One week from today, the Buffalo Bills are scheduled to pay quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick a $3 million roster bonus - provided, of course, that he's still on the roster. Speculation is building, however, that he may not be.
In an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show on March 5, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk pointed to the team's quick re-signing of Tarvaris Jackson as evidence that the Bills are contemplating cutting Fitzpatrick - even going so far as to say that he believes that the Bills will cut Fitzpatrick before paying that bonus. (Note that Florio is merely opining, not reporting anything as fact.)
There's also the fact that, since the day that Jackson was re-signed - when head coach Doug Marrone pitted Jackson against Fitzpatrick in an open competition - the team has been unusually evasive about discussing the topic. Team president Russ Brandon told reporters at the 2013 NFL Combine that no decision had yet been made about Fitzpatrick's spot on the roster at that point in time, and GM Buddy Nix re-affirmed that stance to The Associated Press on Tuesday.
"I don't know," Nix told John Wawrow. "We're still in the process of working on it." He'd later add regarding the idea of asking Fitzpatrick to take a pay cut: "Any talking, I'll do with him."
As has been widely made known over the past several months, the Bills won't save much cap room if they cut Fitzpatrick - he'll count roughly $10.5 million on the books if he's on the roster, and $10 million if he's not - but they'd be saving that $3 million, plus $4.25 million in base salary, in cash if they let him go. Releasing Fitzpatrick remains an option, particularly if the team plans on drafting a quarterback of the future in April and letting Jackson play until the young guy is ready.
We'll know Fitzpatrick's future with the team within a week. Anyone care to pull a Florio and make a prediction? Do fans think that he'll consider taking a pay cut?