Could Tyrod Taylor prove to be more than a stop-gap quarterback for the LA Chargers?
If Taylor plays well this year, he’ll be paid pretty handsomely to be the starter somewhere else next season, much like Teddy Bridgewater with the Carolina Panthers. Plus, Justin Herbert will be the starter from Week 1 in 2021, barring something like 2020 season cancellation or injury.
Let’s say for the sake of discussion Taylor plays four to five games before getting benched for Herbert. In this scenario, it’s unlikely that the former Bills’ QB will have much starting interest from other places in the league.
It would make a lot of sense to bring back Taylor in a backup role. His price would be about the same as it is now and if it’s only backup quarterback money, the Chargers can more than pay for it.
Any situation where Herbert usurps Taylor this year probably stems from some bad games from Taylor, mostly because Herbert has a lot of catching up to do with the lack of an offseason.
Another possible situation is injury. Everyone remembers Baker Mayfield’s first game for the Browns when he came in on Thursday night after Taylor suffered a concussion vs. the Jets.
If Taylor were to get hurt over the course of the season, that’s another situation where his 2021 free-agent market probably isn’t hot. Once again, the LA Chargers could probably bring him back as a backup if this were to happen.
What if the LA Chargers don’t play at all?
The 2020 NFL season being canceled is something that people obviously don’t want to discuss, but it is a conceivable situation. If there is a COVID-19 outbreak on a more than a few teams, it could be an absolute killer to the season.
We’re already seeing how the MLB is treading water right now in terms of being able to stay up as a league despite several teams with outbreaks.
If the season were to be canceled, it’s pretty likely that Taylor could be back in 2021. I’m not sure if he’d be the starter, as that hinges on Herbert’s development, but it would make a lot of sense to bring him back.
If he were to be a stop-gap starter, he could prove himself for a contract with another team in 2022. Even if he were Herbert’s backup following more development from the sixth pick, he could still be a quality backup while waiting for another opportunity.
Most scenarios do see Taylor coming back as a backup, as Herbert is expected to take the reigns at some point, be it this season or next. Ultimately, Taylor would serve as a cheap, but good backup while he waits for another starting job or opportunity for one.
With a lot of uncertainty around the league in terms of coronavirus, next year’s draft, or simply the lack of knowledge on the exact number of quarterback jobs that will be open, it’s not bad to have a fallback option.
There are some theoretical scenarios that see Taylor returning as the starter, but they’re more unlikely. One of them would be a 2020 season cancellation where we don’t get to see much growth from Herbert. There’s a feasible scenario where the Chargers may still not feel like Herbert’s development is where it needs to be even with a full 2020 season, but that would speak to much larger issues than re-signing Taylor.