NFL notes: Bills love Fitzpatrick

Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick scrambles against the Patriots in Orchard Park, N.Y, Sep. 25,...

Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick scrambles against the Patriots in Orchard Park, N.Y, Sep. 25, 2011. (DOUG BENZ/Reuters)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:55 PM ET

The Ryan Fitzpatrick show is not coming to an end in Buffalo any time soon.

According to NFL.com, the Buffalo Bills and Fitzpatrick are closing in on a multi-year deal that will pay the Harvard grad quarterback $10 million per season. An announcement is expected as early as Monday.

The Bills are on their bye week this weekend and do not play again until next Sunday when they entertain the Washington Redskins at the Rogers Centre.

Fitzpatrick took over as the Bills’ No. 1 quarterback in their third game last season. Under his direction, the Bills went 4-10 with Fitzpatrick completing 255 of 441 passes (57.8%) for 3,000 yards. He threw 23 touchdown passes against 15 interceptions and finished with an 81.8 rating.

Leading up to the draft there was a lot of debate over whether the Bills should stick with Fitzpatrick or use their No. 3 overall pick to draft a ‘franchise’ quarterback of the future.

The Bills passed on a quarterback and after the opening six weeks have surpassed expectations by going 4-2 including upset victories over New England and Philadelphia.

The Bills have been an offensive force this season and rank second in the league in total points.

Much of that firepower has to do with Fitzpatrick who has thrown for 1,477 yards and 12 touchdowns against six interceptions.

Fitzpatrick is currently in the final season of a three-year, $6.9-million contract that pays him a base salary of $3.1 million this season.

Now he’s about to cash in.

THE LONDON BUCCANEERS?

The Rays and the Buccaneers may be having trouble drawing fans in the Tampa Bay area but the Bucs want to make one thing perfectly clear — they aren’t about to leave town any time soon.

When discussions in Major League Baseball and the National Football League turn to franchises in trouble as far as forming a fan base — teams that may be forced to relocate — the Tampa Bay teams are found at the top of the list.

On Sunday, the Bucs will be playing the Chicago Bears in a game played at Wembley Stadium in London and one of the rumours from across the pond was that one day soon the Bucs could pull up stakes and relocate in England.

No sooner did that story hit the internet than Bucs general manager Mark Dominik was stomping out the fire.

“This team is never going to relocate from Tampa and go to London,” Dominik said. “We’re the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“I know there’s been some rumblings on ProFootballTalk and anywhere else saying we may relocate, but we’re very happy to be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and we will be going forward.”

Then again, what else could he say?

Reports have also circulated that the NFL is looking to expand from holding one game each season in London to two and that the Bucs would be a candidate to be one of those teams each year. Dominik didn’t shoot down that theory.

“As an organization, if (the league) gets to the point where they talk about putting a team here for one game per season on a consistent basis, at that point it will be a matter for discussion,” he said. “But right now I’ve never heard a conversation (about that). I’ve certainly never had a conversation with ownership about that being us, so I think right now it’s still speculation.”

It may be speculation but with the Bucs failing to sell out most of their home games, they’ll be looking to go where the money is — and right now that’s London.

JERRY RICE ON WES WELKER

There is no dispute that New England Patriots Wes Welker is having a tremendous season as he leads all receivers in both receptions, 51, and yards, 785 yards. He also has caught six Tom Brady thrown touchdown passes.

Welker is on pace to end the season with 2,093 receiving yards which would be an NFL record, eclipsing the 1,848 yards that San Francisco Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice achieved in 1995.

Rice told ESPN Radio that he had no problem with Welker breaking his record if it comes to that. But he also said that at this point in time he believes Welker takes a back seat among receivers to Detroit’s Calvin Johnson.

“I wouldn’t say he’s the best because I’m leaning a little bit more toward Megatron (Johnson) or even Larry Fitzgerald (who plays for Arizona),” Rice said. “But you would have to put him somewhere in the top five.”

Rice based his assesSment on the fact that Welker fits so well into the Patriots scheme while Johnson would be a star and No. 1 receiving threat on any team in the league.

“He’s a slot guy and it’s more difficult to try to double a guy inside,” Rice said of Welker and the role he plays. “He’s not the guy that’s going to be lined up outside because then you can put a guy like (Darrelle) Revis on him and make it just a little bit easier to cover him. You put him in the slot receiver and you’ve got Tom Brady who’s going to stand there and deliver the football, that’s just potent.”

One thing there’s no doubt about — Rice knows receivers.

REX RYAN’S MEA CULPA

Jets head coach Rex Ryan is the mouth that roared but this week even Rex believed that he may have gone over the top.

In a conference call with San Diego reporters on Wednesday, Ryan was talking about being interviewed by the Chargers back in 2007 and said that if he had been hired, “I would have had a couple of rings.”

His comments, of course, were seen as a shot at Chargers head coach Norv Turner who got the job over Rex.

When informed of what Ryan had said, Turner came back with a pretty good zinger of his own.

“I didn’t have a chance to ask him this,” Turner said, “but I was wondering if he had those rings with the ones he’s guaranteed the last couple of years.”

Ryan is full of bravado and bombast and not noted for pulling back his punches.

But a day of reflection had him back-treading and offering apologies.

“It was me, it’s all on me,” Ryan told reporters. “I’m guilty. Absolutely. I did call Norv. I won’t get into that conversation, but (the insult) was unintentional.

“Obviously I wish this one never happened. It really was unintentional. I don’t know what other word to use. I don’t know what to even say.”

Ryan, not usually at a loss for words, even said he laughed when he heard Turner’s retort.

“I think we’re even because he did get me with a good shot,” Ryan said. “There’s no question.”

Reporters then joked and asked if following the game Sunday there could be an incident similar to what happened last week in Detroit when a near skirmish developed between 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and Lions coach Jim Schwartz.

“I did ask Norv if I need to wear a helmet, but he assured me that I never did,” Ryan said.


Videos

Photos