Report: Bills may pay Taylor's bonus, then weigh options

February 22, 2018

For the third straight year, the Buffalo Bills are faced with a dilemma regarding quarterback Tyrod Taylor.   

In 2016, after one season as the team’s starter and earning a Pro Bowl nod, the QB wanted to be rewarded with a contract in line with other NFL starters.  That August, they ultimately settled on a six-year extension worth $92 million total, but with an option after that season.

Last year, with that option on the table, a new coaching staff and a lame-duck general manager, there were questions about whether or not the team would have Taylor back at all.  They ultimately did, but only after a restructured contract was signed, reducing his salary.  

Here they are again facing a very similar situation.  While most have speculated for much of the season that the team would move on from the signal-caller this offseason, especially after head coach Sean McDermott benched the 28-year old in favor of rookie Nathan Peterman before the team’s week eleven game at the Los Angeles Chargers, NFL Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that the team won’t do that unless they know who his replacement will be.

From Up to the Minute Live: The explanation for why the #Bills could pay the $6M roster bonus and keep Tyrod Taylor... to trade or even start in 2018 in front of a rookie.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 22, 2018

Taylor is due a $6 million roster bonus on the third day of the new league year.  That means if he’s on the Bills’ roster at midnight on March 16, the team will pay him that amount and it will count against their salary cap.  He’s also scheduled to earn a $10 million base salary in 2018.  If he stays on the roster to begin next season, he will count a total of a $18 million on their salary cap (due to adding in his prorated signing bonus from last year).

The Bills also essentially have a 32-hour window to trade Taylor before paying the roster bonus.  That window opens when the new league year begins at 4 p.m. on March 14.

If the Bills do trade Taylor before midnight on March 16, his new team would be on the hook for the $6 million roster bonus plus the $10 million base salary he’s scheduled to earn in 2018 for a total salary cap hit of $16 million.  But they could also restructure his contract.

If the Bills keep Taylor through midnight March 16, pay the roster bonus, then trade him after that, his new team would only have to pay and count his $10 million base salary on their cap.

If the Bills outright release Taylor prior to March 16, they will still take on an $8.6 million salary cap hit in 2018.

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