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Tyrod Taylor contract extension offers Bills significant flexibility

The big news on Friday involved the San Francisco 49ers Week 6 opponent, as the Buffalo Bills agreed to terms on a contract extension with quarterback Tyrod Taylor. The deal was announced as six years and $92 million, but as we know, NFL contracts are never that cut and dry. And this one in particular is very much a prove it deal, even beyond what the 49ers did with Taylor’s sometimes training parter, Colin Kaepernick.

The deal gives Taylor a fully guaranteed $9.5 million salary for 2016. The team then has the option after 2016 of picking up the extension. If they pick up that option, Taylor will earn a $15.5 million option and a $12 million base salary in 2017. If Taylor plays out the contract (we all know if he plays well, it will eventually be renegotiated), he could earn up to $112 million. However, reports suggest numerous opportunities for the Bills to get out of the deal.

This deal is a big win for the Bills. If Taylor performs poorly, they get out after this year, and just have to re-start the QB search process. However, if he plays well, they’ve built in what seem to be fairly reasonable base salaries for a quality starting quarterback. Rather than give Taylor a bunch of leverage if he performs well this year, they’ve worked out a deal that keeps him around at a reasonable price.

Taylor could have rolled the dice on a big year this season and/or next season, but he would have been set up to get the franchise tag the following year. This serves as a sort of reduced price franchise tag for 2016. Taylor has earned approximately $3.29 million through his NFL career thus far, and was due $2 million this year and $1.2 million next year. That’s certainly a lot of money, but for the NFL, that’s not all that much. This extension gets him an upfront pay day, and a very real chance at a huge pay day if he performs. It’s not ideal, but the team had more leverage at this point, so I get taking this kind of deal.