Buffalo Head Coach Sean McDermott announced today that the team will bench starting QB Tyrod Taylor and start rookie Nathan Peterman out of Pittsburgh.
The team is 5-4 and currently the 6th seed in the AFC as the final wild card team. Taylor has thrown for 1,684 yards and accounted for 12 touchdowns against 3 picks and 2 fumbles while completing 64% of his passes.
“Nathan Peterman is a great guy and I wish him the best. I still want to see this team do well so I’ll be there for him and our team,” Taylor said.
Peterman is surrounded by a lot of hype, and Taylor and the Bills front office haven’t been on the same page even during this past offseason, but it is hard to figure out why you would want to bench your starter when you control your own destiny.
The defense for Buffalo has been average, right in the middle of the league allowing 21.8 points per game.
Taylor will receive a 6 million dollar roster bonus at the end of the year and will clear over 9 million in cap space if the Bills let him go.
This leaves many to believe the team is starting that process early.
Still, that’s a pretty pessimistic outlook if you truly believe an NFL team is willing to burn a bridge at this stage in the relationship, especially considering the team is in a good position to compete and have a successful season.
Taylor remained composed an professional in the press conference that followed the announcement.
“I’m obviously disappointed and it’s a decision that I don’t agree with. Ultimately, it’s Coach McDermott’s decision and I need to continue to be the leader and teammate that I know I can be,” Taylor said.
You could also contemplate two other factors.
There is always the chance this is a motivational benching. Taylor takes a seat and then comes off the bench to play better than ever.
The other option is the team legitimately knows something about Nathan Peterman that enables them to have the confidence to say he gives them a better chance to win. More likely, they just want to see what he brings to the table because it’s tough to buy a rookie gives the team more hope than a talented and savvy veteran like Taylor.
The Bills locker room can’t be thrilled about the team showing their priorities.
The message they are sending is mixed, but it screams negativity if you are a veteran starter or role player suiting up for Buffalo because you don’t want to see a 23 year old take the reigns when you’ve been working towards your goals that are still in reach. Peterman will create more work for you because there will be a learning curve and the 28 year old veteran who played more than half the season is now not out there, which creates many problems.
This likely comes down to money. The Bills have eradicated the talent around Taylor and with two first round picks in this coming draft, they will probably be happy to see him go at the end of the year.