Daily Focus: Tyrod Taylor’s extension ideal for all involved
Editor’s note: Every day in “Daily Focus,” PFF analysts take the latest NFL news and translate what it really means for each team involved.
Tyrod Taylor’s extension ideal for all involved
The Bills announced an agreement yesterday with Tyrod Taylor, re-signing him to a six-year, $92 million extension. Although Buffalo held the upper hands in negotiations – Taylor still had two years remaining on the original deal he signed last offseason – the team acted swiftly to tie up their starting quarterback after a breakout year. Despite the obvious long-term commitment, the Bills retained an escape clause in case Taylor’s 2015 season was an anomaly. He is on the books for only $9.5 million this year, as the extension only kicks in after 2016. The player gets a raise as a reward for his impressive performances, while Buffalo gets a good young quarterback to take them into the foreseeable future. If things go wrong, the Bills won’t be suffering the cost over the next few years. Even if Taylor only sustains his production from a season ago, his contract looks relatively reasonable.
Not many sixth-round quarterbacks, released by the team that drafted them, even get invited to another training camp. Fewer still sign contracts close to the veteran minimum, win the starting job and proceed to elevate their offense to new heights. Taylor is a true success story, ranking tenth-overall a season ago. A 92.3 rushing grade (No. 4) certainly gave him an advantage, but Taylor was far from one-dimensional. He put up a number of dimes down the field in 2015, connecting on 42.5 percent of 20+ yard passes with 11 touchdowns to just three interceptions. Although Taylor has plenty of development to undertake in his career, a 79.1 passing grade (11th) is impressive considering his single season of experience. Even if Taylor stagnates, his five-year $80 million extension with $37 million guaranteed looks fairly cheap. The figure up-front would only just crack the top 10 for quarterbacks, matching Brock Osweiler’s guarantee. At $16 million per season, Taylor’s annual pay ranks only 22nd among starters. Taylor’s contract could very well look like a steal in a couple of years.
Raiders face anxious wait on Mario Edwards injury
The positivity accompanying the Raiders’ offseason was tempered somewhat when Mario Edwards Jr. was carted off the field last night. The former second-round pick out of Florida State seemed to adapt to the requirements of the pro game in the latter part of 2015. From Week 9 onwards, he only recorded positive grades. Edwards Jr. generated two sacks and 21 pressures in his final seven games, after managing just one sack, two hits and four hurries in the previous six. Although still early in his career, Edwards Jr. is starting to earn a reputation for missing time. The neck injury that kept him out of the last couple of games in 2015 remains a long-term concern.
At least the Raiders prepared for the possibility of losing Edwards, drafting defensive tackles Jihad Ward and Darius Latham. Latham had numerous off-field concerns, but was one of the more underrated interior lineman in this year’s draft class. He ranked 21st amongst FBS defensive tackles, moving all the way up to eighth when considering pass-rush grade alone. Latham remains some way down the pecking order, only entering the game in the third quarter, but helped his cause with a really impressive performance. He generated five combined pressures (one hit and four hurries) from just 12 pass rush snaps. Latham also added a stop in the run game. Although he still has a long way to go, Latham’s outing highlights his phenomenal potential.
Olivier Vernon hits ground running against former team
After the Dolphins deemed Vernon unworthy of the franchise tag, the Giants swooped to sign the league’s most in-form pass-rusher. Miami’s ineptitude on offense limited the starting unit to just seven snaps, but Vernon still made his presence felt. He registered two hits in just four rushes, suggesting his end to the 2015 season was no fluke. Vernon is something of a hit-specialist, earning the single-season record with 30 last year. The first week of preseason against a demotivated Branden Albert means relatively little, but it is a positive sign nonetheless.
On the other side of the coin, Miami’s problems in their front five look likely to persist. The starters gave up a sack and three hits in 23 snaps. Tannehill was forced off his spot play after play. Adam Gase is a highly-gifted offensive mind but, without better play up front, the Dolphins are likely to face another tough season. Laremy Tunsil’s first NFL action, at guard it must be noted, did not offer hope of a solution. He recorded the third-lowest overall grade at the position we’ve handed out this week, struggling in the run game in particular. The project in Miami appears some way from completion.