The Bills appear to have changed gears in contract extension talks. A report from WGR Sports Radio 550 indicated that the team has begun negotiations on a contract extension with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, whose contract expires at the end of the season.
After the Bills signed NT Kyle Williams to a contract extension, we heard that WR Stevie Johnson would be the Bills' top priority, as they would want to wait and see how Fitzpatrick looked in his first full season as a starter. But after an excellent performance in Week One and plenty of confidence in him voiced by head coach Chan Gailey, the team looks prepared to lock down Fitzpatrick.
"He's very intelligent and he probably could have done a lot of other things with his life and his career, and he chose to stick with (football)," Gailey said about Fitzpatrick before the season opener. "I think everybody knows I think the world of the guy."
Fitzpatrick threw four touchdowns in Week One and works very well in Gailey's spread attack. He clearly has a grasp on the offense, and, the way we hear it, he is loved in the locker room.
"He is a bright guy who relates to everyone," said one daily team observer. "The team values him more than the fans do. As bright as he is, he shouldn't be tough in negotiations."
Johnson is in the last year of his rookie contract, and while he is the clear-cut No. 1 receiver in Buffalo coming off a breakout season, it seems the Bills may want to wait a little longer to be sure 2010 was not a fluke before talking a big-time extension. Considering their thin situation at the position without Lee Evans and Marcus Easley and how critical the passing game is to the offense, making sure Johnson is in Buffalo long term is certainly important, but Fitzpatrick's extension may be an easier process.
With Fitzpatrick, the Bills need to believe that he is their man for the long haul, and the way he performed to start the season, combined with his handle of Gailey's offense, makes him the candidate to be the next Bill to get a new deal.
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