One season was enough for Tyrod Taylor to convince the Buffalo Bills he has the potential to be their franchise quarterback.
Now he has the contract to start proving it.
The Bills signed Taylor to a six-year contract Friday, a day before Buffalo opens the preseason by hosting Indianapolis. The Bills announced the signing, and a person with direct knowledge of the deal revealed some of its details to The Associated Press.
The extension replaces the remaining year Taylor had left on his contract and will pay him more than $30 million over the first two seasons, the person said. The deal gives Taylor lucrative incentives over the course of the contract, but also provides the Bills flexibility to opt out of a portion of the deal, the person added.
The person spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity because the Bills have not revealed those details.
Joined by his parents and agent, Adisa Bakari, Taylor thanked the Bills for giving him the opportunity to play last year, and the faith they had in offering him the extension.
“It definitely shows that they're all in, which is what our phrase is for this year,” Taylor said, referring to the team's motto. “This contract is not going to change my mindset or my focus. Am I happy that it got done? Yes. But I'm ready to play football.”
He accepted how the contract is structured, addressing both sides' needs with incentives and opt-out clauses.
“Every year you have something to prove,” Taylor said. “At the end of the day, guys get judged by wins and losses, and my goal is to help the Bills have more wins than losses.”
General manager Doug Whaley said the extension is based on how Taylor performed last year as a first-time starter and the leadership he's shown this offseason.
“We look at it as what he's done so far is the baseline. Where he's going is the upside that we have whole-hearted belief that he can achieve,” Whaley said. “Is anything in this business 100 percent? Absolutely not. But we feel confident. The best part about it is anybody's who's been around Tyrod, he makes you feel confident not only in him but where he's going.”
Taylor displayed dynamic dual-threat potential with his strong arm and scrambling ability in going 8-6 last season. He completed 242 of 380 attempts for 3,035 yards passing, and threw 20 touchdown passes, 14 going 20 yards or longer. And he set the franchise record for quarterbacks with 586 yards rushing and scored four times.
He missed two games with a knee injury.
Taylor spent his first four seasons serving as Joe Flacco's backup in Baltimore before signing with the Bills in free agency in March 2015. He won the No. 1 job in Buffalo following a three-way offseason competition against former starter E.J. Manuel and Matt Cassel.
Taylor has already shown signs of becoming more confident and taking on a larger leadership role by being more assertive in the huddle.
Coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Greg Roman project Taylor building off of last season because he's more familiar with the playbook and personnel.
“His ascension was not a surprise when you look at his personal makeup,” Whaley said. “So we're excited about where it's going to go from here.”
Buffalo's offense made significant jumps under Taylor last year, and after the team retooled its roster by adding several established threats, including running back LeSean McCoy and tight end Charles Clay.
The Bills led the NFL with 2,432 yards rushing and finished 13th with 5,775 net yards offense, the most since 1992.
Taylor becomes the latest candidate to fill what has been an unsettled position in Buffalo since Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly retired after the 1996 season. Since then, the Bills have had 12 quarterbacks, including Taylor, start at least eight games. It's a group that included Todd Collins, Drew Bledsoe, J.P. Losman, Trent Edwards and Kyle Orton.
Taylor becomes Buffalo's third quarterback to earn a contract extension since Kelly retired, joining Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2011 and Doug Flutie in 1999.
Fitzpatrick's extension, a six-year, $59 million deal, was notable because it failed to pan out. He lasted just one more season in Buffalo before being cut following the 2012 campaign, and the Bills started fresh by using a first-round pick to draft Manuel.