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Bills reach deal with free-agent QB Vince Young

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix had no difficulty assessing Vince Young's attributes after agreeing to a one-year contract with the free-agent quarterback on Friday.

Strong arm. Great mobility. And then there's his winning record as an NFL starter.

When it came to projecting Young's role with the Bills, Nix offered no guarantees except to say the starting job's already taken by Ryan Fitzpatrick, leaving Young competing for a backup job.

"We're looking always to try to improve our team," Nix said. "It's a competition for the backup quarterback job and not the starter. ... He knows it. That's the way it is."

That doesn't devalue the Bills' hopes for 2006 NFL offensive rookie of the year, who will be competing with returning backup Tyler Thigpen.

"The guy's been to two Pro Bowls, he's 31-19 as a starter in this league," Nix said. "We think he can do that again. If he has to play, he can give us a chance to win the game or at least this: He will make Tyler better."

Young's once promising pro career which began in 2006, when Tennessee drafted him with the No. 3 pick, is taking another detour. He'll now be joining his third team in as many seasons after completing a one-year contract with Philadelphia last season.

The deal was reached a little over a week after Young worked out for the Bills at their facility.

A person familiar with the contract provided the length of the contract, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the Bills do not release those figures. Citing a league source, reported the contract is worth $2 million with another $1 million available in playing-time bonuses.

Young's publicist, Denise White, said the player is scheduled to arrive in Buffalo either Sunday evening or Monday morning.

She also released a statement from Young, who said: "Thanks to Buddy Nix and Coach Gailey for giving me the opportunity to come in and play and compete. I am looking forward to playing with the guys and helping where I am needed."

Young, who turns 29 next week, has been biding his time to determine the next step of his career. He struggled last season as Michael Vick's backup with the Eagles, finishing with four touchdowns and nine interceptions in six games, and was sacked eight times in six games, including three starts.

In Buffalo, Young's dual threat as a passer and runner has the potential of complementing coach Chan Gailey's offensive attack, which includes a series of wildcat formations.

Gailey said it's premature to determine what Young's role might be until the player takes the field for practice. The first opportunity for that will come May 29, when the Bills open a monthlong series of minicamps.

Gailey, however, dismissed questions regarding Young's struggles in Philadelphia and his inconsistencies in Tennessee, where he lost the starting job several times before being released.

"I don't know any of the circumstances surrounding what happened. All I know is he's a talented guy that said all the right things when he was here," Gailey said, referring to Young's workout last week. "So, I'm looking forward to working with him."

Young has put up both solid and questionable numbers over his career. He has 8,964 yards passing and 1,459 yards rushing. He's thrown for 46 touchdowns and scored 12 rushing. On the flip side, he's thrown 51 interceptions and also fumbled 40 times, losing 12 of them.

For Buffalo, it's the latest offseason splash made by a team attempting to make a serious bid at becoming competitive and ending a 12-year playoff drought - the NFL's longest active streak.

The traditionally cost-conscious Bills have been free spenders this offseason after signing free-agent defensive end Mario Williams to a six-year, $100 million contract, the most expensive contract awarded an NFL defensive player. They were also able to re-sign starting receiver Stevie Johnson before he became a free agent. Last week, they also awarded starting running back Fred Jackson a two-year contract extension.

"I'm sure he can still play," Jackson said. "He's another playmaker for us. I'm sure they'll find ways to get him in there to compete. It's another good signing for us, so we'll see what happens."

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