Buffalo Bills pay big bucks to overhaul quarterback position

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor

The Bills needed major changes at quarterback - and as they made them, they paid premium dollar to do so.

After the Monday night release of veteran Tarvaris Jackson, the Buffalo Bills now employ three quarterbacks that were not with the team in any capacity under the previous football regime. The complete overhaul at the game's most important position is a welcome sight for Bills fans, but the franchise paid a pretty penny to complete the process.

Ryan Fitzpatrick was released in early March before the team spent any cash on him this season, but his release put a serious dent on the salary cap: $10 million in dead money was spread out over two years, with the team absorbing $3 million of that this season and $7 million of it next year. Jackson's release created an additional $550,000 in dead money, as they'd already paid him a $500,000 signing bonus and a $50,000 workout bonus.

The rookie contract of undrafted free agent (and current third quarterback with no guarantee at a roster spot) Jeff Tuel is fairly inconsequential, but those of Kevin Kolb and E.J. Manuel are not. Kolb has already been paid a $1 million signing bonus and a $100,000 workout bonus, and he'll be paid $250,000 and start earning a $1.65 million base salary if he's on the team come Week 1 - which is looking like a strong probability at this point. Manuel has not signed a deal yet, but his roughly $9 million contract could be fully guaranteed, and he'll receive a signing bonus in the vicinity of $4.8 million, which will be paid right away (included in that $9 million figure).

All told, the Bills created $10.55 million in dead money by releasing Fitzpatrick and Jackson and could end up paying Manuel and Kolb just north of $8 million combined in 2013. This quarterback overhaul could have been a lot worse, but it certainly wasn't inexpensive.

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