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Desperation Thursday in NFL another hint Bills shouldn't be desperate at QB

Leave it to the NFL to butt into today's news cycle. Less than 10 hours after Kobe Bryant dropped 60 in his final NBA game and the Golden State Warriors won a record 73rd game, the Los Angeles Rams unloaded a borderline-insane amount of draft picks to move up to the No. 1 selection.

To recap, the Rams surrendered a first (15th overall), second (43rd), second (45th) and third (76th) this year, in addition to a first and third in 2017 to the Tennessee Titans for the first overall pick and fourth- and sixth-round picks.

Really.

The front office, the coaches, the popcorn vendors, everybody is putting their job on the line, reportedly, for a FBS quarterback who played seven games last season. Hey, maybe Carson Wentz does star and Les Snead and Jeff Fisher are dubbed messiahs. But they've robbed themselves of valuable draft capital. No doubt about it, this is pure desperation at the most important position in sports. If Brock Osweiler's $72 million contract last March wasn't enough, this trade is even more proof that the Buffalo Bills should be in absolutely no rush at all to back up the Brinks truck for Tyrod Taylor.

Right now, Taylor is by far the best bargain at quarterback in the NFL with one year left on his contract. Buffalo would be smart to postpone its own desperation as long as it can.

Inevitably, every team in the league gets desperate to some degree. Many outsiders blasted the Baltimore Ravens for handing Joe Flacco a $100 million contract — and he won a Super Bowl. Whether it's drafting a quarterback too high or overpaying one with a small sample space, regrets run rampant. Just look around the league where the Cleveland Browns are hitting reset two seasons after taking Johnny Manziel in the first round, where the Miami Dolphins are stuck with Ryan Tannehill and his contract, where the Minnesota Vikings enter a critical season with Teddy Bridgewater after whiffing on Christian Ponder two seasons before that, where the San Francisco 49ers are in no man's land with Colin Kaepernick.

In 2011, Jake Locker and Blaine Gabbert were Top 10 picks, then promptly set their franchises back.

In 2012, the Washington Redskins pulled a similar trade for Robert Griffin III, coughing up a 2012 first-rounder, second-rounder, a 2013 first-rounder and a2014 first-rounder. RGIII flamed out and is now being recycled in Cleveland. So even the social-media coordinator for the Redskins had fun with today's trade.

And here the Bills are with a Pro Bowl quarterback making $1 million this season. What a luxury. Even with Taylor's agent blistering the franchise for dragging its feet on negotiations, General Manager Doug Whaley is 100 percent correct in waiting and exploring all possibilities in this year's draft while showing restraint with Taylor. He's under contract, he'll enter a contract year like Flacco did in 2012, he'll be hungrier than ever. You saw Taylor's tweet while watching Kobe's finale. He's the type of personality to elevate his play, not sulk and hold out.

So what do the Bills still need to see in Taylor before taking an Osweiler-sized gamble? One more hint came out of the NFL scouting combine.

Remember, Whaley hails from the Pittsburgh Steelers' scouting staff, where current GM Kevin Colbert emphasized the importance of quarterbacks delivering late in games — "Can they rally their team?” he asked. Ben Roethlisberger did exactly that routinely in college and now has 37 game-winning drives in the pros. When the going gets tough, he gets tougher. More focused. Kobe-like. As good as Taylor was in 2015, he faded late in games the Bills needed to win to make a playoff push.

The MNF loss at New England was littered with errant throws. In the 30-22 loss at Kansas City, Taylor went 3 of 6 for 20 yards in the fourth quarter. And in the nail-in-coffin, 23-20 defeat at Philadelphia, Taylor went 4 of 11 for 46 yards with a game-sealing interception in the fourth.

Three late-season road games, three losses. The Bills went 0-5 when Taylor threw the ball 30-plus times.

So no wonder Whaley himself pointed to the need for comebacks at the Bills' season-ending presser. If Taylor brings such a finishing touch in 2015, starts throwing more over the middle of the field and proves he can be a lethal runner while staying healthy then, heck yes, hand him a blank check, the keys to the city (if T.O. gave 'em back!) and chicken wings for life. He certainly flashed glimpses of being special last season, by air and ground.

Until then? The Bills are wise to let other franchises risk all. Right now, there's no rush to double down and make a franchise-altering decision.

— For more on whether or not Tyrod Taylor is the Bills' franchise quarterback, here's our roundtable discussion with Rich Gannon, Warren Moon, Mark Brunell, Brian Billick, Kevin Gilbride and Eric Wood.

— Here's what former pros Trent Green and Boomer Esiason had to say at the Super Bowl.

—  And here's Trent Dilfer's much different take, putting the onus on Buffalo's coaches.

 

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