Buffalo quarterback Fitzpatrick agrees to new deal
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn't intend to shed his scraggly beard or lose his large collection of T-shirts after signing a 6-year, $59 million contract on Friday that secures him as the Buffalo Bills franchise quarterback.
Given how much he'll be making and his new high-profile status, Fitzpatrick might have a hard time sticking with the "No-Name" label though.
The one-time journeyman, 2005 seventh-round draft pick and Harvard graduate has formally arrived as a bona fide NFL starter after being rewarded with what could potentially become the most lucrative contract in team history. It's a bold move by a team that's spent much of the past 15 years searching for someone to fill the quarterback role, and a reward for a player who as a first-time starter this season has led a revived offense that has Buffalo off to a surprising 4-2 start.
"It's been a long road. There's been a lot of hurdles and obstacles that I've had to overcome," Fitzpatrick said. "I think we've got this thing headed in the right direction. So to be a part of that, and to be able to continue to be a part of that for years to come, I'm really excited about it."
Fitzpatrick becomes the first starting quarterback since Doug Flutie in 1999 to earn a contract extension with Buffalo. And Fitzpatrick's deal includes $24 million in guaranteed money, according to a person familiar with negotiations, who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the team does not release contract terms.
That's a significant raise over the $3.22 million base salary he was making this season. Fitzpatrick was in the final year of the three-year contract — worth $7.405 million in base salary — he signed upon joining the Bills as a free agent in 2009.
Tarvaris Jackson completed his most extensive day of practice since suffering a pectoral injury three weeks ago and appears likely to return for the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
Jackson went through pregame warmups with the team last week in Cleveland before the Seahawks ultimately decided to give him another week and give Charlie Whitehurst the starting nod. Whitehurst and the offense stumbled to three points and only 137 yards of total offense.
Whitehurst continued to get the majority of the first-team reps throughout the week and is prepared to start if Jackson is unable to play. It would be the fourth start of Whitehurst's career and the first time he will have started consecutive games.
St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford will be sidelined for a second straight week with a sprained left ankle, head coach Steve Spagnuolo announced Friday.
Veteran backup A.J. Feeley will take the reins once again Sunday as the Rams look for their first win of the season against the New Orleans Saints.