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Whaley: Tyrod Taylor in “process” of earning new contract

New York Jets v Buffalo Bills

ORCHARD PARK, NY - JANUARY 03: Tyrod Taylor #5 of the Buffalo Bills acknowledges the crowd after the Bills beat the New York Jets 22-17 at Ralph Wilson Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

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The Bills settled on Tyrod Taylor as their starting quarterback this season and Taylor turned in a solid year in his first turn in that role.

He was 242-of-380 for 3,035 yards, 20 touchdowns and six interceptions while also adding 568 yards and four touchdowns as a runner for the 8-8 Bills. Taylor’s play was a highlight of a disappointing season in Buffalo, but it doesn’t sound like it was enough for the Bills to commit to him for anything beyond next season.

Taylor has one year at $1 million left on his deal, which is a nice bargain for the team that General Manager Doug Whaley suggested they don’t expect to alter this offseason. Whaley said the team is confident moving forward with Taylor as their starter and that Taylor is “on the process to earning” a bigger contract if he repeats this year’s performance.

“He’s warranted enough for us to continue down the road to see if he can be the franchise guy of the future,” Whaley said, via the Buffalo News. “I mean if you think about it, if I told you a former sixth-round pick in his first year starting went 8-6, and with his stats and his quarterback rating and what he’s brought to the team, I think it warrants him a chance to prove it. Absolutely. And the thing that we like the most about him is the locker room believes in him, we believe in him, and hopefully the fans believe in him.”

Whaley pointed to consistency, learning to slide and “last second heroics” as areas where Taylor could show the Bills the improvement they are looking for before deepening their commitment. Should Taylor do those things and have a chance to head toward the open market, it will cost the Bills more to hold onto his services. Whaley said the team will “be happy to pay him” under those circumstances, which may make Taylor’s contract negotiations a big topic at this time next year.