Browns Trade for Jarvis Landry and Tyrod Taylor

Written by Bill Barnwell at ESPN.com

The stockpiling-draft-picks era of the Cleveland Browns has come to a close. With Sashi Brown fired and replaced by traditionalist general manager John Dorsey, it’s no surprise that the Browns put some of their record-setting draft capital to work by trading for a trio of veterans on Friday afternoon. In three separate deals, the Browns sent out midround selections in the 2018 and 2019 drafts along with former starting quarterback DeShone Kizer for three veterans who should help the team win in the short term. It’s not difficult to understand why the Browns made these trades, but it’s a sign that they’re stuck paying what amounts to a competitiveness tax.

In the case of their trades for Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor and Dolphins wideout Jarvis Landry, the Browns sent out draft picks to acquire a veteran they likely would not have been able to woo in free agency unless their markets totally failed to materialize. Buffalo and Miami had little leverage in making these deals, given that the Bills had no realistic intentions of paying Taylor the $6 million roster bonus he was due on March 16. Buffalo might have publicly suggested it was willing to pay Taylor to keep its options open, but outside of Nick Foles with the Rams in 2016, there’s virtually no track record of a team paying this sort of optional roster bonus for a player it didn’t plan to keep in a meaningful role.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins might not have been able to afford the $16 million franchise tag Landry signed earlier this week. Landry reportedly had interest from the Ravens, but given that Baltimore would have needed to totally restructure his deal, it’s unlikely the Dolphins would have been able to make a similar swap to the one they made here. And if there weren’t any other trade suitors for Landry, he probably wouldn’t have signed the franchise tag. The most likely outcome for both Landry and Taylor this offseason was that they were both going to hit free agency. Instead, they’re both Browns.

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Bill Name Tyrod Taylor Starting QB As Nathan Peterman Era Ends In Buffalo

Written by Mike Rodak at ESPN.com

The Buffalo Bills will start Tyrod Taylor on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, coach Sean McDermott announced Wednesday.

“It’s the right thing for our team,” McDermott said.

Taylor regained the starting job from rookie Nathan Peterman, who threw five first-half interceptions in his first career start Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Bills moved Taylor to the backup role against the Chargers despite the team entering the week with a 5-4 record. He had been replaced the previous week after going 9-for-18 for 56 yards in three-plus quarters of a loss to the New Orleans Saints.

Three straight losses have knocked Buffalo out of the final wild-card spot in the AFC standings.

Taylor has thrown for 1,842 yards with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions this season. He was 15-for-25 for 158 yards and a touchdown after entering Sunday’s game against the Chargers in the second half.

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Bills Bench Tyrod Taylor For Nathan Peterman

Written by Scooby Axson at SI.com

The Buffalo Bills will be bench Tyrod Taylor for Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers and rookie backup Nathan Peterman will get the start.

Taylor had started the team’s first nine games this season, going 5–4 in those games. The move comes days after the Bills were blown out at home by the New Orleans Saints.

Taylor went 9 for 18 with 56 yards passing and one interception in the 47–10 loss. Peterman came on in relief of Taylor and had 79 yards and led the team to their only touchdown.

“This is not an indictment on Tyrod,” Bills head coach Sean McDermott said about the quarterback change. “I’ve been impressed with the maturity from Nathan Peterman. I’m comfortable making a calculated risk to try and get us where we need to go.”

Taylor is completing 64% of his passes for 1,684 yards with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions this season.

Buffalo enters the week with the league’s 28th–ranked offense and 30th–ranked passing offense.

Peterman was a fifth–round pick by Buffalo in the 2017 NFL draft out of Pittsburgh.

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Fantasy Implications Of Aaron Rodgers’ Broken Collarbone

Written by George Kurtz at YahooSports.com

The prime topic of conversation around fantasy football this week is clear: How does the broken collarbone injury for Aaron Rodgers affect the Packers and fantasy football for the rest of this season?

Rodgers’ injury not only affects those who have him on their fantasy team, but also those who have Jordy NelsonDavante AdamsRandall Cobb, and Ty Montgomery on their rosters. The Packers have one of the best offenses in football but will now be relegated to hoping that a little-known backup, Brett Hundley, can hold down the fort. That seems unlikely.

Here are some possible replacement quarterbacks and other players that may be available in your league and are realistic targets:

JOSH MCCOWN, QB, New York Jets (14 percent)

This pick may be more for deeper leagues but McCown has been surprisingly effective this season and the Jets have been shockingly competitive. Could this come crashing down at any moment? Absolutely, but as you will see from this list, there just isn’t much fruit on the tree. If you lose a waiver claim or two, he might have to be your choice.

TYROD TAYLOR, QB, Buffalo Bills (44 percent)

Taylor has usually been a safe QB in fantasy but a lack of offensive weapons around him has seen him post only two games with more than 200 yards passing this season and only 28 yards rushing over his last three games. If he’s not going to run, then his fantasy value is extremely limited. It’s not all his fault, as his number one WR, Jordan Matthews, is still considered week to week with a thumb injury. His top target, tight end Charles Clay, is out multiple weeks after knee surgery. It’s pretty much LeSean McCoy or bust right now for Buffalo.

JARED GOFF, QB, Los Angeles Rams (50 percent)

Yeah, the pickings are slim as it seems quite a few fantasy owners are rostering two quarterbacks this season. Hopefully, if you own Rodgers or Jameis Winston (shoulder injury), you have a capable backup. But if not, Goff could make a suitable replacement. He’s played much better under a QB-friendly system and has solid weapons in Todd Gurley, Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, and Cooper Kupp.

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Sleeper Fantasy QB Picks

Written by Michael Beller at SI.com

ANDY DALTON, QB, BENGALS (ADP: ROUND 11)

Dalton finished as the fantasy QB12 in 2016, the QB4 in 2013, and actually has three top-12 finishes in the last five years. A.J. Green is healthy, Tyler Eifert should be ready for camp, and the Bengals added speedster John Ross and the versatile Joe Mixon in the draft. In the last two seasons with a healthy Green available for 23 games, Dalton has completed 65.4% of his passes for 261 yards (8.1 yards per attempt) and 1.57 touchdowns, with just 0.57 interceptions, per game. He also scored an average of 0.26 rushing touchdowns per game during that span. The resulting 18.4 fantasy points per game would have been good for QB7 numbers in 2016, so Dalton is looking like a terrific value as the 16th or 17th passer off the board. Given his ADP, Dalton can be paired with another quarterback to form a potent committee, or an owner could even forgo a backup and start out with Dalton as their sole quarterback. — John Paulsen

TYROD TAYLOR, QB, BILLS (ADP: ROUND 10)

Taylor was a 4for4 favorite last summer until Sammy Watkins’ injury, but he still produced top-eight numbers with Watkins in and out of the lineup. He was also a top-10 quarterback on a per-game basis in 2015, meaning he has now produced starter-caliber numbers in two straight seasons. In 29 games over the last two years, Taylor has completed 62.7% of his passes for 208 yards (7.38 YPA), 1.28 touchdowns and just 0.41 interceptions. He’s also a dual threat, adding an average of 41 rushing yards and 0.34 touchdowns on the ground per game, totaling an average of 18.8 fantasy points per game. His fantasy playoff schedule (Colts, Dolphins and Patriots in Weeks 14–16, respectively) looks pretty favorable, as well. To top it all off, Taylor’s age 26–27 numbers compare favorably to Russell Wilson’s. As long as Watkins stays healthy (fingers crossed), Taylor is shaping up as one of the best late-round quarterback values. — JP

CARSON PALMER, QB, CARDINALS (ADP: ROUND 14)

Let’s start with the bad. Palmer is 37 years old and coming off a season of significant regression. He has been a top-15 quarterback just once in his four seasons with the Cardinals, making his monster 2015 campaign the outlier. And yet, I find it awfully hard to resist him in the 14th round. Say what you will, Palmer still has the big arm that has been his hallmark all the way back to his college days at USC. David Johnson is clearly the focal point of the offense, and Bruce Arians is expected to scale back his air-it-out offense to better reflect that fact, but this team is still going to push the ball down the field. Palmer has an attractive set of weapons, starting with Johnson, who could probably be a top-20 receiver if he weren’t the perfect running back for the modern NFL. Larry Fitzgerald is still getting the job done, and John Brown is healthy for the first time since early last season. No one is going to fight you for Palmer, but he has easily identifiable QB1 upside. — Michael Beller

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Bills To Cut Or Try To Trade Taylor, Who Is Getting Serious Looks from Browns

Written by Jeff Schudel at News Herald.com

The Buffalo Bills plan to cut quarterback Tyrod Taylor this week, according to a report, and if that happens he could quickly find a new home with the Browns.

The Bills have been debating for months whether to pay Taylor a $15.5 million roster bonus on March 11. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports on March 5 reported they have decided to release him before the bonus is due, now in less than a week, and explore signing a veteran free agent at a contract more club-friendly. The Browns have “significant interest” in Taylor, according to the La Canfora report.

Taylor signed as a free agent with the Bills in 2015. He was 15-14 as a starter in two seasons in Buffalo.

Taylor has been linked to the Browns since the end of the season in the event the Bills cut him because of the Browns’ need for a quarterback. The link grew stronger last month when the Browns signed former Bills quarterback coach David Lee to be their quarterback coach. Lee coached Taylor the last two years in Buffalo.

“I know people will put those connections together, but it’s not really about that,” Browns head coach Hue Jackson said on March 2 at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. “I went out and hired who I thought was the best quarterback coach for us, for our organization and that’s why he’s here.

“He’s coached some really good ones in the National Football League. It allows me the ability to still kind of move around and do some things I need to do, but he will be responsible for helping me mold these guys as we move forward.”

Free agency begins March 9. It is also the first day trades can be made in 2017.

The Bills could hold onto Taylor until March 10 with the hope of making a trade in the first two days of the 2017 league year. They could also decide to keep him and weather the $15.5 million bonus and his $12 million salary for 2017. A team trading for him would have to pay the bonus and salary. Taylor’s contract is for $13 million in 2018, $13.6 million in 2019, $13.85 million in 2020 and $14.5 million in 2021.

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Tyrod Tied to Rex Ryan’s Success


Written by Mike Rodak at ESPN.com

Rex Ryan’s decision to fire offensive coordinator Greg Roman six days into the regular season raised eyebrows because through the first 18 games of Ryan’s tenure with the Buffalo Bills, it has been his defense — and not Roman’s offense — that has been the weaker link.

But let’s not ignore the offense’s problems, either. After all, this was a group that was booed by some in the home crowd last Thursday at New Era Field when its first pass attempt was a 2-yard loss to tight end Charles Clay.

Through Sunday’s games, the Bills rank 30th in offensive yards per game (276.5) and 29th in third-down conversion rate (26.1 percent), averages that are both well below what the team posted last season (360.9 yards per game and 37.9 percent on third downs). Having left tackle Cordy Glenn (ankle) out since the second quarter of the opener hasn’t helped, nor has Sammy Watkins’ lingering foot injury.

The Bills’ biggest offensive question mark, however, remains Tyrod Taylor. The team has a $27.5 million decision it must make on its quarterback after this season, and the development of the second-year starter now rests with new offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn.

Now 16 games into his career as the Bills’ starter, Taylor’s growth might be sputtering. Through two games, his statistics align nearly identically with his marks from last season: his Total QBR is 63.9 (it was 65.8 last season), his passer rating is 98.9 (99.4 last season), his average yards per attempt is 7.85 (7.99 last season) and his completion percentage is 63.5 (63.7 last season).

The sample size for the offense is tiny this season, but clearly that hasn’t stopped the Bills from forming opinions. Ryan hinted in his Friday news conference after firing Roman that he wanted his offense to take greater advantage of Taylor’s “special abilities” as a quarterback, which is inherently a sign that something has been lacking.

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Tyrod Taylor Gets Massive Extension


Written by Kevin Patra at NFL.com

After an offseason of back-and-forth on Tyrod Taylor’s contract, the Buffalo Bills locked down their starting quarterback.

The Bills announced an extension for the sixth-year pro on Friday. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported the deal is for $92 million over six years plus incentives, per a source. Rapoport added that Taylor will make $9.5 million in 2016, all of which is “fully guaranteed, but after that there is a lot of prove-it in the deal.”

The team has the option to pick up the contract in 2017, and he’ll make $27.5 million ($15.5 million with option, $12M base salary) if they do so, two sources informed of the deal told Rapoport. However, in the unlikely scenario he plays out the entire extension and gets paid all incentives, Taylor would make $112 million over the six years.

“Every year you have something to prove,” Taylor told reporters Friday. “This is a competition-driven league. It’s not like the NBA where everything is guaranteed. You can get cut at any given time. Any time you step on that field, you have something to prove, and that’s been my mindset every time I step on the practice field.”

Taylor was scheduled to enter the final year of his contract, and set to make just over $1 million in 2016, the lowest average of any starting quarterback. Now he’ll be paid equal to his actual worth.

General manager Doug Whaley called Taylor “undeniably the leader of the Buffalo Bills.” He added that Taylor impressed this offseason with his willingness to be a team leader, which convinced the team he was worthy of an extension, per the Buffalo News.

After four years as a backup in Baltimore, Taylor flashed dual-threat ability in his first year as a starter in Buffalo. In 14 starts last season, Taylor threw for 3,035 yards, with a 63.7 completion percentage and 20 touchdowns to just six interceptions. He also added 568 yards on the ground, four rushing scores and led all quarterbacks in rushing yards per game with 40.6.

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