"The Bills have announced the selection of Rob Johnson as the team's starting quarterback," Bills spokesman Mark Dalton said Wednesday afternoon. A news conference officially announcing the decision was scheduled at 7 p.m.
The decision settles a long-brewing controversy that has divided the team and its fans since the two quarterbacks were brought in three seasons ago.
The Bills were forced to make a decision mostly for salary-cap reasons as they had to cut almost $8 million off their payroll in time for Thursday's 4 p.m. deadline.
By cutting Flutie instead of Johnson, the Bills save about $3 million in cap dollars, about $1.4 million more than than they would if they cut Johnson.
The decision comes after a month of speculation, ever since new Bills general manager Tom Donahoe announced the one would have to go on Feb. 2.
Johnson, who turns 28 in March, is both younger and considered to have the much stronger arm. And at 6-foot-4 and 212 pounds, he is considered to have the prototypical build of a potential star quarterback.
The Bills, under new head coach Gregg Williams, are planning to introduce the aggressive and timing-sensitive West Coast offense this season.
Johnson's drawbacks over the last three seasons have been injuries and an inability to get rid of the ball quickly.
Johnson, 8-10 in his 18 starts with the Bills, was sacked 49 times last season once for every seven times he dropped back to pass. He also missed three games because of a separated shoulder, and was knocked out of four of 11 starts because of injuries.
Flutie, considered one of the Bills most popular players, turns 38 in October.
He went 21-9 as a starter with the Bills.
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