The Buffalo Bills thought they had their franchise quarterback after a half-season last year and doled out a large contract to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick responded by becoming turnover prone and helping the Bills miss the playoffs.
The Bills can save $4.45 million off of their cap next season by releasing Fitzpatrick at the end of the season and saving $59 million over the course of the contract. The Bills would have to pay Fitzpatrick a $3 million roster bonus if he is still on the roster in March.
If Fitzpatrick is still on the roster after being paid his $3 million roster bonus his total cap number would be $10.45 million next year. That is a lot of change. If the Bills still think Fitzpatrick is their franchise quarterback then that number isn’t too bad. However, if they aren’t certain they should release him and find one in the draft or through a trade.
Some rumors have been floating around that Michael Vick could be an option for the Bills but I don’t think he makes much sense. Why invest in a quarterback that is one hit away from being out for the season? They would be just as well with Fitzpatrick who at least is familiar with the offense and has had some big games with this team.
Perhaps the best option for the Bills would be to give Fitzpatrick some weapons to throw to and to utilize C.J. Spiller more in the offense given his immense talent. It is easy to forget that before Spiller got hurt and missed a few weeks he was leading the NFL in rushing.
Perhaps adding a receiver like Dwayne Bowe or Mike Wallace to line up opposite Stevie Johnson would open things up a little more. Drafting a young, dynamic wide receiver on top of that would be even better.
The Bills invested heavily in their defense this past offseason with their big prize being Mario Williams. The talent is there for the Bills to become a contender in the AFC East relatively soon. Can they do that with Fitzpatrick under center? I think he could be a playoff-caliber quarterback if he had another weapon or two. It is time for the Bills to invest in the offense around Fitzpatrick and see what happens.
There aren’t many good quarterbacks that will be available in free agency or through trade. Matt Flynn, Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, Kevin Kolb, Matt Cassel, and Vick are the best options that figure to be available. Fitzpatrick might be a better option than any of those other quarterbacks at this point in time.
The Bills could stick with Fitzpatrick for next season, invest in another wide receiver, and draft a potential replacement. Mike Glennon might be a good option. Glennon runs a pro-style offense at North Carolina State and is a big guy at almost 6’8” and has excellent arm strength and could become a top quarterback in this league if groomed properly. More importantly, Glennon wouldn’t cost them a first-round pick.
I believe the Bills should see what Fitzpatrick can do with at least one more weapon on offense while planning for the long-term future of the franchise without sacrificing the present.