For the Bears to address their quarterback situation in free agency, things will need to bounce their way in the most fortunate manner – in part because there aren’t too many starting caliber quarterbacks expected to hit free agency this offseason. Kirk Cousins is probably the best of the possible free agents, but he is widely expected to receive another franchise tag from the Redskins if he’s not sooner extended. Tony Romo could become one of the best free agents available, but he has to be released first.
One other interesting quarterback who might hit free agency and change the landscape a bit is Tyrod Taylor of the Bills. The ‘Around the NFL’ podcast team of Gregg Rosenthal, Dan Hanzus, Chris Wesseling, and Marc Sessler discussed Taylor’s future in Buffalo.
Toward the end of the 2016 season, Taylor, 27, didn’t seem to be in Buffalo’s future after being sat in the final game of the season, after head coach Rex Ryan was fired. Further, Taylor’s contract features an option for 2017 that, if picked up, locks in nearly $30 million in guaranteed money, and also ensures that Taylor will count $15.9 million against the cap in 2017. It’s a significant financial decision, and the Bills have until March 11 to make it. For his part, Taylor is reportedly unwilling to restructure the contract to make the decision easier on the Bills.
As we sit here today, though, it makes the most sense for both sides to reconcile and keep their partnership going. A clear upgrade from Taylor isn’t available in free agency and might not be there when the team drafts 10th overall (you can see the entire first-round order here). If Taylor leaves, the ‘Around the NFL’ panel expects the Browns and 49ers as the teams that would be most interested in signing Taylor if he doesn’t return to Buffalo.
If Buffalo’s starting quarterback role opens up this offseason, perhaps the Bills would be in the market for Jay Cutler?
Sal Maiorana of the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle writes that Buffalo could be so desperate for a quarterback if it moves on from Taylor, Cutler would represent a viable replacement option. Maiorana lists Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum, Matt McGloin, and Ryan Mallett among the list of available free agents. No wonder Cutler looks like a good option when the aforementioned names are the best names on the open market. Cutler could benefit from a change of scenery, specifically the one in Buffalo that would reunite him with offensive coordinator Brian Dennison, who served in that capacity in Cutler’s first three years in Denver.
Brett Taylor Contributed to this post.