At this point in his career, everybody knows what Cleveland Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor brings to the table. After a relatively successful stint with the Buffalo Bills, Taylor spent the majority of 2018 backing up rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield. Now a free agent, Taylor will attempt to find a new place to earn a starting job.
2019 NFL Free Agent Profile: Tyrod Taylor
Nobody will confuse Tyrod Taylor with Patrick Mahomes, but Taylor is capable of holding down a starting job until a rookie passer is ready to take over the reins. Admittedly, Taylor didn’t have the best tenure with the Cleveland Browns. Playing in four games (starting three), Taylor completed just 49.4% of his passes for 473 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. This obviously isn’t ideal entering free agency, but Taylor’s time in Buffalo proved that he can be a serviceable stopgap quarterback.
Taylor spent three seasons with the Buffalo Bills, completing 62.6% of his passes for 8,857 yards, 51 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions. Additionally, Taylor added some value with his legs, running for 1,585 yards and 14 touchdowns over that same timeframe. Taylor was good at taking care of the ball, posting a league-best 1.0 interception percentage in 2017 while leading the Bills to their first playoff appearance of the millennium. He rarely won games on his own, but he was never the reason Buffalo lost games, either. Basically, he was a serviceable game manager.
Nobody views Taylor as a franchise-altering player, but some teams will be interested in signing Taylor to serve as a short-term starter while grooming a younger quarterback. The Washington Redskins recently announced that they do not expect quarterback Alex Smith to play in 2019. Washington currently holds the 15th pick in the NFL Draft and might not have a good quarterback available. Signing Taylor would make perfect sense for Washington.
Likewise, the Ryan Tannehill Era is all-but over in Miami. Taylor and Tannehill are both similar-caliber quarterbacks, but Taylor will sign for significantly less than Tannehill’s $26.6 million cap hit. Miami can (and will) move on from Tannehill with just $13.4 million in dead cap. Chances are, Miami could eat that dead money and sign Taylor for less than it would take to retain Tannehill.
Last, but certainly not least, are the Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars. These teams both have top 10 picks and stand a much better chance at grabbing one of the top quarterbacks in the draft. However, if these teams don’t believe any quarterback is a Day One starter, they could sign Taylor to start a few weeks until the starter is ready. Taylor would probably prefer to go to a team where his future is a little more certain, but Denver and Jacksonville could certainly make a play. (Update: It’s not going to be the Broncos).
Last Word on Tyrod Taylor in Free Agency
Tyrod Taylor is nobody’s franchise quarterback, but he’s one of the safest options available. Nick Foles will probably earn franchise money, while Teddy Bridgewater is a giant question mark. For all his shortcomings, Taylor takes good care of the football and can effectively manage a game, even if he’s not good enough to force bad teams to victory.
Taylor is a perfect signing for a team like the Washington Redskins or the Miami Dolphins. Both teams have serious quarterback dilemmas and are picking midway through the first round of the NFL Draft. Unless they give up significant draft capital to get a quarterback, there likely won’t be a Day One starter available for them. Taylor can hold down the fort for a season while the teams attempt to develop whichever young passer they select in the draft.
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