The Buffalo Bills just named Tyrod Taylor the starter for this season, paying off on what was a huge gamble for the former Baltimore Ravens backup.
Taylor was tucked safely on the bench for his entire tenure with the Ravens, staying behind the steady and virtually never-injured Joe Flacco. So when he hit free agency in the last offseason, his options were limited.
But Taylor had at least two offers — one from the Buffalo Bills, who had no clear answer at quarterback, and another for more money from the Denver Broncos, where he would be assured to sit once again behind Peyton Manning.
The Bills did offer one advantage, however. His contract with Buffalo had incentives built in so that if Taylor became the team’s starter, he would get a huge bump in salary.
Taylor took the gamble, and it just paid off huge.
ESPN broke down some of the incentives he will have a chance to hit this year, including an extra $1 million if he plays 80 percent or more of the team’s offensive snaps this year.
Taylor was a somewhat surprise pick given his background and the Bills’ offseason moves. The team traded for Minnesota Vikings backup Matt Cassel, a veteran who many expected to take over for the retired Kyle Orton as a safe caretaker of the offense. Combined with the team’s offseason moves to bring on LeSean McCoy and Percy Harvin, it was expected that Cassel would take over the leading role.
The decision to name Tyrod Taylor is also a gamble on the part of the Buffalo Bills. He has flashed some brilliance in the preseason and given the team a good idea of the skill set he may call upon, but the regular season will likely bring new difficulties as teams will be game planning specifically for Taylor rather than employing the rather vanilla defenses he saw in the preseason.
But it may take a gamble for the Buffalo Bills to break their now 15-year playoff drought. The AFC East is on the rise, with both the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins appearing to be on the rise and the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots almost permanently at the top. The Bills have been held back mostly by their shaky quarterback play in the last decade and a half, and now the team is pinning their hopes on Tyrod Taylor to get them out of it.
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