Bills sign rookie 1st-round draft pick, QB Manuel

Buffalo Bills' EJ Manuel throws during NFL football minicamp in Orchard Park, N.Y., Tuesda...

By JOHN WAWROW, AP
Fri Jun 14, 5:49 PM UTC

The Buffalo Bills signed rookie quarterback EJ Manuel to a four-year contract worth $8.9 million on Friday.

The team announced the signing, and a person familiar with the deal revealed the terms speaking on the condition of anonymity because the Bills did not release any details of the contract. The person said the contract includes a $4.84 million signing bonus.

The move was made a day after the Bills closed a three-day mandatory minicamp. And it means they will have all of their eight draft picks signed once training camp opens July 28 in suburban Rochester.

Manuel was selected 16th overall out of Florida State, and was the only quarterback selected in the first round. He is competing with veteran free-agent addition Kevin Kolb for the starting job.

At 6-foot-4 and 237 pounds, Manuel's a strong-armed mobile player, who went 25-6 in four seasons with the Seminoles. Despite Manuel's success, questions were raised over his decision-making skills. He finished with 47 touchdowns and 28 interceptions, which were the result of him occasionally forcing throws.

Manuel moved up the team's quarterback depth chart after the Bills released veteran Tarvaris Jackson on Monday. Coach Doug Marrone has not provided a timeline as to when he expects to name a starter, though it's expected that both Kolb and Manuel will get an opportunity to continuing competing through the Bills first two preseason games.

Manuel welcomed the additional practice time he earned following Jackson's departure. He also understood that he needed to continue improving to show he's capable of making the immediate jump from college to NFL rookie starter.

``I don't think that's anything I have to remind myself of,'' Manuel said. ``I'm still trying to learn, still trying to get a great feel for my teammates. I'm still trying to earn the respect of the veteran guys as well as the rookies.''