The Jets are going to need a quarterback heading into next season.
Should Jets fire Todd Bowles?
And their 2017 starter could be sitting on the Bills' bench this Sunday.
After firing head coach Rex Ryan and brother Rob on Tuesday, Bills' brass subsequently benched starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor for former first-round pick E.J. Manuel. The move was surprising, to say the least, and seems to have signaled an end to Taylor's brief stint with the Bills.
Assuming Taylor is released, could he make his way to One Jets Drive in the offseason? Here are a few thoughts on the possibility:
The Bills will need to cut him first, of course. Taylor signed an (on paper) mega-money contract extension this offseason. On the outside, it was a six-year, $92 million deal. But Buffalo can get out from it before next season. According to ESPN, if the Bills were to cut Taylor before the fourth day of the 2017 league year, they would take less than a $3 million dead-money hit in doing so.
Essentially, Taylor is as good as gone. The Bills' decision to bench him now is to protect themselves for the future: Make sure Taylor doesn't get hurt against the Jets, which would prevent them from cutting him.
Taylor is certainly the most intriguing of potential options: Good quarterbacks usually don't hit the open market. It won't be any different this year. But of those set to be available, Taylor, if released, would be the best of the bunch.
He's younger and more talented than veterans Josh McCown and Brian Hoyer. He has more upside and experience than Mike Glennon. Whichever team gets Taylor will need to pay him, but there's a chance he'll be worth the money.
He has been productive in trying circumstances. Between dealing with Ryan, inept offensive coordinators and injuries to talented skill players, Taylor did make the best of his opportunities in Buffalo. He completed 63.7 percent of his passes and threw for 3,035 yards with 20 touchdowns and six interceptions in 2015. He ran for 568 yards and four scores. This year, he has completed 61.7 percent of his passes and thrown for 3,023 yards with 17 touchdowns and six interceptions. He has another 580 yards and six scores as a runner.
Taylor had a quarterback rating of 99.4 last year, and 89.7 this season.
Is Taylor perfect? Not at all. He has only one 300-yard game with the Bills. But he is certainly better than what the Jets have had.
The last Jets quarterback to have a completion percentage better than 61? Brett Favre in 2008. A quarterback rating higher than 89? Chad Pennington in 2004.
The Jets interest Taylor could relate to Christian Hackenberg. As mentioned above, Taylor is going to be the best quarterback on the free-agent market this year. More than half the teams in the NFL need a quarterback. Many scouts believe this is a weak quarterback draft class.
Seeing the end of the equation? The Jets aren't the only team who will be interested in Taylor. Odds are, they'll have to open the checkbook if they want the 27-year-old. Which then plays into how much they believe in Hackenberg.
If management thinks Hackenberg, who was drafted in the second round this year, is going to be the franchise quarterback, then maybe it doesn't make sense to give Taylor big money? If they have their concerns, maybe it does?
How interested, or uninterested, the Jets are in Taylor will be a nice tell on how they truly feel about Hackenberg. Taylor isn't a quarterback you target if you believe you already have a quarterback.
Of course, this is all assuming Taylor has a significant amount of teams competing for his services. If teams don't believe in him, maybe the Jets can get him on a prove-it deal?
What do they have to lose? Nothing. The Jets need a quarterback. Taylor is not only a quarterback, but, for all intents and purposes, a competent one. He has a solid arm, makes good decisions (only 12 interceptions in 29 games) and has the mobility to open up an offense.
If he can be had, the Jets should go and get him. No questions asked.
Connor Hughes may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Connor_J_Hughes. Find NJ.com Jets on Facebook.