With Rex Ryan out the door, Taylor was benched in favor of E.J. Manuel in Week 17. Manuel struggled to make routine throws, but the decision was based on Buffalo likely pursuing a different starting QB for the 2017 season.
Still, Taylor is arguably their best quarterback since Jim Kelly, who recently spoke about the prospect of Tyrod being a franchise QB.
Even though they’ve had amicable relations in the past, Kelly was honest with his comments, saying he doesn’t believe Taylor can lead the Bills to the next level.
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“We do not have [a franchise quarterback] as of right now,” Kelly told ESPN’s “First Take” on Wednesday. “Tyrod Taylor, he did a lot of things this year and last year that a lot of quarterbacks in the NFL cannot do. But consistently, he just wasn’t what we needed. He had to be more consistent on his throws. When we needed the first down to move the chains to win games, when we needed the first down to move the chains to continue that control of the ball to take time off the clock, we just didn’t have that there.”
If Taylor is still on the roster on March 11th, he’s guaranteed $27.5 million for next season. At this point, it seems unlikely that they’ll pick up his option, guaranteeing $30.75 million through 2021.
However, there’s a small chance that Buffalo won’t have a choice. Without telling the team, Taylor underwent surgery this week to fix a core muscle issue in his groin, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The typical recovery timetable is six weeks, so he should be able to pass a physical before the March 11th deadline. If he doesn’t and they can’t cut him until afterward, the $27.5 million guarantee will kick in.