When the Buffalo Bills re-signed quarterback Tarvaris Jackson to a one-year deal on February 15, head coach Doug Marrone made it clear that the plan was to pit Jackson against incumbent Ryan Fitzpatrick in an open competition for the starting job.
"I spoke with Ryan and Tarvaris and told them we will have an open competition at the quarterback position - similar to what we will do at all positions on our team heading into our offseason work," said Marrone at the time.
Then, of course, the Bills released Fitzpatrick on March 12. They did, however, reportedly offer Fitzpatrick a re-structured four-year deal worth $3 million in annual salary with escalators that could bump his pay to $7 million per season. At the time, that was considered a middle ground between keeping Fitzpatrick at his current salary and cutting him outright; Fitzpatrick turned the deal down.
The free agent signing of Kevin Kolb, however, indicated that the Bills may have been legitimately interested in keeping Fitzpatrick around and in competition for a starting job. Marrone all but confirmed that yesterday when he mentioned that he wanted a second veteran quarterback on the roster in that competition.
"I am not going to lie. I think it was important for us to get a veteran on the roster for that competition," Marrone said Monday. "Very important."
Marrone also made sure to state that the presence of that second veteran quarterback won't affect whatever plans the team has in place to draft an early-round rookie later this month. But it seems very clear at this point that the team wants an open competition at quarterback with as many legitimate candidates as possible. No quarterback competition is ideal, but having one between a talented rookie and two capable veterans is at least making the best of a bad situation.