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Mailbag: Bills fortunate Taylor had one year left on contract

You’ve got Bills questions that you’ve submitted to me via Twitter @viccarucci.

I’ve got answers:

@LIVEstrongRyRy: If Tyrod Taylor was a free agent this offseason, what would his price be? Would #Bills pay that price?

VC: Given the Bills’ ultra-tight salary-cap situation, I think they’re ecstatic they didn’t find themselves in that position during this offseason because they would have been forced to deal with a huge bookkeeping dilemma.

Under your scenario, I suspect – in conjunction with more drastic contract-restructuring and roster cuts than they’ve already made over the last few weeks – they would have applied their franchise tag to Taylor rather than Cordy Glenn. And because Taylor is a quarterback, that would have resulted in the Bills committing, at a minimum, to a one-year guaranteed contract worth $19.953 million rather than the $13.7 million Glenn is owed from his tag as an offensive tackle.

From there, the Bills no doubt would have made it a priority to try to get a cap-friendlier, long-term deal done with Taylor. With the current market, I’m guessing he would have sought a contract that pays about $18 million per season. Meanwhile, the Bills probably would have lost Glenn to free agency.

For now, everything points to the Bills taking their chances on allowing Taylor to play out the final year of his contract and will consider it a good problem if they have a reason to tag him and/or give him an even bigger long-term agreement next year.

@Tsauce88: Do you think there’s conscious effort to try and extend Glenn/Stephon Gilmore before season?

VC: Absolutely.

My understanding is that the Bills sent a proposal to Gilmore just before the start of the free-agency signing period on March 9 and are continuing to negotiate with his representative.

But I’ve also heard that the Bills view getting a long-term deal with Glenn as being more urgent in order to spread his dollars over a longer span.

It won’t be easy. Glenn and his representation understand the value of a good, reliable left tackle, which is what he is. He isn’t a Pro Bowler and has never been to the playoffs, but in an era when non-Pro Bowlers and non-playoff players get ridiculous money (see the nearly $200 million the New York Giants recently invested in three such free agents), Glenn knows he has a massive payday coming. Rather than have so much of it tied up in a lump sum, though, the Bills would prefer to structure something that would put more of the guaranteed money in bonuses that are amortized over the life of the agreement.

I’m hearing that the Bills figure on paying Gilmore, who is due to receive $11.082 million this year, an average of $12 to $12.5 million per season.

@0NickyFlash0: Why do the #Bills seem so set on the right side of the OL, when there are obvious deficiencies in Seantrel Henderson’s and Jordan Mills’ game?

VC: I’m not sure how “set” the Bills actually feel about their situation at right tackle.

They’re aware of the shortcomings of Henderson and Mills, a restricted free agent with whom the team announced it had signed to a qualifying offer Wednesday. With Henderson, it’s more a case of seeing how well he deals with Crohn’s Disease, which robbed him of critical size and strength last season before ultimately sidelining him for the final three games of the season, than performance issues. When healthy, Henderson can be a legitimate force.

Mills is OK, and sometimes even better than that, as a backup. But I wouldn’t be shocked if the Bills selected a tackle somewhere in the middle of the draft.

@clintbrooks97: Will Robert Woods be the number two receiver this year?

VC: It seems to be setting up for him to return to the spot as more of a default solution than as the player General Manager Doug Whaley, director of player personnel Jim Monos, and the coaches suddenly feel is everything they want from the man lining up opposite Sammy Watkins.

Woods’ performance last season left plenty to be desired, his battle with a lingering groin injury notwithstanding. He acknowledged after the season, his third as a starter, that he needed to work during the offseason “to be more dangerous and add to this offense.”

The Bills’ decision-makers will be anxious to see the results on the field, but at the moment, Woods doesn’t appear to be facing a whole lot of competition from what’s on the roster.

Perhaps the most (only?) intriguing possibility is Percy Harvin, who became a free agent after the Bills voided the final two years of his contract. Whaley said last week that the team is hoping to hear soon about whether Harvin, who played only five games last season and has dealt with chronic injuries, wants to continue playing (a source close to the situation told The Buffalo News Wednesday Harvin will “definitely” will play in 2016) and whether he would like to return to Buffalo. Otherwise, the Bills don’t appear to have anyone who could seriously challenge for the No. 2 role and aren’t likely to sign one or acquire one via trade.

The best possibility of the Bills pursuing anyone even approaching an upgrade over Woods is via the draft.

@rds2012: Do you think the Bills will live to regret letting @ChrisHogan_15 go to the Patriots?

VC: Maybe, although I think it’ll have less to do with any sort of void he leaves in their offense than it does with the distinct possibility he’ll have a big game or two against them this season.

Hogan’s best work comes over the middle, which is where the Bills’ passing game was its least productive last season but is the long-standing strength of Tom Brady and the Pats.

@PaulSmith_777: Is Kyle Williams going to hold up all year?

VC: Who knows?

I think it’s fair to say that Williams, who played only six games last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury and has dealt with knee issues the past two seasons, is at the stage of his career where he is less likely to play a full season.

That was part of the reason Williams accepted a pay cut to remain with the Bills and will need to make the team to earn a $500,000 roster bonus.

@BuffaNole3: 5-tech or NT in draft?

VC: I think you can get both in the same player.

This year’s defensive-tackle class has a lot of versatile athletes who can play inside and outside. And I think that would be an ideal fit in Rex Ryan’s defense.

It’s largely the reason multiple mock drafts have Mississippi’s Robert Nkemdiche going to the Bills with the 19th overall pick. He’s listed as a tackle and has the size and strength to be a force inside, but he’s a tremendous athlete who can be effective working from the outside as well.

@aurbinato: How’s the cap situation now???

VC: According to the website, the Bills have $7,409,614 million in cap space. That doesn’t allow them to do a whole lot more than what they’re doing: signing low-level free agents for backup jobs.

@MrMomforNow: Will I need to drink more this coming year? Or, will they be better and give my liver the rest it deserves.

VC: I believe moderation is always best.


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