COLLEGE PARK — Before Brandon Weeden's signing with the Dallas Cowboys to back up Tony Romo earlier this month, a league source said the Ravens were in talks to try to acquire the former Cleveland Browns starting quarterback.
The Ravens' interest in landing a backup quarterback through free agency or the NFL draft is something coach John Harbaugh emphasized during the recent NFL owners meetings. Harbaugh pointed out that backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor is entering the final year of his four-year, $2.155 million rookie contract and that the team needs to plan for the future.
Taylor said he had a conversation with Harbaugh about his status and understands the situation that he'll be fighting to hold onto his job.
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"Yeah, we talked about it, and there's competition across the league every day," Taylor said Saturday night, during wide receiver Torrey Smith's charity basketball game at Comcast Center. "You've got to compete for your job to stay there. We know where we stand. I'm trying to get better every day. Competition — that's the name of this game."
For his career, Taylor has completed 19 of 35 passes for 199 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions for a 47.2 quarterback rating. The former Atlantic Coast Conference Offensive Player of the Year from Virginia Tech has rushed for 139 yards and one touchdown for his career.
In a 41-7 loss to the New England Patriots last season, Taylor completed just one of four passes for 2 yards and had an interception returned for a touchdown.
Last season, in an all-purpose hole for the offense in which he occasionally lined up at wide receiver and at quaterback with starter Joe Flacco split out wide, Taylor rushed for 64 yards on eight carries and caught one pass for 6 yards.
"We've been very happy with Tyrod, and we feel like he has a great future, but we have been a little disappointed how he's played in games, certainly," Harbaugh said. "We feel like he's a lot better than he's showed. I know he feels that way, too. We feel like Tyrod's best football is by far definitely in front of him, but he's only got one year left with us, so we need to add a quarterback into the mix, whether it be offseason or in the draft.”
Due a $645,000 base salary this year, Taylor, 24, is aware this shapes up as a pivotal year for his future.
"This is a big year for me," Taylor said. "I'm just trying to showcase what I can do."
Taylor has bulked up his upper body a bit this offseason.
"I'm right at about 214 pounds," he said. "I was a little light at the end of last season."
Taylor has been working on improving his footwork and speeding up his release.
"I'm trying to get the ball out of my hands quicker, move in the pocket and use my feet to buy time," Taylor said. "I keep getting better every day. We've got a new offense. It will be exciting."