The Bills and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick are nearing a long-term contract extension, Jason La Canfora of NFL.com reports.
Fitzpatrick is earning a base salary of $3.22 million in 2011, the final year of a three-year, $8.27 million contract he signed as a free agent in 2009.
La Canfora adds that Fitzpatrick’s extension would be worth $10 million per year, which puts him above recent extensions signed by Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel and close to what New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez and Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan received as Top 5 picks in recent NFL drafts.
A 2005 seventh-round pick out of Harvard by the St. Louis Rams, Fitzpatrick backed up Marc Bulger for two seasons before he was traded to the Cincinnati Bengals in 2007. Fitzpatrick started 12 of 13 games for an injured Carson Palmer in 2008, completing 59.4 percent of 372 pass attempts for 1,905 yards with eight touchdowns and nine interceptions before signing with Buffalo as a free agent the following February.
In three seasons in Buffalo, Fitzpatrick has started 27 of 29 games, completing 59.3 percent of his 870 pass attempts for 5,899 yards with 44 touchdowns and 31 interceptions.
Fitzpatrick has a career-high passer rating of 95.3 in 2011, leading the Bills to a 4-2 record at their bye week. Once the Fitzpatrick domino falls, the Bills are expected to turn their attention to extensions for running back Fred Jackson and No. 1 wide receiver Steve Johnson, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent next offseason. Jackson is signed through 2012, but at most can make $2.58 million and is looking for a new deal.