enough to convince the Bills they have to sign him to an extension right now. The team seems willing to allow Taylor to prove himself in 2016, after which it can use the franchise tag if he performs well and it does not want him to reach unrestricted free agency.

Bakari also addressed a report from Denver radio host Benjamin Allbright that the Broncos had inquired about Taylor, saying he wouldn’t address that, but that Taylor’s performance last season wasn’t just noticed by the Bills.

The Bills have been doing their due diligence scouting quarterbacks in the 2016 draft class. With only Taylor and Manuel under contract for the coming season, it’s a virtual certainty the Bills will add to the position in the draft. The question is, in which round?

If Buffalo were to take a quarterback in the first round, it would be a clear message to Taylor that while the job is likely to be his in 2016, it might not be after that.

The Bills’ preseason schedule is out.

The team will open the slate with home games against Indianapolis and the New York Giants before closing it with games at Washington and Detroit.

Dates and times for those games have yet to be announced.

The preseason opener against the Colts will come between Aug. 11-15. It will be the eighth meeting between the two teams in the preseason, and first since 2013 in Indianapolis.

The Giants will visit Ralph Wilson Stadium between Aug. 18-22. The Bills have played the Giants five previous times in the preseason, the last of which came in the Hall of Fame game in 2014.

Buffalo visits Washington between Aug. 25-28. The Bills last played the Redskins in 2013 in the preseason, and will meet for the 16th time overall.

The Bills and Lions will meet on either Sept. 1 or 2. It’s the 15th straight year the two teams have played in the preseason and 36th time overall.

The Bills added some veteran depth to the offensive line Thursday, agreeing to a contract with Fernando Velasco.

The 31-year-old Velasco spent the past two seasons with the Carolina Panthers, making eight starts in 27 games. He’s played a total of 83 games with 38 starts in his seven-year career, which began with Tennessee and also included one season with Pittsburgh.

A former undrafted free agent, Velasco started all 16 games at center for the Titans in 2012, then started 11 games with the Steelers the following season. He also has experience playing guard. Velasco figures to compete for the reserve spot along the Bills’ offensive line that was occupied last season by Kraig Urbik.

email: jskurski@buffnews.com

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