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Bills fear Fitzpatrick’s leverage will only increase


As the Buffalo Bills experience a resurgence led by a quarterback who quietly came of age in 2010, the team has a dilemma.

Ryan Fitzpatrick’s contract expires after this season. And with each passing week, his value will potentially increase.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Bills have broached the subject of extending Fitzpatrick’s contract. No offers have been exchanged to date, however.

Quarterbacks far less proven than Fitzpatrick have scored second-tier big-money deals, including Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb and Texans quarterback Matt Schaub. And Fitzpatrick is no flash in the pan; he has played well since inheriting the job from Trent Edwards in 2010.

Fitzpatrick told Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC’s Football Night in America that Buffalo is the best fit for Fitzpatrick. Coach Chan Gailey agrees.

“I don’t see any other thing happening other than Ryan Fitzpatrick being our quarterback, but I’m not the negotiator,” Gailey told King.

Fitzpatrick led the Bills to a 41-7 season-opening win at Kansas City. On Sunday, he led the Bills back from a 21-3 halftime deficit, and he threw a last-minute touchdown pass to David Nelson to erase a 35-31 deficit.

Currently earning a base salary of $3.22 million, the Bills’ only alternative to signing Fitzpatrick will be using the franchise tag or the transition tag, which would give him the average pay of the five or ten highest-paid quarterbacks, respectively, in 2012.