CAPACCIO: Bills got more than expected for Taylor given the circumstances

March 09, 2018 - 10:42 pm

I’m stunned.

Not that the Buffalo Bills traded Tyrod Taylor.  I knew they were trying and expected teams would have interest. But for the first pick of the third round of the draft? Before they had to pay his $6 million roster bonus?


The bottom line is this: The only reason you would think this was a poor deal for the Bills is if you did not want them to move on from Taylor.  

And I absolutely, totally understand anyone who felt that way. He is the most athletic and fastest quarterback in the league, which provided all of us – and the Bills – with some amazing highlight reel plays over his three years as their starter.

He’s the quarterback, the ONE! out 15 starters over 17 years, who led them out of the longest playoff drought in North American professional sports. His teammates love him. He’s an extremely hard worker, a leader on the field, and a class act off of it. There is certainly a lot to like about Taylor.

So if you didn’t want him out of Buffalo, and felt he could still be the one to lead this franchise to the next step, I understand.

But here’s the thing: The general manager and head coach of the team didn’t think that was the case. They made that abundantly clear when they benched Taylor, in the middle of a playoff race, in favor of a fifth round rookie who had never started an NFL game. 

There was no going back after that. They were moving on, and everyone knew it. If you couldn’t see it, it could only have been because you weren’t really paying that much attention, or simply didn’t want to believe it. Other teams knew it, too.

That’s why I’m blown away.

The Bills certainly didn’t have a ton of leverage when it came to negotiating a trade with other teams. They were on the hook for a $6 million roster bonus to be paid on March 16. There are more quality free agent quarterbacks available this year than maybe any other ever before. And the draft class offers plenty more options. Yet, here was general manager Brandon Beane getting the 65th pick in the draft for Taylor just four months after Jimmy Garoppolo went for the 43rd selection.

Let that sink in for a minute.

He also did it without having to pay that $6 million, and at the same time clearing over $10 million in salary cap space for 2018.

If they were going to find a trade partner, my expectation was that a return on Taylor would be a late round pick (probably a fifth or sixth) if done before paying out the bonus, or possibly a third or fourth rounder, at best, once they shelled out the cash and the team getting him didn’t have to.

Of course, once the trade is finalized at 4 p.m. next Wednesday, the Browns can restructure Taylor’s deal and not actually pay him the bonus. Instead, they give him a new contract and other ways to pay him. So for them, the bonus doesn’t have to be an issue. But they still had the Bills at a negotiating disadvantage, knowing Beane didn’t want to pay that money.

In the end, he won’t have to. And the Bills got at least as much - and probably more - than anyone could have expected, or maybe even hoped for a player they had no intention on having around in 2018.


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