The Ravens have lost another player to free agency, as backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor has signed with the Buffalo Bills. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
Tyrod Taylor had more than a hunch that coach Rex Ryan wanted him to join the Buffalo Bills' roster.
When Ryan was coaching the New York Jets, they attempted unsuccessfully to trade for the Ravens' longtime backup quarterback.
Now, Taylor will play for Ryan after signing a two-year contract with the Bills during his free agent visit to leave the Ravens. The deal is worth more than $7 million if Taylor emerges as the starter and includes $1.2 million guaranteed, according to a league source.
"It's good to be wanted," Taylor said during a conference call. "I guess the opportunity came back around. I am looking forward to working alongside coach Rex Ryan. He seems like a good guy and looking forward to working with him, playing for him."
The Ravens have 2014 sixth-round pick Keith Wenning on the roster, but they are expected to explore all options, including looking at veterans. The top free agent quarterbacks available include Michael Vick, who played for Ravens quarterbacks coach Marty Mornhinweg with the Jets last season, Matt Moore, Christian Ponder, Tarvaris Jackson and Colt McCoy.
"Just talking to my agent, they offered once throughout the process," Taylor said. "We just felt that after being there for four years, I think that I'm ready to compete and I thought that this was a better opportunity to compete. I loved the Ravens organization, they gave me an opportunity to play in this league and I just thought moving forward it was a better opportunity for me to make a name for myself here.
Taylor didn't throw a pass in a game this past season, marking the first time that's happened in his NFL career. As the backup to durable starter Joe Flacco for the past four years, Taylor has never started a game.
Taylor's four-year, $2.155 million rookie contract expired after the season. He appeared in one game this past year, rushing four times for minus-three yards.
The 2010 Atlantic Coast Conference Offensive Player of the Year at Virginia Tech, Taylor is now slated to compete with Matt Cassel and EJ Manuel.
"That there is going to be a competition, no one is really ahead of the other guy right now," Taylor said when asked how the Bills have described his role. "They're looking forward to us coming in and pushing each other to make this team better. I know that both of those guys have played in this league and have had success in this league. I'm looking forward to competing with those guys. I'm looking forward to us pushing each other and making each other better."
Taylor has completed 19 of 35 career passes for 199 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions and a 47.2 quarterback rating. He's rushed for 135 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries.
Despite Taylor's modest numbers, Ryan compared him to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in terms of style of play.
"He has been to back-to-back Super Bowls, so I take that as a compliment," Taylor said. "Hopefully, I can do some of those same things. As far as being capable, pulling the ball down and making moves with my feet, I am definitely capable of doing that. Like Russell, I can throw as well.
"I have tremendous confidence in my ability. People know that I can run, but my thing is just to continue to show people that I can throw the football—which I can do and people know. It is something that I have to continue to prove and I am looking forward to doing that. I cannot wait to get after it."
Taylor set school records with 9,213 yards of total offense, 7,017 passing yards, 2,196 rushing yards as a quarterback, 34 wins as a starting quarterback, 23 touchdowns as a quarterback and 24 touchdown passes in a single season. He went 34-8 as a starter.
Taylor said he absorbed a lot of knowledge working behind Flacco.
"I think being behind Joe definitely helped me mature in the game," Taylor said. "Of course, I was not able to get as many on the field reps as I would like to. Being there and learning from him, watching how he handled our Super Bowl run, just how he handled himself on a daily basis for four years that definitely helped me grow.
"We were able to win a Super Bowl within the four years that I was there and were in the playoffs three of the four years I was there. We also learned three different offenses in four years. So just being alongside him and just picking his brain throughout my time there definitely helped me. Like I told him earlier, I thank him for the time spent together. Definitely learned a lot from him. I appreciate everything."