Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Sports

March 12, 2013

Put'n out the Fitz

Bills open free agency by cutting inconsistent QB Ryan Fitzpatrick

BUFFALO —  

New coach Doug Marrone and the Buffalo Bills are moving on without Ryan Fitzpatrick by releasing the quarterback after two-plus inconsistent seasons as starter.
The team announced the move Tuesday, shortly after the NFL's free agency period opened, and a day before Fitzpatrick was due a $3 million bonus.
"We kept every possible option open right down to the wire, when we had to make a decision on whether to keep Ryan," general manager Buddy Nix said. "In the end, we had to do what we feel is best for our football team. And it was a difficult decision."
Fitzpatrick's up-and-down performance and his expensive contract were factors in his release. He went 20-33 as a starter over four seasons in Buffalo. And he was in the midst of a six-year, $59 million contract extension signed in October 2011.
That was regarded as too expensive for a player who wasn't guaranteed to return as starter this season. The Bills had held out hope that Fitzpatrick would be open to restructuring his contract, and free up space under the salary cap to allow the team to pursue free agents, and re-sign its own players.
A change in coaches didn't help Fitzpatrick either. Marrone took over in January after Chan Gailey was fired following three straight losing seasons. Gailey was regarded as Fitzpatrick's biggest supporter.
Fitzpatrick wasn't available for comment. He had spent the past two months with his family in their offseason home in Arizona.
The move leaves Buffalo with one experienced quarterback on its roster, Tarvaris Jackson, who re-signed to a one-year contract last month. Nix has already expressed an intention to select a quarterback in the draft next month. The Bills had also been linked to Alex Smith, before the former 49ers starter was traded to Kansas City two weeks ago.

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