New Bills coach Sean McDermott spoke on the phone with Tyrod Taylor Thursday and met with the quarterback for a few minutes before his introductory press conference Friday at One Bills Drive.
"Fine young man," McDermott said. "I remember going against Tyrod a little bit in the preseason, I’ve watched him in crossover tape, so I know the skill set, I know what he brings to the table."
But the compliments ended there. McDermott offered no commitment to Taylor as a franchise quarterback in his first comments ahead of Taylor's impending contract decision this offseason.
"When you look at quarterback play in this league, it’s critical," McDermott said. "Really at this point, whether it’s Tyrod’s situation or any other position, let’s not get ahead of ourselves right now in terms of those positions.
"I’m going to go through and evaluate every position group, every player, the same way I do everything else: in methodic nature. With respect to specific players, Tyrod in this case, there will be a time for that. Right now, it’s about this organization and ‘we’ and getting this thing looking the way it needs to look."
Taylor had hernia surgery after the season and has been rehabbing at the Bills' facility. His contract option would pay him $27.5 million next season with a cap hit of about $16 million, which would rank in the lower half of the league for quarterbacks.
Alternatively, the Bills could cut Taylor and move on (or try to renegotiate), as long as he is able to pass a physical by the March 11, which isn't a sure thing after his surgery. Taylor's contract has an injury guarantee that could kick in if he isn't able to pass a team physical by the third day of the league year.
McDermott said it was "premature to expand any further" on his evaluation of Taylor.
"I’m going to go through and be diligent with this evaluation or the roster, along with Doug [Whaley, the GM], and doing this the right way," McDermott said.
McDermott was also asked about his confidence in the idea that if his evaluation led him to believe Taylor is the quarterback he wanted, Whaley and ownership would trust his analysis and pick up Taylor's contract option.
"I’m confident in Doug," McDermott said. "I’m confident, like I mentioned before, in the Pegulas. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be sitting in front of you. I know what I’m looking for, I know what a winner looks like, I know what it tastes like, and I’ve been around a winner. And that’s what I plan on bringing here."