Cleveland’s quarterback group underwent a major overhaul Friday in general manager John Dorsey’s afternoon of activity.
It’s likely to see more significant change before the offseason’s over.
The Browns agreed to acquire Tyrod Taylor from the Buffalo Bills for the No. 65 pick in the draft, a league source confirmed to The Chronicle-Telegram.
They then quickly agreed to trade DeShone Kizer to the Green Bay Packers for cornerback Damarious Randall. The teams reportedly also flopped picks in the fourth and fifth rounds.
The trades can’t become official until the league year starts Wednesday afternoon.
Taylor, 28, has started 43 games in the last three years for the Bills. He went 8-6 in the regular season this year, leading them to the playoffs for the first time since 1999 and ending the longest drought in the four major professional sports.
Browns coach Hue Jackson made it clear he wanted to add a veteran who could start this season. The Browns will almost certainly still draft a quarterback early, likely with the No. 1 pick, but the rookie won’t be forced to play right away.
Jackson repeatedly lamented last season that he didn’t have a quarterback on the roster who had won a game in the NFL. The Browns proceeded to become the second team in NFL history to go 0-16.
Taylor has 22 wins.
Kizer, who’s from Toledo, was the No. 52 pick out of Notre Dame less than a year ago. He started the opener and went 0-15.
He has a big arm, athleticism and potential and they showed at times, but he finished the year ranked last in the NFL in completion percentage (53.6), interceptions (22) and rating (60.5). With Taylor and another young quarterback on the way, it was unlikely Kizer would’ve gotten another quality chance in Cleveland.
Taylor (6-foot, 221 pounds) doesn’t have ideal height but brings a running threat. He’s also careful with the ball, which is in stark contrast to Kizer.
And he’s won games.
In three years with the Bills, he was 22-20 with a 62.6 completion percentage, 8,857 passing yards, 51 touchdowns, 16 interceptions and a 92.5 rating during the regular season. He rushed 283 times for 1,575 yards and 14 touchdowns.
The addition of Taylor means the Browns won’t sign free agents AJ McCarron, Case Keenum, Sam Bradford or Teddy Bridgewater. Jackson wanted McCarron after their years together in Cincinnati but he was likely to have other offers and wasn’t guaranteed to sign here.
Another veteran such as Chase Daniel could be added as the backup and injury insurance for Taylor.
The Bills didn’t want to commit to Taylor as their long-term starter. They were ready to release him last offseason before he agreed to restructure his contract. He was then benched at midseason, only to regain the starting job the next week after rookie Nathan Peterman threw five interceptions in the first half of a loss.
Taylor struggled in a playoff loss to Jacksonville, going 17-for-37 for 134 yards and an interception before leaving with a concussion
He’s under contract through 2018, with a $10 million salary and a $6 million roster bonus due next Friday. The Browns, who could restructure the deal, are willing to pay it and give up the No. 65 pick for the experience and someone who can bridge the gap to the quarterback of the future.
Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News reported the Cardinals and Broncos were also interested in Taylor but unwilling to give up such a high draft pick.
Taylor was originally a sixth-round pick of the Ravens in 2011.