Taylor-made in Free Agency
(Photos courtesy of the Arizona Cardinals and Buffalo Bills)
Talk of Fame Network
The most important position in the NFL is quarterback – on the field in the fall, off the field in the spring.
That’s why in this week’s Talk of Fame Network poll, when we asked whom the best free agent signing of the offseason was, Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor won in a landslide.
Taylor received 63.8 percent of the vote to easily outdistance Arizona running back Chris Johnson at 26.1 percent, followed by Minnesota cornerback Terrance Newman at 4.5 percent, Oakland wide receiver Michael Crabtree at 3.6 percent and finally New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis at 2.1 percent.
Taylor spent the first four seasons of his career sitting on the bench in Baltimore behind Joe Flacco, appearing in only 14 games and throwing just 35 passes. When he finally became a free agent, he bolted for Buffalo for a modest two-year, $7 million contract. He went to camp to compete for the starting job with incumbent E.J. Manuel and veteran Matt Cassel -- and won the position.
Now Taylor has posted a 5-3 record for the Bills, missing two starts with a shoulder injury. He ranks sixth in the NFL in passing with a 100.9 efficiency rating, completing 67.9 percent of his passes for 1,669 yards with 11 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He also ranks second in the NFL in fourth quarter passing behind only Tom Brady with a 120.1 efficiency rating. He has thrown five of his TD passes in the fourth quarter.
Talk of Fame Network co-host Ron Borges agreed with the result.
"If you can get your starting quarterback at the Dollar store and not the Million Dollar store it's a bargain that's priceless in a salary cap world...assuming, of course, he can actually play quarterback," Borges said.
And Taylor is proving he can.
Johnson made it interesting, though. He was signed by Arizona as running back insurance in mid-August and has paid immediate dividends for the 8-2 Cardinals. He moved into the starting lineup in the second game and now ranks third in the NFL in rushing with 797 yards. He’s had four 100-yard games on the season to ease the offensive burden on quarterback Carson Palmer, who is having a Pro Bowl year.
Revis has three interceptions for the Jets and Newman two for the Vikings. Crabtree ranks 13th in the NFL in receptions with 57 with a team-leading five touchdown grabs. He’s had three 100-yard games against Baltimore, the Jets and Pittsburgh.