Browns acquire quarterback Tyrod Taylor from Bills for third-round pick

The Cleveland Browns are making moves. Again.

Shortly after acquiring Pro Bowl wide receiver Jarvis Landry in a trade with the Miami Dolphins, the Browns have dealt a third-round pick to the Buffalo Bills for quarterback Tyrod Taylor, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Tyrod Taylor is heading from Buffalo to Cleveland. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Tyrod Taylor is heading from Buffalo to Cleveland. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

Last season, Taylor, 28, helped lead the Bills to their first playoff appearance since the 1999 season, but the campaign wasn’t without controversy and frustration for the dual-threat quarterback. After a 47-10 loss to the Saints on Nov. 12, the Bills, in the middle of the playoff race, announced rookie Nathan Peterman would replace Taylor as starter the following week. Peterman promptly threw five interceptions against the Los Angeles Chargers in his first NFL start (Taylor had only four all year), and Taylor was back to the top of the depth chart the following week.

Buffalo then won three of its last five games to squeeze into the AFC’s sixth seed but promptly lost an ugly 10-3 contest against the Jacksonville Jaguars, a game in which Taylor struggled and then left in the fourth quarter with a head injury.

Taylor started his career with the Ravens but saw only spot duty before heading north to Buffalo. He went 22-20 in Buffalo as a starter, but the Bills’ passing game struggled mightily at times last year, despite Taylor’s relatively solid numbers (62.6 completion percentage, 2,799 yards, 14 touchdowns, four interceptions) in a run-heavy scheme. He also rushed for 427 yards and four scores, and rushed for over 500 yards in each of his first two seasons in Buffalo before that.

Taylor will likely be a holdover quarterback for whomever the Browns choose to take in April’s NFL draft. Cleveland holds the Nos. 1 and 4 overall picks in a draft that features a handful of players who are viewed as potential franchise quarterbacks. The trade allows the Browns to play an experienced, capable signal-caller for as long as the need until they feel like whichever quarterback they draft is ready to lead them.

Taylor, meanwhile, gets a significant upgrade in his receiving options. Landry will play in the slot, and Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman will man the outside positions. The Browns also have David Njoku, a first-round pick last year, as a terrific athlete at tight end. The Browns also boast a solid offensive line and will likely be in the market for a running back — perhaps Penn State’s Saquon Barkley.

The additions of Landry and Taylor weren’t the only moves Cleveland general manager John Dorsey pulled off Friday: According to Schefter, the Browns also acquired cornerback Damarious Randall from the Packers, parting ways with quarterback DeShone Kizer, who started 15 games for Cleveland last season after being picked in the second round.

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