BY SEAN DONOVAN
Buffalo signed veteran Vince Young to a one-year contract on Friday, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen. The deal is worth $2 million with another $1 million in playing-time incentives. Young was brought in for a workout on May 2.
"Thanks to (general manager) Buddy Nix and Coach (Chan) Gailey for giving me the opportunity to come in and play and compete," Young tweeted Friday afternoon. "I am looking forward to playing with the guys and helping where I am needed. I have always respected the Bills organization and am looking forward to being a part of the team."
Young's arrival brings a veteran presence and starting experience to the Bills' quarterback group. He will join Tyler Thigpen and undrafted free agent Aaron Corp in camp to compete for second-string duties behind entrenched starter Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Having a player of Young's caliber behind him could also push Fitzpatrick to improve. The Bills have high expectations after a big offseason where they revamped their defense, extended feature running back Fred Jackson and signed No. 1 receiver Stevie Johnson. If Fitzpatrick struggles for any extended period of time, the old addage that the backup quarterback is the most popular guy in town could ring true in Western New York.
The Bills' organization has vehemently denied that Fitzpatrick's starting job is in jeopardy after his hot start to the 2011 season. Buffalo started 5-2, including a thrilling comeback victory over the rival Patriots, but finished the season losing eight of its final nine games and missed the playoffs for the 12th consecutive season.
Fitzpatrick signed a contract extension worth close to $60 million on October 28, when Buffalo was still riding high with a 4-2 record. However, the Bills' signal-caller struggled mightily after the new contract was signed, throwing 17 interceptions to only 12 touchdowns in the final 10 games of the season.
Young's signing gives Buffalo a viable option if Fitzpatrick continues to struggle. The former No. 3 overall pick out of Texas has a career 31-19 record as a starter and has a knack for making plays in crunch time. Though not always the most efficient passer, with a career 74.4 QB rating, Young is always a threat to run from the pocket.
Gailey has experience utilizing scrambling quarterbacks with mediocre passing skills. As the Steelers offensive coordinator in 1997, Gailey helped coach a Kordell Stewart-led team to an 11-5 record and the AFC Championship.
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