Niagara Gazette

March 31, 2013

Bills reportedly reach deal with QB Kolb

JOHN WAWROWThe Associated Press
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — BUFFALO, N.Y. — Kevin Kolb may be getting another chance at a fresh start, this time reportedly with the quarterback-needy Buffalo Bills.

A person familiar with negotiations said the free-agent sixth-year player agreed to a two-year contract potentially worth over $12 million with Buffalo on late Saturday night. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because, although several media outlets including ESPN.com and The Buffalo News have reported the deal, the Bills have not announced the move.

Kolb spent the past two seasons in Arizona, where injuries hampered his opportunity to prove himself as a starter. The Cardinals were left with little choice but to release Kolb on March 15 in a move that came before they were set to pay the player a $2 million roster bonus and saved the team about $7 million in salary cap space.

The Bills are in no position to be choosy with few quarterbacks available in free agency, and questions regarding the crop of prospects available in the NFL draft next month.

Buffalo was down to one experienced quarterback on its roster — Tarvaris Jackson — after releasing returning starter Ryan Fitzpatrick earlier this month.

General manager Buddy Nix has also expressed an intention to select a quarterback high in the draft next month. Questions remain whether they'll do so with their first-pick, eighth overall.

The Bills have been busy scouting nearly every quarterback prospect this offseason.

They've held private workouts with West Virginia's Geno Smith, Florida State's E.J. Manuel and Oklahoma's Landry Jones. Assistant GM Doug Whaley also attended Southern California's pro day this past week, where Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley threw for the first time since hurting his shoulder in November.

The Bills are once again in rebuilding mode under rookie coach Doug Marrone, who took over in January after Chan Gailey was fired following three losing seasons. Marrone is an offensive specialist, who spent the past four seasons reviving a struggling football program at Syracuse.

Kolb was being counted on by the Cardinals to become their franchise quarterback by acquiring him in a trade with Philadelphia in the summer of 2011. They then signed Kolb to a five-year, $63 million contract with $20 million guaranteed.

Kolb, however, got off to a 1-6 start and had trouble adapting to coach Ken Whisenhunt's offense. He then hurt his toe and was eventually sidelined for the rest of the season because of a concussion.

Last season, Kolb helped the Cardinals get off to a 4-0 start before being sidelined for the rest of the season with torn rib cartilage.

Kolb has struggled with consistency. He has completed 59.5 percent of his passes, while throwing 28 touchdowns and 25 interceptions in 34 career games.