As my man Pete Prisco noted in his grades on Monday, the Bills might regret giving Ryan Fitzpatrick a brand new contract worth nearly $60 million, considering he's gone in the tank since signing the deal, with an embarrassing 35-8 loss to Miami the low point on a once promising season.
So here's some (potentially) good news for Bills fans: Buffalo can reportedly bail out of most of the quarterback's contract if they decide to move on after 2011.
According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the Bills could only be on the hook for $13.22 million of Fitzpatrick's deal if they decide to cut or trade the quarterback before the seventh day of the 2012 league year.
That's $3.22 million in base salary for 2011 and a $10 million signing bonus, which is relative peanuts compared to the potentially expensive boo-boo the Bills made if the Fitzpatrick contract was a mistake. Although, per Florio, there's plenty of non-guaranteed money in Fitzpatrick's contract, there is also the matter of a $5 million option bonus to do Fitzpatrick on the seventh of the 2012 league year.
Whether or not Buffalo decides he's the long-term future at quarterback may be irrelevant. Chan Gailey already said publicly that the Bills were willing to grab a franchise guy if the right quarterback was there in 2011, and it's possible they'll do the same thing again in 2012 (right now they're slated for the 17th overall pick) and just use Fitzpatrick as a bridge.
That would be a relatively pricey bridge, though. The bigger problem here is that if Buffalo were to bail on Fitzpatrick, their decision to essentially hand him $10 million for the remainder of 2011 would be nothing short of foolish.
Which is probably why they're not planning on dumping him after this year.
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