Report: Bills, QB Kolb close to deal

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The quarterback-needy Buffalo Bills have turned their attention to free-agent Kevin Kolb.

A person familiar with talks said Saturday night that the Bills are close to completing a deal to sign the sixth-year player. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of discussions.

ESPN.com first reported that a deal between the two sides was close.

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. They’re down to one experienced quarterback on their 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.

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.

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