Dear Fellow Bills Fans:
There still seems to be a lot of confusion as to Fitzpatrick's contract situation, so I am going to try to break it down here as best as I can and as easy to read as possible.
In 2011, the Bills signed Fitzpatrick to a 6 year $59 million dollar contract.
He received a $10 million dollar signing bonus.
$2 million was allocated towards the cap this year.
In 2012 he was paid another $8 million:
Base Salary : $2,800,000
Option Bonus: $5,000,000
Workout Bonus: $ 200,000
In 2013 he is due to receive : $7.45 Million
BS : $4,250,000
Roster Bonus : $3,000,000
WB : $200,000
In 2014 he is due to receive : $7.55 M ( $4.35 BS $3 RB $0.2 WB )
In 2015 he is due to receive : $7.4 M ( $7.2 BS $0.2 WB )
In 2016 he is due to receive : $8.95 M ( $8.75 BS $0.2 WB)
In 2017 he is due to receive : $9.65 M ( $9.45 BS $0.2 WB)
On March 13th the Bills have to pay Fitzpatrick his Roster Bonus if he is still on the team.
The Bills have a few options here :
1) Pay him that roster bonus and he will count $10,450,000 against the cap this year.
2) Cut him and he will count $10,000,000 against the cap in 2013 will receive $0, and will be off the books in 2014.
Why do you ask ?
He received $15,000,000 in bonuses.
Bonuses can be spread over the length of the contract for salary cap purposes.
Here is how the Bills decided to spread those bonuses :
The signing bonus was spread for 5 years, $2 million each year ( 2011,2012,2013,2014,2015 ).
The option bonus was also spread for 5 years, $1 million each year ( 2012,2013,2014,2015,2016 ).
So for cap purposes his bonuses have already counted $5 million total.
This leaves us with $10 million remaining in pro-rated bonuses. This is why if we cut him he still counts $10 million against the cap. Got it ?
3) Renegotiate his contract. Here we could speculate wildly on what he would do to renegotiate.
a) Ask him to push back the date he is due his roster bonus.
This would give the Bills the luxury of waiting until after Free Agency and the draft to decide if they want him on the roster. However, that is the reason that date is in the contract. It benefits Fitz'. If he were cut previous to March 13th, then he would hit the FA market along with everyone else. If he pushes that bonus back to a later date, he may never get it from the Bills and he could be a FA during the "slow" season if he is cut at a later date. The bonus ensures that if the Bills do cut him after March 13th at least he received the $3 million bonus.
b) Ask him to renegotiate his base salary
If you look above, you could ask him to renegotiate any of his base salaries and work out bonuses. This year his base salary is $4.25 million. Maybe the Bills ask him, "What do you think your market is out there if we cut you ? " That would be the starting point of negotiations and with all of the tampering that goes on his agent probably already knows the answer to this question. Maybe they ask him to take a $3 million pay cut, thus reducing his base salary to $1.25 million.
I ask you, what do you think is a fair "New Deal" for Fitzpatrick ? Or should we just flat out cut him and say "Sayonara!" ?
P.S. The part that is missing is the $2 million that counted towards the cap in 2011.
Thank you for reading, if you have questions or comments, I would love to hear them :)