Buffalo Bills Start Negotiations with Ryan Fitzpatrick on a Contract Extension

Dan Van WieContributor IIISeptember 16, 2011

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 11:  Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Buffalo Bills drops back to pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second quarter on September 11, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  The Bills beat the Chiefs 41-7.(Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Peter Aiken/Getty Images

According to a story on WGR 550 Buffalo, the Buffalo Bills have begun negotiations about a contract extension with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick is currently playing on the final year of his original contract with the Bills, which calls for him to earn $3.195 million this season.

Seeing that Fitzpatrick is playing for a new contract, he certainly made a strong case for being re-signed, as he wound up as the No. 1 ranked quarterback in the NFL in Week 1; his QB passer rating was 133.0, which even topped Tom Brady's rating of 121.6, who threw for 515 yards against the Miami Dolphins.

Fitzpatrick threw for four touchdowns at Kansas City last weekend, and if he continues his strong play in the home opener against the Oakland Raiders this coming Sunday, his projected contract price will continue to rise.

Buffalo continues to try to keep its core players signed to longer deals, as the team recently extended Kyle Williams to a six-year deal. The Bills have also started negotiations with wide receiver Steve Johnson. According to the story from WGR, the Bills have not opened up any contract talks with wide receiver Roscoe Parrish, who like Fitzpatrick, is playing on the final year of his contract with the team.

If the Bills do wind up re-signing Fitzpatrick to a contract extension during the season, that would serve as a strong indication that the Bills are not going to go after a franchise quarterback in the upcoming draft. If you are going to commit major dollars to Fitzpatrick, why would you be investing a high draft pick in another quarterback, when you already have signed Tyler Thigpen and Brad Smith to long-term deals? If anything, a Fitzpatrick deal would suggest the Bills would target a tackle for the offensive line.

It will be interesting to see how Fitzpatrick performs in 2011, as in the span of one month he has lost both of his deep receiver threats. Lee Evans was traded away to Baltimore and Marcus Easley was placed on IR due to a heart ailment. That leaves Fitzpatrick with a receiving corps of Johnson, Parrish, Smith, David Nelson, Donald Jones, Ruvell Martin, tight end Scott Chandler and the running backs as targets.

Perhaps due to the nondescript nature of the Bills receivers, outside of Johnson, this might actually allow Fitzpatrick to continue to perform like he did in Kansas City. You really don't know where he is going to go with the ball. He will look for whatever player is open, and based on his gunslinger mentality, he has confidence in his guys that they will make a play on the ball if he gives them a chance.

For more coverage of the Bills game against the Raiders, check out our articles this Sunday, when we will talk about second half adjustments that the Bills need to make. After the game, we will discuss the top things that we learned about the Bills, as a result of the game against the Raiders.