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Bills still facing contract challenges with Fitzpatrick, Johnson

Buffalo Bills v Cincinnati Bengals Getty Images

Though the wagons were uncircled today for the Bills as they lost to the Bengals for the first time in 11 tries, they still have one of the hot young teams in the NFL.

And as those young players mature, they get closer to the end of their contracts.  And as they get closer to the end of their contracts, the Bills need to decide whether and to what extent they’ll be paid.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the process currently is focused on quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.  Talks are ongoing, but the problem is that the Bills aren’t quite sure where Fitz fits (do you see what we did there?) in relation to other quarterbacks.  He’s not first tier (which equates to roughly $14 million to $18 million per year), but he could be moving to the top of the second tier (which is in the neighborhood of $8 million to $11 million).

The problem for the Bills is that, if they decide to let it ride, they’ll have to use the franchise tag on Fitzpatrick, which necessarily will pay him at the first tier, at least for 2012.

The other problem with letting it ride as to Fitzpatrick is that there’s only one franchise tag to be used.  And if they use it on Fitzpatrick, they won’t have it for receiver Stevie Johnson.

Per a separate source, talks broke down between the Bills Johnson before the start of the regular season.  Johnson’s general range is a tad south of Miles Austin.  The Bills are much farther south than that.

For now, there are no negotiation on a new deal for Johnson, who is in the final year of a four-year rookie deal.

Either way, the Bills need to break out the checkbook soon.  And they can’t claim they don’t have cap room.  As of a month ago, they Bills had $24.4 million remaining for the current year.

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12 Responses to “Bills still facing contract challenges with Fitzpatrick, Johnson”
  1. gtorlone says: Oct 2, 2011 7:47 PM

    It was a catch. That is all.

  2. edukator4 says: Oct 2, 2011 8:11 PM

    top of the 2nd tier qbs beat the bengals.

    what do you call irish lovers?
    ryan fitzpatrick and patrick fitzryan

  3. dirtyharry1971 says: Oct 2, 2011 8:32 PM

    Bills will screw this up, they will end up losing both players because they wont open up the checkbook thats why the bills are in a forever “rebuilding mode”

  4. Andre's Johnson says: Oct 2, 2011 9:26 PM

    Whatever. Let’s all just enjoy Rex Ryan’s frustration tonight. He looks like he’s mad enough to not like feet.

  5. str82dvd says: Oct 2, 2011 9:48 PM

    I love the Bills and I have nothing against Rex Ryan. (he cracks me up). In other words, I’m having a bad NFL day.

  6. gpack22 says: Oct 2, 2011 9:53 PM

    Guaranteed their front office screws this up. haha

  7. henryjones20 says: Oct 2, 2011 9:55 PM

    shlda waitd 2 trade lee evans after we locked up s.johnson as #2 wr

  8. al0049 says: Oct 2, 2011 10:24 PM

    I would say no just because you have a couple of good games don’t mean you get a good contract.

  9. footballfanman says: Oct 2, 2011 11:02 PM

    Let Fitz play the season out, see how he does. Then let him test the market and see if you want to match or exceed the highest bidders.

  10. jessethegreat says: Oct 2, 2011 11:35 PM

    He’s having a nice season, but the Bills would be stupid to break the bank for him. He’s about plateau’ed. This is about as good as he’s going to get. He’s the guy you have to hold the fort until the next “starter” is groomed and ready. The Bills only problem is that they don’t have the guy they want to groom yet.

  11. vikinghooper says: Oct 3, 2011 12:03 AM

    Fitz is OK; not Eli, more like Campbell, Grossman, Henne.
    Ralph Wilson is too old to chuck Romo money at him, and he is probably right.
    Fitz is no great shakes in my book.

  12. exboomer says: Oct 3, 2011 8:26 AM

    I think the FO is going to screw this up just like they have in the past with players we never should of let go (Pat Williams, Nate Clements among others). With 24.4 million to play with there is no reason both can’t be resigned unless Johnson is asking for an unreasonable amt of money which sounds like it could be the case right now. I think if we offer Fitz top second tier money he would take it considering how little he is making right now.

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