Bills reportedly bench QB Tyrod Taylor for Week 17 due to contract clause

Rex Ryan may not be the only without a job in Buffalo. The Bills fired the head coach on Tuesday, and with that decision will come another shocking move. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Buffalo is expected to bench Tyrod Taylor for the season finale, starting EJ Manuel instead.

This is a particularly surprising move on the surface, but upon digging deeper, it makes a bit of sense. The Bills have to make a huge decision this offseason regarding Taylor’s contract – one worth $27.5 million. If they do pick up his option in March, that’s how much he’ll make in 2017 after a $15.5 million bonus, which comes in the form of an option.

If Taylor were to get hurt in Week 17, he would be guaranteed $30.75 million – hence the team’s decision to bench him in the finale. Instead, Manuel will take the reins and lead the offense under new head coach Anthony Lynn.

Ryan was a big supporter of Taylor the past two seasons, so it’s also possible that Lynn doesn’t view him as highly as Ryan did. The decision is also reportedly coming from GM Doug Whaley, who wants to see what Manuel can do ahead of hitting free agency in 2017.

The Bills also have rookie Cardale Jones on the roster, who hasn’t yet been on the field yet as a pro. He has potential, but apparently the Bills would rather wait and see with him, opting to start Manuel instead.