- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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After the Buffalo Bills signed former quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to a $59 million extension in November 2011, I wrote that Fitzpatrick must prove he's not the next Kevin Kolb, who was a struggling, unproven quarterback with a big contract.
Fitzpatrick quickly went bust a year and a half later. So what did the Bills do? They replaced Fitzpatrick with Kolb, who has become the poster child for overpaying for quarterbacks too soon.
Buffalo agreed to a two-year contract worth a maximum of $13 million with Kolb this weekend. The money isn't huge for the position, but it suggests Kolb is the favorite to be the Bills' starter in 2013. Kolb is still trying to prove he can be a legitimate starting quarterback entering his seventh season. Kolb is 9-12 as a starter and is also playing on his third team in four years.
The Bills are merely spinning their wheels with this move. Kolb, 28, is not the quarterback of the future for Buffalo, and it's questionable if he can be a solid option for the present.
There are reasons Kolb did not work in Philadelphia or Arizona. Chances are, Bills rookie head coach Doug Marrone cannot do wonders and turn Kolb's career around in the same way respected offensive coaches Andy Reid and Ken Whisenhunt also failed. The Bills are hoping the third time is the charm. But it’s unlikely Kolb will suddenly find consistency, be able to stay healthy for 16 games and win big in Buffalo. All of this is against his six-year track record.
The only good I can see from this move is Buffalo no longer has the pressure of drafting a quarterback in the first round. This is a weak quarterback draft class and the Bills were desperate to find a starter. Now, they have more flexibility to use the No. 8 overall pick on other needs instead of taking a risk with first-round quarterback prospects like Geno Smith or Matt Barkley. Buffalo appears more likely to find a quarterback it can develop, such as Ryan Nassib, EJ Manuel, Landry Jones or Tyler Bray, in the second or third round.
In a perfect world, Kolb can be a successful and productive two-year bridge for the Bills to one of these young quarterbacks. But based on his last two-year stint with Arizona, the Kolb era in Buffalo has the potential to get ugly.