Bills Close in on Fitzpatrick Extension

Updated: October 20, 2011
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According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, the Bills are nearing an extension for QB Ryan Fitzpatrick that will average between 9-12 million dollars per annum. This would put him at the second level of NFL quarterbacks contract wise, below Manning/Brady/Brees but about the equivalent of Matt Cassel (6 years, 63 mil). Mort goes on to say that the deal is expected to be in place before the team travels to Toronto to battle the Washington Redskins.

Initially, I found it odd that Mortensen’s range was 3 million dollars wide. If the sides are so close, why can’t Mort report anything less speculative? Upon further analysis, I’m beginning to suspect that the range accounts for a base number for the lower figure, with “likely to be earned incentives” making up the difference. This is what makes comparing and discussing NFL contracts so difficult: the structures vary widely, and details rarely tell the entire story.

As far as length, I would expect between 4 and 6 years (if Mort can cast a wide net, so can I). Fitzpatrick turns 29 in November so the Bills may not look to go quite as long term as other recent QB deals. On the other hand, Buffalo may not be up a creek if they go longer term and decide to part ways, as NFL contracts are not guaranteed.

This is very good news as it will eliminate a significant amount of uncertainty regarding the future of the team’s most important player, and allow the Bills’ contract man Jim Overdorf to begin work on locking up Steve Johnson.