The Tennessee Titans have officially released former Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. I know, I know.. “don’t even go there” but hear me out on this first. Fitzpatrick returning to Western New York makes perfect sense. The Bills are looking to add a veteran to upgrade the quarterback position behind starter EJ Manuel. The Bills initially asked Ryan Fitzpatrick to take a pay cut and once he declined they cut him, by asking Fitzpatrick to restructure his deal before cutting him it is safe to assume the Bills were interested in keeping him on the roster last season.
This deal makes more sense this season than it did last year because the roles of Manuel and Fitzpatrick are more clearly defined, Manuel is the starter and the Bills could bring in Fitzpatrick to serve as a steady and NFL tested backup presence. Fitzpatrick likes the city of Buffalo and is familiar with most of the Bills players, he is a former Bills captain so he will be respected in the locker room as well. Thad Lewis is a good player, but at this point in his career Lewis is not a better option at quarterback than Fitzpatrick. At 31 Fitz has probably lost a step or two since his rookie season, although last season in Tennessee he had the third most rushing yards in a season of his career and set a career high for rushing touchdowns in only nine starts, this attribute would come in handy in the current Buffalo offense where it seems the quarterback tends to tuck the ball and run occasionally.
When the Bills released Fitzpatrick in March of 2013 many Bills fans collectively exhaled a sigh of relief. Fitzpatrick had an interesting tenure as the Bills starting quarterback, it was at times fulfilling such as in in 2011 vs the Oakland Raiders the Bills scored 35 points in the second half to complete a fourth quarter comeback, the following week Fitzpatrick led the Bills to their first victory vs the New England Patriots since 2001, but at other times Fitzpatrick was wildly inconsistent and did not live up to his contact. Right or wrong Fitzpatrick had his best season with the Bills and was cut, essentially because he did not accept a pay cut.
If the Bills do decide to add a quarterback to compete for the backup role behind Manuel, signing Fitzpatrick presents the perfect scenario for the Bills and it would be relatively cheap to sign him. Although Fitzpatrick would be signed to be a backup, some might argue that if he was the Bills starting quarterback last year the Bills may have made the playoffs.
Lawren Hightower can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @ell_aych on Twitter.