If the Buffalo Bills are going to contend in 2016, Tyrod Taylor must ascend from Pro Bowl replacement to star. He’s the team’s greatest hope at, once and for all, emerging from the 8-8 vortex that’s gripped this franchise for 16 seasons.
He showed glimpses of being something special in Year 1 — a Houdini third-down escape here, a deep heave to Sammy Watkins there. Now, those glimpses must become the norm.
The schedule is about to get much, much tougher. No, this team doesn’t have the money to spend in free agency. And despite Rex Ryan’s gigantic personality, this will always be a quarterback-driven league. If Taylor can dazzle, the Bills at least have a shot. If he fizzles, well, heads might roll next off-season.
As GM Doug Whaley said Thursday, if you believe you have a quarterback who “can take you to the promised land, absolutely you want to keep him.” Well, the team should wait on the long-term deal, cut Taylor loose more in 2016 and, if he shines? If he lifts Buffalo back to relevancy? Then, at that point, he’d be worth the blank check.