Buffalo Bills GM Buddy Nix basically sold quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick out during the middle of the season by saying that he wasn’t the guy for the future of the franchise and would be replaced in the offseason. Today, the Bills have re-signed Jackson, per a piece from the Buffalo Bills excellent official site.
Jackson is a quarterback who is more of a career-backup guy than a future starter, but the signing of Jacksonshould signify that the Bills are most likely willing to move away from Fitzpatrick. New Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone, however, told the official site that he will be getting both Jackson and Fitzpatrick to compete for the starting job, “I spoke with Ryan (Fitzpatrick) and Tarvaris (Jackson) and told them we will have an open competition at the quarterback position – similar to what we will do at all positions on our team heading into our offseason work. I believe that our players will embrace this challenge. We are looking forward to working with our players as we prepare for the 2013 season.”
If the Bills did not re-sign Jackson, then he would have hit unrestricted free agency in mid-March. I hope Marrone is just saying something scripted, because the Bills cannot afford to keep trotting Fitzpatrick out there. He isn’t the guy and neither is Jackson. I don’t think both guys can co-exist on the roster together if a rookie quarterback is drafted, which is what the Bills should be doing in order to move forward at the position.
However, a move to keep both Jackson and Fitzpatrick and use them in a competition makes sense for the Bills if they truly feel like there isn’t a quarterback worth drafting. Marrone, as the official site notes, likely values Tarvaris Jackson due to his West Coast Offense fit, but I just feel like it is better for the Bills to draft a rookie and have Jackson (or maybe even Fitzpatrick, if they feel like he is better) start until the rookie is well-groomed for the starting role.
It would surprise me if Ryan Fitzpatrick is retained, because the comments Nix made this season against him were extremely strong. Neither Fitzpatrick nor Jackson can be “the guy” to lead a franchise, so the Bills are likely just looking for temporary fixes before drafting a quarterback for the future that they feel is worthy of the investment.
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