When former Ravens backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor signed a three-year, $3.35 million deal with the Buffalo Bills in March, the opportunity to complete for a starting job was the determining factor in his decision.
More than three months later, Taylor, who never started a regular-season game as Joe Flacco's backup in four seasons with the Ravens, remains a candidate to start for the Bills when they open the season on Sept. 13 against the Indianapolis Colts.
According to an article in today's Buffalo News, Taylor is the wild card in the Bills' quarterback competition, which also features veteran Matt Cassel, who was acquired this offseason from the Minnesota Vikings, and EJ Manuel, the 16th overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
The article states that while the other two have starting experience – Cassel has started 71 games over 10 seasons and Manuel has made 14 starts – Bills head coach Rex Ryan is intrigued by Taylor's athleticism.
When he was the New York Jets' head coach, Ryan, who has called Taylor the fastest quarterback in the NFL, tried to acquire the former Virginia Tech standout from the Ravens. The Buffalo News noted that Taylor was Ryan's "hand-picked addition" to the Bills.
According to the article, none of the three quarterbacks distinguished themselves or earned any separation during the various organized team activities and minicamps. It is widely believed that Cassel, the most accomplished quarterback on the Bills' roster, is the favorite to win the job but apparently Ryan and company want the competition to play out in training camp.
In four seasons with the Ravens, the 25-year-old saw action in 14 games, completing 19 of 35 passes for 199 yards, no touchdown passes and two interceptions.
He also never consistently looked sharp in the pocket in practice or the preseason. But Taylor is certainly fun to watch. He does some things athletically on the field that you don't see very often and he's not a lot of fun for defenses to chase around in practice, especially under the hot sun in training camp.
Taylor also was a complete professional throughout his time with the Ravens. He was an extremely popular teammate and a supportive sounding board for Flacco.
It would be a little surprising that a team with legitimate playoff aspirations would hand him the keys to the starting offense, but Cassel and Manuel don't exactly inspire a ton of confidence, either.