MOBILE, Ala. -- Buffalo Bills General Manager Doug Whaley said Tuesday that Tyrod Taylor's recovery from groin surgery he underwent early this month should not be a factor in the decision to pick up the option on the quarterback's contract by the March 11 deadline.
"Let me say this, all the prognostication is saying that it's going to be something that will never play into it," Whaley said between Senior Bowl practices at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. "Medical things, you never know, but we're confident that no matter what, we're going to make a decision on the best for the Buffalo Bills."
Taylor has an injury guarantee, leading to speculation that if his recovery were to linger beyond March 11, the Bills would be forced to pay him $27.5 million regardless of whether they wanted to keep him on the roster.
Whaley addressed numerous personnel-related topics. Here are some highlights:
More on Taylor. "Right now, the recovery's on schedule. He's been in the office, doing some rehabs, so that looks promising. Everything else is too premature. They just hired (offensive coordinator) Rick Dennison. They just hired (David) Culley for a quarterback coach, so when we get back from the Senior Bowl, then we'll sit down as a staff with the new coaching staff and just go over everybody on our team."
On the evaluation process. "The process basically is we're going to sit down with every position coach and the coordinator and the head coach, and they're going to have time to look at the guys on our roster right now, (whether they're) free agents, restricted free agent or guys that are under contract. And what we want to do is have them explain their vision of the player in their system that they're going to run. ... And then we go from there and assign a value."
On where the Bills stand with their two top pending free agents, cornerback Stephon Gilmore and wide receiver Robert Woods. "We still have to sit down and meet with those (coaches), so once (Sean McDermott) gets his full staff together, I know the guys that have been hired, they're watching film already. But sometime before we go to our draft meetings in the middle of February, we'll have that meeting and then that's when we come out and say, 'All right, this is where they see them, the vision, alright let's try to construct a plan going in the offseason.'"
On the challenge of having 24 players headed for free agency. "I mean, the number seems pretty exorbitant, but when you look at it, a lot of them aren't guys that aren't going to be starters. We've got Gilmore, Robert Woods, (running back Mike) Gillislee's restricted, (punter) Colton Schmidt's restricted, so basically there's three starters, if you count Colton Schmidt, and a backup. The rest of those guys, we brought in for backup depth purposes and they've played extremely well, and that's a compliment to our pro personnel department. But we feel we have confidence that we can get a lot of those guys back on extended contracts."
On feeling if he and the scouting staff are starting all over again with finding players that fit the offensive and defensive schemes of a new coaching staff. "No. What we decided two years ago, even when we hired Rex, as a company, as a ballclub, we've got to get good players, because good players transcend any system. You throw Tom Brady in any system, he's going to excel. Marcell Dareus, he's excelled in every system. So we have a philosophy, let's get good players and then you add it to the fact that, when we're talking to Sean, he says, 'Our jobs as coaches is, one, to teach the players fundamentals, but, two, put them in positions to be successful.'"
On finding specific players to the 4-3 defensive scheme that McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier favor. "Yeah, the one biggest one is the Will linebacker in a 4-3 is a little more athletic, more cover guy, which you're really not going to have in a 3-4. You're going to have two thumpers inside and two outside guys who can get to the (passer). But in a 4-3, you're still going to have two outside guys that can get to the pass-rusher. But that third linebacker's a little different in a 4-3 than a 3-4. But the way the pro game's going now and you're in sub (packages) so much, you're running 60 to 70 percent nickel and dime, so that base defense, I think, is a little overrated to say, 'Hey, we're a 3-4, 4-3, because you're not running it that much.'"