The Buffalo Bills haven't found an answer to the franchise quarterback question since Jim Kelly retired two decades ago. According to the team icon, they are no closer to discovering one.
"We do not have (a franchise quarterback) as of right now," Kelly said on ESPN Wednesday. "Tyrod Taylor, he did a lot of things this year and last year that a lot of quarterbacks in the NFL cannot do. But consistently, he just wasn't what we needed. He had to be more consistent on his throws. When we needed the first down to move the chains to win games, when we needed the first down to move the chains to continue that control of the ball to take time off the clock, we just didn't have that there."
The criticism from Kelly is noteworthy. His rundown of critiques includes some of the things we've heard similarly complained about in reports about the team's assessment of Taylor's play. Tyrod's struggles to consistently see and complete throws over the middle have been the source of gripes since 2015 when some on the coaching staff considered EJ Manuel the better prospect.
Yet, Taylor is the best quarterback Buffalo has seen at least since Drew Bledsoe took over for three years -- that bar is not high.
Since 2000, seven Bills quarterbacks have attempted at least 500 passes. Only Taylor has a passer rating above 80.0.
Tyrod Taylor: 94.2 passer rating
Ryan Fitzpatrick: 79.8
Rob Johnson: 79.7
Drew Bledsoe: 79.2
EJ Manuel: 78.3
Trent Edwards: 76.8
J.P. Losman: 75.6
Taylor's run-pass ability puts pressure on defenses, and he can throw one of the prettiest deep balls in the league when he lets it rip. However, the inconsistencies moving the chains hamper his argument that he can take Buffalo to the promised land.
The Bills have until March 11 to pick up Taylor's option for 2018-2021 that would guarantee him $30.75 million. If he's on Buffalo's roster by March 12, Taylor will be guaranteed $27.5 million in 2017.
In searching for a new head coach, the question of Taylor's future will surely be a key discussion point. A new coach -- if interim Anthony Lynn doesn't retain the job -- will have a short evaluation period to decide whether he thinks Taylor can be the answer.