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Ryan Fitzpatrick can thank the Panthers for his new contract

Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs Getty Images

Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has a new contract guaranteeing him $24 million and establishing him as the franchise quarterback for years to come. And he can thank the Carolina Panthers and Cam Newton for that.

If the Panthers hadn’t drafted Newton with the first overall pick, the Bills likely would have taken Newton third overall, and Fitzpatrick would likely be Newton’s backup right now, playing on his old contract with no job security. Bills coach Chan Gailey said as much today.

Asked on ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike in the Morning when Fitzpatrick became the Bills’ indisputable No. 1 quarterback, Gailey answered, “When we didn’t draft one.”

Gailey added that he had warned Fitzpatrick prior to the lockout that if the Bills got a chance to select the best quarterback in the draft, they’d do it, and that would mean Fitzpatrick wouldn’t be their quarterback of the future.

“That’s exactly what we told Ryan,” Gailey said. “If we thought there was a guy there that was the next ten-, twelve-, fifteen-year guy, we might go that direction. I just wanted him to be mentally prepared for that, so I was trying to be straight up with him.”

As it turned out, the Panthers took Newton first overall, the Bills didn’t think any of the other quarterbacks in the draft were the right guy to lead the franchise for a decade or more, and that’s why they committed to Fitzpatrick. Gailey said Fitzpatrick understands the business of football, and he knew that when Newton went to the Panthers and the Bills didn’t draft a quarterback, that meant Fitzpatrck was the main man in Buffalo.

“When we didn’t, he knew where we were going with this thing,” Gailey said.

Newton is having a brilliant rookie season in Carolina, and Fitzpatrick has the Bills in first place in the AFC East. Both teams can be happy with how it all worked out.

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24 Responses to “Ryan Fitzpatrick can thank the Panthers for his new contract”
  1. bengalsown says: Nov 4, 2011 8:54 AM

    What is brilliant about a 2-6 season?

  2. molson48187 says: Nov 4, 2011 8:56 AM

    MDS is hero. He takes one for the team every morning. Suffering through Mike & Mike so we do not have to. Thanks man.

  3. skoobyfl says: Nov 4, 2011 8:58 AM

    Superbowl champion Buffalo Bills, has a nice ring doesn’t it??

    Shout out to TBD, BZ, Range. Skooby is scrappy & Skooby Lives!!

  4. ttommytom says: Nov 4, 2011 8:59 AM

    You guys missed the obvious:

    Fitzpatrick should thank Andrew Luck for staying in college. Panthers were always taking Newton. Only Luck could have changed that.

  5. greatminnesotasportsmind says: Nov 4, 2011 9:02 AM

    Los Angeles Vikings and Buffalo Bills in a Super Bowl match-up of both 0-4 Super Bowl records. Something has gotta give.

  6. pilot2011 says: Nov 4, 2011 9:04 AM

    hah, what is it with Bengals fans all of the sudden hating on the Panthers?? give it up dude, ok yalls rook is good…but he ain’t Cam.

    btw, what would attendance be like in Cincy if the Bengals were 2-6? Its hard to even fathom.

  7. jacunn2000 says: Nov 4, 2011 9:08 AM

    Nice to here somebody being honest with an employee. Why can’t Chicago do this?? And by the way, Fitz is earning his cash so far.

  8. sirdrinksalot says: Nov 4, 2011 9:09 AM

    Nobody cares skooby. There’s a reason you got banned from every Bills message board.

  9. okiny says: Nov 4, 2011 9:09 AM

    bengalsown says: Nov 4, 2011 8:54 AM

    What is brilliant about a 2-6 season?
    —————————————–
    Nothing. However, Newton’s performance on that dismal team shows unlimited potential. A couple of guys named Manning and Aikman, for example, had a terrible record in their first season and ended up doing okay for themselves.

    I’m not saying he will end up being either of those guys, but his teams record isn’t an indicator of his potential. He is where a team like that starts the rebuilding process.

  10. eustus says: Nov 4, 2011 9:10 AM

    Both teams are happy on week 9.

    Not
    For
    Long

    Isn’t it a little early to be suggesting either guy is an unqualified success?

  11. dcfan4life says: Nov 4, 2011 9:12 AM

    What is brilliant about a 2-6 season?
    ______________________________

    Hope. Just ask the teams that dont have a QB like my Redskins. We have a better record but little hope with no QB of the future. Peyton Manning had a bad first season. His brother Eli was mediocre. Aaron Rodgers won 6 games his first year. The list goes on, but those teams, those fans knew they had what my team has never had. Their QB of the future.

  12. steelerdynasty2010 says: Nov 4, 2011 9:17 AM

    wow, so coaches CAN be honest with their players after all

  13. skoobyfl says: Nov 4, 2011 9:23 AM

    Nobody cares skooby. There’s a reason you got banned from every Bills message board
    —————————————————————————

    Banning Bills Fans from those sites tells you how weak they are there. Bunch of losers playing pocket pool in the icebox, goodluck suckers.

  14. rpiotr01 says: Nov 4, 2011 9:27 AM

    Kudos to Chan Gailey for being honest with Fitz and for taking the initiative to flesh that thing out before anything took on a life of its own.

  15. jpmelon says: Nov 4, 2011 10:03 AM

    There was never any doubt that Carolina would select Cam Newton…….So the Bills basically told Fitz, “hey, if Carolina forgets to draft this year, you might get screwed”.

    I still say the big surprise was when Denver selected Von Miller instead of Dareus. I am quite happy with the results of that decision, although I acknowledge that Miller has not been a bust.

  16. majbobby says: Nov 4, 2011 10:13 AM

    Yet another reason Why I like Chan as the right coach for this Bills team.

    A Bunch of UDFAs and Late picks at skill positions but they play hard for this coach.

    This team will lay it on the line for their coach and this is exactly one reason WHY they will. He is upfront and honest with them.

    Just like with Maybin, he told him you better start stepping up and putting the work in or we will have to let you go.

    Something has to be said about a coach like this, and more and more players will want to play for him.

  17. EJ says: Nov 4, 2011 10:39 AM

    majbobby says:
    Nov 4, 2011 10:13 AM
    Yet another reason Why I like Chan as the right coach for this Bills team.

    A Bunch of UDFAs and Late picks at skill positions but they play hard for this coach.

    This team will lay it on the line for their coach and this is exactly one reason WHY they will. He is upfront and honest with them.

    Just like with Maybin, he told him you better start stepping up and putting the work in or we will have to let you go.

    Something has to be said about a coach like this, and more and more players will want to play for him.

    Great post, you couldn’t of said it any better!!

  18. apooster says: Nov 4, 2011 10:43 AM

    Besides Newton, the other story I heard on draft day was the Bills trading back into round 1 to take…………….. Christian Ponder. That’s why the Vikes took him at #12 instead of waiting.

    Lots of articles that the Bills liked the guy:

    https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1_____enUS426US426&aq=f&gcx=c&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=buffalo+bills+christian+ponder

  19. axespray says: Nov 4, 2011 10:59 AM

    meh, they both won.

    Panthers finally have a franchise QB, Bills have a good starter, could be a franchise QB.

    they both won. Good Story

  20. howley1 says: Nov 4, 2011 11:20 AM

    Wow, imagine the comments if this was an article about Romo getting this contract. 17-25-1 as a starter, 77 career passer rating, no playoff appearances, let alone playoff wins.

  21. pantfan89 says: Nov 4, 2011 11:57 AM

    Once again Bengals fans trying to compare Dalton to Cam….and once again.

    If Cam had Bengals defense, Special Teams, and most of all Schedule. Panthers would be 8-0

  22. someidiotfromouthereintheprojects says: Nov 4, 2011 1:01 PM

    talk about a win-win situation. true story.

  23. someidiotfromouthereintheprojects says: Nov 4, 2011 1:08 PM

    but don’t tell that to a bengals fan. oh and don’t tell a bengals fan they’re in the same division as ravens and steelers. wait til they unleash their game manager on dudes like terrel suggs and james harrison. no they arent 2 and 6. but are they gonna blaze through the playoffs?

  24. stanmark says: Nov 4, 2011 4:12 PM

    whatall these bills stories are lacking is attention to detail. id say that easily half the bills stories are written by a certainguy whos name rhymes with shmreg shmrosenshmal just shoots from the hip in an attempt to run damage control whenever buffalo wins a game.
    there has been no talk of the buildings that the bills put in place for an o-line. no talk of fitzy checking down to his 3rd and 4th options on a regular basis. no talk of fitzy’s blitz pickup and audible selection… it just weekly, topical, nonsense that sets the bills up for a loss every week. this bs is getting old.

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