The Buffalo Bills‘ decision on Tyrod Taylor’s future sits less than three weeks away. The Bills brass will have to choose whether to pick up the $27 million option bonus by March 11 or cut ties with the quarterback.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that it appears there is a better chance the Bills keep the quarterback than release him.
While there are faults in Taylor’s play — i.e. some coaching frustrations with the QB’s inability to consistently target the entire field, particularly over the middle — the lack of other options could keep him in Buffalo. Tony Romo likely wouldn’t want to play for a rebuilding team, Jay Cutler is a coach killer, Nick Foles is painful to watch, the draft is roundly criticized for its lack of first-round talent at the position, and the Bills have no credible in-house candidate to take over this year.
Rapoport previously reported that the Bills and Taylor could re-do his contract to smooth out some of the salary-cap issues without the QB taking a pay cut.
One point of interest in Taylor’s timeline is his recovery from groin surgery last month. If the team were to decide to move on, he’d have to pass a physical.
Taylor’s recovery is going as expected and he’s healthy, a source informed of the situation told Rapoport. In addition, a Bills team source told ESPN that the quarterback has been “medically cleared.” The citation that it’s from a team source, (as opposed to a representative of Taylor) is notable in this case. When Taylor underwent surgery, the team sent out a statement saying the quarterback “elected to have surgery.” Now the team appears to be claiming he’s healthy, which could set up a battle if Buffalo decides to move on.
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“Sean McDermott is an excellent football coach and we feel he is the perfect leader for this team,” general manager Doug Whaley said in a statement. “Sean’s intelligence, leadership qualities and vision for our team impressed us throughout the interview process.”
The 42-year-old, who had a second interview with Bills ownership Wednesday, also interviewed with the Chargers and 49ers this offseason.
The move seems to be both practical and symbolic for an organization looking to move on from the hastily discarded Rex Ryan era. McDermott, a longtime defensive coordinator like Ryan, runs a different system (a base 4-3 instead of Ryan’s 3-4) and has more of a reputation as an elastic play-caller. The players create the system, not the other way around.
With many Bills players mentioning a lack of discipline following Ryan’s ouster, it’s also no surprise that McDermott, known for his tough demeanor in the likeness of mentor Jim Johnson, rose to the top of the candidate pool. The Bills are heavily invested in a slew of defensive talent, most of which has underperformed in recent years. Buffalo finished 16th in points surrendered and 19th in yards surrendered this season. In 2015, they were 15th and 19th, respectively.
As the architect behind Carolina’s highly regarded defense, McDermott’s units finished in the top 10 in takeaways each season since 2013. He twice finished in the top 10 in points allowed (second in 2013 and sixth in 2015) since arriving with the Panthers before the entire team took a tumble in 2016. This past season, the 6-10 Panthers were 26th in points surrendered and 21st in yards. Rapoport also reports that secondary coach Steve Wilks is likely to be promoted to DC in Carolina.
Terry was by far the strongest on the matter, essentially saying that fans and media cannot pin the 17 year drought on them.
“I know how I run my life, run our business,” he said. “I know how we treat people, and I know the people we have in our organization. You can’t pin 17 years on the Pegulas. We’ve been around for X-number of years. There’s no foundation, no truth to this dysfunctional talk. I consider it an insult to our organization and the Bills and the good people with the Sabres. They can’t be real happy to hear that.”
The full interview is worth your time. The Pegulas make their case as a strong but silent partner in the NFL operation and offer an honest assessment of general manager Doug Whaley’s debacle of a press conference two weeks ago.
In terms of ownership, Bills fans don’t have much to complain about so far. The Pegulas were intent on keeping the team in Buffalo and, in terms of a head coaching decision, identified quickly that Rex Ryan was not going to cut it and rectified the problem after less than two years. Some owners stick with ineffective coaches for much longer.
As we and they well know, the only way to ease a negative perception is to win. Just look at the Miami Dolphins, who have gone from the picture of dysfunction to a stable, ascending organization in the matter of one season.