The Buffalo Bills are continuing their efforts to sign Tyrod Taylor to a long-term contract extension, and reaching an agreement before the start of the regular season is a possibility, The Buffalo News has learned.
According to a source close to the team and the negotiations, the Bills and the quarterback's agent are talking "relatively frequently" and have maintained "open lines of communication."
The source said, while nothing is considered imminent, he would not rule out the chance of a deal being reached at some point in the next month or so.
"Everything's open," he said. "We're trying to seek common ground."
It's a tricky process, to say the least.
On one hand, Taylor, who is due to earn $3.1 million in the final year of the contract he signed in 2015, has made a compelling case that he's the best quarterback the Bills have had in a long time and could very well be their best option in the foreseeable future.
On the other, his case was made through the first 14 starts of his NFL career last season, so the Bills must consider the risk of basing their investment on a limited body of work.
For that reason, another source described it as a "unique negotiation."
From Taylor's perspective, he and his representative, Adisa Bakari, clearly have to believe the standard for an extension was established with the $18-million-per-year deal Brock Osweiler signed with the Houston Texans after making his first seven career starts with the Denver Broncos last season.
Taylor also is believed to have helped his cause with the Bills' player-personnel staff and coaches with consistently impressive performances during offseason drills that were dramatically better than anything the other quarterbacks, EJ Manuel and rookie Cardale Jones, demonstrated.
Meanwhile, there has been very little discussion or progress in contract-extension talks between the Bills and cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
During last month's minicamp, Gilmore hinted about not showing up on time for the start of training camp, which opens Friday at St. John Fisher College. He has since told ESPN he plans to be there from Day One and is resigned to the possibility of playing out the final year of his rookie contract, which will pay him $11.082 million, and potentially becoming a free agent after the season. The Bills could use a franchise tag to retain Gilmore for at least one more year.
It's also possible that, during the middle of the season, the Bills could see where they stand with their salary cap and that could open the door to substantive negotiations with Gilmore.
Elsewhere on the contract front, the Bills were still in negotiations with free-agent running back Reggie Bush Wednesday, although there's no definitive sense of when or even if he will join the team that won't have a key reserve at the position, Karlos Williams, for the first four games due to a suspension.
By all indications, the major parameters of a deal have been put in place by the Bills, who still see the 31-year-old Bush as a viable playmaker who could be an effective backfield complement to LeSean McCoy.
Apparently, Bush is contemplating whether it makes sense to commit to the Bills now or wait until another team has a sudden shortage of running backs and makes a better offer.