The Bills may be regretting the decision to give quarterback Ryan Fitzpatick a six-year, $59 million deal.
If they are, they can walk away from nearly $49 million of it after the season.
Per a league source, the Bills could trade or cut Fitzpatrick before the seventh day of the 2012 league year and owe him nothing further than the $3.22 million base salary he was already due to earn in 2011 and the $10 million signing bonus he was paid upon inking the new deal last month.
On the seventh day of the 2012 league year, the Bills owe Fitzpatrick a $5 million option bonus. If they don’t exercise the option, Fitzpatrick’s base salary for 2012 would increase from $2.8 million to $7.8 million, and it would be fully guaranteed for injury only.
In 2013, Fitzpatrick has a $3 million roster bonus, which also is guaranteed for injury only, along with a base salary of $4.25 million, $3.2 million of which is guaranteed for injury only.
In 2014, there’s another $3 million roster bonus (non-guaranteed) and a non-guaranteed base salary of $4.35 million.
For 2015, 2016, and 2017 Fitzpatrick has non-guaranteed base salaries of $7.2 million, $8.75 million, and $9.45 million, respectively.
Though there’s no reason to believe — yet — that the Bills will move on, the point for now is that, if they choose to do so, they will avoid a bunch of money that either isn’t guaranteed at all, or that is guaranteed for injury only.