The Cleveland Browns have agreed to trade for Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The Browns will be sending the 65th overall pick in return for Taylor.
The trade comes just hours after Cleveland agreed to trade for wide receiver Jarvis Landry. Landry will now have a veteran quarterback to get him the ball.
The trade cannot be made official until the new league year begins at 4 p.m. on March 14th.
Taylor played three seasons in Buffalo and compiled a record of 22-20 as the starter. Last year, he led the Bills to their first playoff berth since 1999. He will be looking to lead the Browns to their first playoff appearance since 2002.
Taylor played in 15 games last season, starting 14 games, and threw for 2,799 yards, 14 touchdowns and four interceptions with a 62.6 completion percentage. He also rushed for 427 yards and four rushing touchdowns.
Taylor signed a two-year contract extension with Buffalo before the 2017 season. He was due a $6 million signing bonus on Saturday, which is why the Bills completed this trade. Taylor will be a free agent at the end of the 2018 season.
Taylor is known for taking care of the ball and not known to take many chances downfield. Landry could become Taylor’s favorite target, as he is a sure-handed receiver that can create separation across the middle of the field.
The addition of Taylor will also take the Browns out of the A.J. McCarron sweepstakes. Taylor will likely be a bridge quarterback for Cleveland, and potentially mentor a rookie quarterback. It would be surprising that the Browns would sign another veteran quarterback on top of that.
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The Taylor trade could also hint at what the Browns could do in the draft. After trading a third-round pick for Taylor, the Browns may be willing to wait for a quarterback in the first round. They could use the first overall pick to draft Saquon Barkley to give Taylor a solid run game to lean on, and then draft their quarterback with the fourth pick.
A quarterback that is in the draft that could be an interesting comparison with Taylor is Baker Mayfield. Both quarterbacks have similar play styles, as they are both accurate passers that can move the chains with their legs. The Browns have set up a meeting with the Oklahoma quarterback, and will also hold a private workout.
After trading the 65th overall pick, the Browns still have five picks in the first two rounds of the draft. With the amount of draft capital that Cleveland has, using what was the team’s sixth-highest draft pick to acquire a starting quarterback is a good gamble for the Browns to make. For a Cleveland passing offense that ranked 22nd in the league in 2017, there is a good chance they will be a better unit in 2018.