March 3 (UPI) -- INDIANAPOLIS -- The Buffalo Bills probably already know what they're going to do with polarizing quarterback Tyrod Taylor, but until they let the rest of the world in on the big decision, it's virtually impossible to gauge what the immediate future holds for the NFL's longest-running playoff absentee.
"We're going through that process right now," new head coach Sean McDermott said at his NFL scouting combine press conference Wednesday, his first comments to the media since Jan. 13, the day he was introduced as the Bills' replacement for Rex Ryan.
"And the thing about all of our players, and Tyrod's no different, is we're going to go through the process. We're going to exhaust every ounce of time, look at it from every angle. I think the thing you'll find out about me is I'm pretty methodical in my approach. And so it takes time and that's what's in front of us right now."
If they bring back Taylor, which essentially means he's going to be their quarterback for at least the next two years at a cost of about $40.5 million, then the focus of their free agency shopping, and perhaps even the draft, shifts dramatically.
With Taylor back in place, the Bills probably still will draft a quarterback, but it certainly won't be with the No. 10 overall pick in the first round. They already have a young quarterback, 2016 fourth-round pick Cardale Jones, who they believe has a future, so they might opt to bring in a mid-tier veteran free agent to battle Jones for the backup spot behind Taylor, or draft someone in the middle rounds.
Now, if the decision is to let Taylor walk, everything changes.
Then, the Bills might well take a peek at quarterback with their first-round pick, provided DeShaun Watson and/or Mitch Trubisky remain on the board, although it is widely believed that the Bills would be making a mistake, perhaps similar to 2013 when they over-drafted EJ Manuel at No. 16 in the first round.
NFL.com's Mike Mayock conducted a conference call Monday, and he made it clear taking someone at the top of the quarterback draft class at No. 10 would be a risk for the Bills.
And having over-drafted Manuel at in 2013, that's not a mistake the Bills can afford to make. The smarter play for the Bills would be to hone in on wide receiver and safety, two definite areas of need, and then figure out the quarterback dilemma later in the draft or in free agency.
"I'm not bullish on the quarterbacks this year because I don't think any of them are ready Day One," Mayock said. "I think they all have different issues. ... As a matter of fact, I don't have a top-10 grade on any quarterback in this draft."
When asked what he would do with Taylor, Mayock said: "First and foremost, I'm a Tyrod Taylor fan. I understand that the question here is more about dollars, and cap dollars, than it is about whether or not he's a capable quarterback. Is he a franchise guy? No, I don't believe so. But he doesn't turn the football over and when you complement him with a strong run game and a good defense, it's a winning formula.
"So I kind of like the kid. I know Sean McDermott probably has to look at this guy and go 'Hey, he doesn't turn the ball over.' If he doesn't turn the ball over, we have a chance of being pretty good pretty quickly."
--Rex Ryan had the largest coaching staff in the NFL last season, and Sean McDermott's is nearly as big. McDermott retained special teams coordinator Danny Crossman, the only on-field member of Ryan's staff, plus six members of the strength and conditioning staff, then hired 19 other assistants, though some of those are low-level assistant to assistant positions.
Topping the hires are a pair of veteran coordinators, Leslie Frazier on defense and Rick Dennison on offense. Frazier also has head coaching experience with Minnesota, which should come in handy for newbie McDermott. Dennison has been an OC in the NFL with Houston and Denver, and what's also interesting is that he was the quarterbacks coach in Baltimore for one season when current Bills' quarterback Tyrod Taylor was there, raising speculation that the Bills might retain Taylor on the advice of Dennison. Again, pure speculation there.
Among the top assistants, defensive backs coach Gill Byrd has 13 years of NFL experience, was also a very good player for the San Diego Chargers, and his son, Jairus Byrd, is a former Bills' second-round draft pick who plays for New Orleans.
Quarterbacks coach David Culley is interesting because he hasn't coached that position since 1988, when he was at Southwestern Louisiana. He has primarily been a wide receivers coach with four teams in the NFL until he added the title of assistant coach during his four-year stint under Andy Reid with Kansas City.
McDermott worked under Reid at the start of his NFL career, and Culley came highly recommended.
Receivers coach Phil McGeoghan's only NFL experience is four years in that position with the Dolphins (2012-15). Last year, he was at East Carolina and mentored Zay Jones who is considered one of the top draft prospects this year, perhaps a first-rounder.
The Bills are in desperate need at that position, and the McGeoghan connection could come in handy.
Assistant defensive line coach Bill Teerlinck is the son of long-time NFL defensive line coach John Teerlinck. who won Super Bowl rings with Denver and Indianapolis.
Bill Teerlinck will work under Mike Wauffle, an ex-Marine who grew up in nearby Hornell, N.Y., and has 19 years of NFL experience coaching the defensive line.
--Coach Sean McDermott said during his press conference on Wednesday at the scouting combine that the Bills will have defensive tackle Kyle Williams moving forward. Williams, the Bills' longest-tenured player and elder statesmen, was thought to be considering retirement, and even if he wanted to play -- which apparently he does -- there was the matter of whether the Bills would release him for salary cap purposes.
"Kyle Williams, man, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Kyle," McDermott said. "Again, what he's done for the Bills' organization, one of our leaders, and I can announce at this time, that Kyle is coming back, and we look forward to working with Kyle."
--The Bills opted not to use the franchise tag on cornerback Stephon Gilmore, and in all likelihood he will enter unrestricted free agency next week. With the salary cap now officially set at $167 million, the franchise tag would have meant the Bills would have to pay Gilmore $14.2 million in 2017, and then hope to work out a long-term deal by July 15 to lessen the salary cap hit for this year. That's not going to happen, and now cornerback becomes a key priority in the draft.
"Stephon is a good player and so, when you look at Stephon and what he brings to the table, the corner position is a critical position to being successful on defense, so we're going to put the right people in place to help us be successful," coach Sean McDermott said.
"You look at Ronald Darby and (Kevon) Seymour and other guys we have on the roster, those are guys we look forward to working with and that's all part of the evaluation process and that process continues."
--Coach Sean McDermott said he has studied backup quarterback Cardale Jones, although he's certainly not ready to render an evaluation of a player who is as raw as it gets.
"Cardale's an option for us as well and so when you look at Cardale, you do look at what he did in college as part of the evaluation," McDermott said. "I've gone back and my staff has gone back and we've looked at all the practice tape, his tape in the last game of the year there, so we're excited about working with Cardale just like we are the rest of the players on the roster."