Saturday, December 22, 2012
Bills can save by cutting Fitzpatrick
By James Walker
Starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick might be playing his final two games in a Buffalo Bills uniform.
According to the details of Fitzpatrick's $59 million contract extension, the Bills are in prime position to get out of this agreement after another inconsistent season.
ESPN.com's AFC East blog has learned Buffalo will save $4.45 million in cap space and $7.45 million in actual cash by cutting Fitzpatrick this offseason. Fitzpatrick is due a base salary of $4.25 million and an easy-to-obtain workout bonus of $200,000 in 2013.
However, the biggest litmus test will be a $3 million roster bonus Fitzpatrick is owed in March on the second day of the league year. If the Bills pay the bonus, Fitzpatrick's cap number jumps to $10.45 million next season, which would be suitable for a franchise quarterback.
Fitzpatrick is 18-30 as a starter in Buffalo and has the third most turnovers in the NFL since 2011. The Bills (5-9) must seriously consider this offseason whether he's the long-term solution. Buffalo already paid Fitzpatrick $21.25 million since signing him to an extension in October 2011. That included a $10 million signing bonus last year and a $5 million option bonus this year.
Bills general manager Buddy Nix publicly discussed upgrading the quarterback position several times in recent weeks. He does not sound like a general manager willing to stick with Fitzpatrick as his starting quarterback for $7.45 million next season.
Regardless of the Fitzpatrick decision, the Bills are expected to add a quarterback via free agency or the draft next offseason. One prospect to keep an eye on for the Bills is North Carolina State quarterback Mike Glennon, who is a player Nix personally scouted during the college season. Glennon is the 36th-ranked prospect by Scouts Inc. and might get some first-round consideration based on his pre-draft workouts.
Glennon was Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson's backup at North Carolina State early in his career. But Glennon took over for the Wolfpack his junior and senior seasons and threw for 6,702 yards and 62 touchdowns in two years.
The Bills will travel to face the Miami Dolphins (6-8) at Sun Life Stadium on Sunday.