By Nick Shook
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Tyrod Taylor learned in 2017 to make sure he looks out for himself when he has the chance.
Benched in the middle of a playoff run, Taylor returned a half later after his replacement, rookie Nathan Peterman, crashed and burned in his starting debut. Taylor started all but one of the remaining games, going 3-2 in his final five starts as the Bills ended the NFL’s longest active playoff drought.
And yet, Taylor enters yet another offseason filled with contract questions. This time around, he’s not down for a restructuring.
“Definitely not part of my mindset,” Taylor said, per the Buffalo News. “I’ve done that before. I don’t think there’s a need to do that again. That’s definitely not part of my mindset.”
A year ago, Taylor went from being set to make $30.75 million guaranteed (!) in 2017 to seeing a significant drop via contract restructuring as new head coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane attempted to remake Buffalo’s roster without losing a competent quarterback. It came as a surprise, as many expected the two sides to part ways. This time around, it sounds like that’s going to happen.
Taylor, who said he loves playing in Buffalo, learned about the cold nature of the business of professional sports when he was saddled with the blame for Buffalo’s midseason struggles. After agreeing to make less money for the team’s greater cause, he didn’t see the same treatment from the organization. Now he’s rightfully worrying about himself first and the letting the rest of the pieces fall where they may.
“I really haven’t had any communications as to what’s the plan moving forward,” Taylor said. “I’m sure that it’ll be communicated to me at some point, but as of right now, I’m going to continue to focus on myself mentally, physically, and get ready for another season.”
From Taylor’s standpoint, he’d command significant money — somewhat closer to what he was supposed to make in 2017 — if he entered free agency. He’d also add some juice to a group headlined by Kirk Cousins, and give teams an additional target if they lose out on the Cousins sweepstakes. There are more teams with a desire for a veteran quarterback than there are viable options. Taylor will get a sweet offer from at least one team.
As for Buffalo, the franchise enters an intriguing point if it finally severs ties with Taylor, a quarterback the franchise has seemed to begrudgingly retain for lack of a better option. What we saw from Peterman inspires zero confidence that he’ll be the better option, but with this same offseason, Buffalo could swing a deal to add someone else at the position.
One thing is fairly clear at this point: It would be more surprising to see Taylor back in a Bills uniform in 2018 than it would be to see him in a different team’s colors. For now, though, Taylor is still under contract.
“Until I’m told otherwise, I’m a Buffalo Bill,” Taylor said on NFL Total Access.