As we wait for what we expect will be a finalization of a new contract for Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick sometime soon, it’s interesting to consider the likelihood that both sides are facing an apparent leverage standoff.
It looks like there are three top QBs in the 2012 NFL Draft – Stanford’s Andrew Luck, USC’s Matt Barkley and Oklahoma’s Landry Jones, presuming they all come out a year early. Arizona’s Nick Foles might be a first-rounder. There are a couple others who could be low first-rounders. It’s a bit early to tell. There are not that many NFL teams that need a QB. There’s Miami, Seattle, Washington and Denver (if Tim Tebow doesn’t shine this season). Then there’s Indianapolis, which we think would take Luck if they get the No. 1 pick, even though Peyton Manning is under contract. The Bills almost surely are going to win too many games to get one of the “surer-fire” top three QBs – Luck, Barkley and Jones. (Obviously the phrase surer-fire is highly speculative.) So do the Bills really want to roll the dice and start over on offense with a higher-risk QB in the draft? No. And are there any teams out there would be likely to give Fitzpatrick $10 million a year? Probably not. If the Bills wind up winning 11 games, might a Washington or a Seattle go after Fitz. Maybe. Short of that, there probably isn’t going to be a big bidding battle for Fitz. Bottom line: We’re expecting a deal.
Fitzpatrick had this to say about contract talks today: “I can’t say much about it. It’s one of those things that’s been ongoing throughout the season. I just have to continue to do what I’m doing and focus on playing and hopefully all that takes care of itself. … I’d probably be lying if I said it’s something I haven’t thought about. I’m human too, so I just can’t block all that away. It’d be something I’d like to get done and we’ll see how it progresses here in the next few weeks.”