After Sunday’s 38-24 loss to the Oakland Raiders in which the Buffalo Bills lost a 15-point, second-half lead, Bills head coach Rex Ryan was asked about whether quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s recent slump would have any bearing on his future with the team.
“Look, let’s just let this play out,” Ryan said, per ESPN.com. “We feel pretty comfortable with Tyrod. There’s a lot of factors that go into everything.”
Uh, and what factors would those be, coach?
“I’m not going to go into a list of them,” he said. “You guys can figure it out.”
Yes, we can — and they start with money.
Taylor’s contract extension he signed in August was for six years and $92 million, but there is an increasingly likely chance he could be cut in the offseason. It’s not that Taylor hasn’t done good things, but his play has leveled off, which makes handing him a ton of money this offseason less likely.
The contract contains more than $30 million in guaranteed money for 2017 if he’s on the roster starting with the fourth day of the league year in March. Although Taylor clearly is the Bills’ best — only? — option now, he also has seen his production dip almost across the board from a season ago and has more often than not failed to rally the Bills to victory in late-game situations this season.
After completing eight of his first nine passes Sunday for 102 yards in the first quarter, Taylor fell off a cliff. Over the final three quarters but his production fell off of a cliff after half time. In the final three quarters, Taylor completed 10-of-26 passes for 89 yards with an interception and a fumble.
Sure, Taylor ran for a score and has five rushing TDs over his past five games. But he also has only three passing touchdowns over that span and has fallen off following a 4-2 start with four straight victories after the change to Anthony Lynn at offensive coordinator. The offensive line certainly hasn’t done Taylor many favors of late, as he has taken 21 sacks in the past six games. But Taylor also has held onto the ball, been hesitant to let it rip and has missed some throws he probably should have made.
Injuries have been a compounding factor, both to Taylor and other players on offense. The Bills have had to operate without a lot of firepower in the lineup at times. And yet there are enough instances where Taylor has missed chances to make big plays that we at least have to consider the possibility the Bills might not spend such an unwieldy portion of their salary cap on one player.
Could he be back at that price? Absolutely. But the decision has become tougher with the Bills and Taylor’s recent slide.
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