This is the first of a series that examines where the Buffalo Bills stand at each position heading into training camp, which begins July 27. Today’s installment looks at quarterback.
Tyrod Taylor is back.
Maybe for only one more year. Maybe longer.
Either way, Taylor is the best option the Bills have for a starting quarterback. And the Bills were the best option for him, considering that he chose a $10-million pay cut over two years to remain with them rather than explore what he could get in the open market.
If Bills were convinced Taylor was their long-term franchise QB, there would be a much firmer contractual commitment than the one they have that leaves them an easy out after this season.
Still, at the moment, no one on the roster looks like a legitimate challenger for the No. 1 spot this year.
Here's the breakdown at quarterback:
Returning: Tyrod Taylor and Cardale Jones.
Newcomers: T.J. Yates and Nathan Peterman.
Better, worse or the same?: Slightly worse.
Sure, Taylor has plenty of incentive to have the best season of his career. Whether it's from the Bills or another team, he wants to prove that he deserves to get paid.
But there's reason to wonder what his frame of mind will be after being forced to take a pay cut. Taylor also is well aware that, with the use of a fifth-round draft pick on a quarterback (Peterman) and the acquisition of a first-round choice in 2018, the Bills are positioned to replace him if he doesn't make dramatic strides.
Taylor, who was 7-8 in 15 starts last season, continued to take good care of the ball. Still, his completion percentage, passing yards, and passing touchdowns declined from the 14 games he played in 2015.
Although his fleet feet remain vital to the Bills’ strong rushing production, Taylor remains too quick to run and does a poor job of looking for targets in the middle of the field. Except for the final practice of mandatory minicamp, he had generally mediocre to poor showings through offseason workouts open to the media.
The fact Taylor will be transitioning to yet another new offense is another potential stumbling block.
Yates doesn't do much to upgrade the depth at the position, even though he does have the best understanding of the offense of new coordinator Rick Dennison from the three seasons they spent together with the Houston Texans. He struggled through most of the OTA and minicamp practices the media watched.
Peterman will make a push for the No. 2 spot and did work from a pro-style scheme at the University of Pittsburgh, but he looked very much like a rookie during offseason sessions.
Ditto for Jones, who lost whatever support he had after the firing of General Manager Doug Whaley and seemed to practice as if he knows he is a goner.
Next: Running back
More from the Bills pre-camp series: