Bills release Ryan Fitzpatrick

Jim Rogash

Shortly after the start of free agency, the Buffalo Bills released quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The Buffalo Bills released Ryan Fitzpatrick just minutes after the start of free agency on Tuesday. Fitzpatrick won the Bills' starting job in 2009 and was signed to a seven-year, $62 million contract extension in 2011.

Fitzpatrick's release comes the same day a phone call between Buffalo general manager Buddy Nix and Tampa GM Mark Dominik became public during which Nix complained about his quarterback situation, saying, "we just can't afford to pay that kind of money for a guy who's fighting for probably a backup job."

In 2012, Fitzpatrick threw for 3,400 yards with 24 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, compiling a 83.3 rating. Not terrible numbers, but not numbers that justify the type of contract the Bills were paying Fitzpatrick. The move comes with a $10 million cap hit for the Bills, but allows them to move on in the search for a franchise quarterback. Tarvaris Jackson is now the top quarterback on the Bills' roster, but expect them to make a move in free agency or in the draft.

Fitzpatrick now becomes one of the top free-agent quarterbacks available for teams looking for a stop-gap solution or a capable long-term backup.

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