Speaking on WGR Radio 550 on Monday, new general manager Brandon Beane said there will be an open competition at every position, including quarterback.
"If we walked out there today I would say Tyrod is probably the starter, but we haven't even gone through OTAs," Beane said. "We got the young guy (fifth-round pick Nathan) Peterman, I thought he did some nice things this weekend at the minicamp. Cardale Jones has a huge arm and talent, I don't know anything about him personally. T.J. Yates has done some starting in his career. So there are some guys on this roster."
At this stage, Taylor is the clear starter in 2017, but his future is in question, with the Bills able to wiggle out of his contract after this season.
Both Beane and coach Sean McDermott have praised Taylor in recent days, but Buffalo is preaching competition in the infantile stage of the team's latest rebuild.
"I'm for open competition. Sean is. Earn the right, from whatever job you have, whatever position you're trying to get," Beane said. "I'm not in the business of handing out positions on May the 15th. We've got a long way to go. It's going to be fun. I'm excited about the challenge. That's what I'm saying. I've got a lot of belief in Tyrod, but we've got other guys that are going to challenge for that as well."
Taylor sat behind Joe Flacco in Baltimore for four seasons before getting his shot at the starting gig in Buffalo in 2015. The free agent acquisition is an anomaly among starting quarterbacks in the NFL, where most teams are anchored by high draft picks at the position.
"The draft is generally where you get a top-level quarterback," Beane said of finding quarterbacks. "... Generally speaking you're going to have to find your quarterback through the draft. Doesn't mean you can't find it somewhere else. Listen, we're going to look at every avenue to do that, but if you just look at history, I'd be lying if I didn't say you need to draft one."
The Bills snagged Peterman this season. Would Beane add a quarterback in the draft every year?
"You don't just draft them to draft them. You've got to believe in them," he said. "I'm not going to just stand up here with a blindfold and throw darts and hope I hit something. We're going to do our homework and our research every year until we find one...Until we feel like we are 100 percent at quarterback, we're going to be turning over every stone to find that position and hopefully find a franchise guy at some point."
It's early in the process, but the tiptoeing around the Taylor question speaks to concerns new management might harbor about the 27-year-old being the long-term answer at the position. It's up to Taylor to prove to the new brass he can not only win the gig in 2017, but down the line as well. Otherwise, Beane will continue to flip stones until he finds a quarterback he believes can get the job done.