It's not much of a secret the Buffalo Bills have been working out the details of a multiyear contract extension with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick for at least the last several weeks. The Bills have made locking up Fitzpatrick a priority, expressing interest in getting a deal done as far back as July.
If all goes well, Fitzpatrick said Thursday he's potentially a few weeks from finishing the deal that will cement his status as the Bills' starting quarterback.
"I'd be lying if I said that it's something I haven't even thought about all year," Fitzpatrick said. "It's something that exists, that's in the air. I'm human, too, so I can't just block it away."
NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora reported last week that the sides had made significant progress toward an extension. The goal had been to strike a deal during the team's bye week, league sources told La Canfora, and they have been exchanging proposals since resuming talks following the Bills' win over the New England Patriots on Sept. 25.
The Bills have declined comment, and Fitzpatrick declined to talk in detail about the deal Thursday because he doesn't want talks to serve as a distraction for a team that has played well through the first seven weeks of the season.
Fitzpatrick is in the final season of a three-year, $6.9 million deal that includes a base salary of $3.1 million this season. But the seven-year veteran will be in a new tax bracket with a deal that's expected to average about $10 million per season.
There was doubt among critics leading up to last April's NFL draft whether or not Fitzpatrick was the long-term answer at quarterback for the Bills, who had the No. 2 overall selection. But Fitzpatrick, who has thrived in the offense of coach Chan Gailey again this season, has made a career of proving his doubters wrong.
"There's no reason to think that Fitz won't be very successful in our system for a while," Gailey said. "He's highly intelligent. He's got very good accuracy, and he's got enough gunslinger in him to try to make some throws that some other guys wouldn't try to make."
Fitzpatrick is about to be paid handsomely because of it.
The Associated Press contributed to this report