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Jackson, Fitzpatrick to compete for Bills QB job

Tarvaris Jackson could be going from afterthought to Week 1 starter for the Buffalo Bills.

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Slated to reach free agency after failing to attempt a single pass last season, Jackson was re-signed Friday. While that transaction is hardly earth-shattering news, head coach Doug Marrone's accompanying quotes certainly registered on the Richter scale.

"I spoke with Ryan (Fitzpatrick) and Tarvaris (Jackson) and told them we will have an open competition at the quarterback position," Marrone said, "similar to what we will do at all positions on our team heading into our offseason work."

It may not be that cut and dry, however. Having already received $21 million of the six-year, $62 million contract signed during the 2011 season, Fitzpatrick is due a $3 million roster bonus in March. It will actually cost the Bills more money against the cap to retain Fitzpatrick than to release him. If he is not amenable to a pay cut, Jackson may have no veteran competition after all.

Bills fans looking for a silver lining to their underwhelming quarterback situation can take solace in the knowledge that any quarterback selected in the early rounds of April's NFL draft will have a clear path to the starting job.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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