Ryan Fitzpatrick has started at quarterback for all or parts of the last four seasons in Buffalo, but the team still hasn't decided yet what they want to do with him going forward. Fitzpatrick will be owed a $3 million bonus soon if he remains on the roster, but it still wouldn't make financial sense for the team to let him go if they decide to move on to other options under center.
Bills president Russ Brandon made it clear that a decision has yet to be made regarding the 30-year-old Harvard graduate, and it will ultimately come down to general manager Buddy Nix and head coach Doug Marrone, according to Tim Graham of The Buffalo News.
As Graham points out, Fitzpatrick's cap number would be reduced from $10.45 million to $10 million if he were released, so simply cutting ties is not really an option. The Bills will either have to decide they are fine with him as the starter with that salary, or convince him to renegotiate.
Fitzpatrick has been just about average in his time with the Bills. His numbers last season look fine on the surface, as he completed 61 percent of his passes for 3,400 yards and 24 touchdowns. However, advanced stats don't look nearly as fondly on Fitzpatrick.
Football Outsiders uses a couple stats to evaluate quarterbacks called DVOA and DYAR. Both are adjusted for defense and situation. In 2012, Fitzpatrick was 24th in DYAR, which measures how many yards a quarterback woud produce over an average replacement. His number was just 114, or just over seven yards a game.
DVOA measures a quarterback's performance relative to others and assigns a percentage value based how much better or worse than average one has been. Fitzpatrick was 7.8 percent worse than average in 2012. Hardly something that should encourage the Bills to take a $10 million cap hit with or without his services.
It seems likely that Fitzpatrick will stay a Bill for the foreseeable future, but at the age of 30, it doesn't appear that Buffalo should be banking on him to break out and become a star. Because of that, the Bills will likely continue to search for a long-term solution at starter while Fitzpatrick is still on the roster.
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