Tue March 12, 2013
Bills release QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
The Buffalo Bills have released quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The Bills made the transaction after 4 pm in conjunction with the start of the NFL’s calendar year.
Fitzpatrick was due to receive a $3 million bonus Wednesday. The team reportedly tried to renegotiate his contract, but the two sides could not come to an agreement.
“We kept every possible option open right down to the wire when we had to make a decision on whether to keep Ryan. In the end, we had to do what we feel is best for our football team and it was a very difficult decision. Ryan did some great things as our starting quarterback. He is a class act, a terrific guy with a great family and has been involved in many charitable endeavors in our community. But difficult decisions often have to be made and so we are moving forward. We wish Ryan and his family the best of luck in the future and offer him our sincere thanks for everything he has done for the Bills,” Bills GM Buddy Nix said, in a statement.
“Our focus remains on adding another quarterback to our roster and we will continue to explore every option available to us,” added Nix.
Fitzpatrick, a Harvard graduate, signed as a free agent with the Bills in February 2009 after stints with the St. Louis Rams and Cincinnati Bengals. He took over the starting QB job for eight games in 2009 and 13 games in 2010, replacing Trent Edwards, who began the year as starter.
Fitzpatrick was under center for all 16 games in 2011 and 2012. He was erratic at times, throwing 39 interceptions over his final two years, compared to 48 touchdown passes. Fitzpatrick finishes his Bills career with a record of 20-33.
The veteran had signed a six-year, $59 million contract extension in October 2011. The Bills will incur a $3 million salary cap hit this year as a result of the release and take a $7 million hit in 2014.
The move leaves Tarvaris Jackson as the only full-time quarterback on the Bills roster. The team is expected to select a QB in April's NFL Draft.
Meanwhile, multiple reports indicate that Bills guard Andy Levitre, the team's top free agent, has signed a deal with the Tennesee Titans. Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean reports the deal is for six years and up to $46.8 million, making Levitre the fourth-highest paid guard in the league.
Also Tuesday, the NFL is investigating the hacking of a phone conversation between general managers Buddy Nix and Mark Dominik of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The call was taped by a pair of pranksters, then posted on the website deadspin.com.
An NFL spokesman says the league's security and legal teams are looking into the situation. The Bills say they have contacted the league and are also reviewing it with their legal counsel.