Will Fitzmagic Return to Miami?
By: Benedetto Vitale (Twitter: @TalksVitale)
It appears as though this offseason we’ll be witnessing the quarterback shuffle. First, we had Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff swap teams. Rumors are swirling around Deshaun Watson and Kirk Cousins. Plus, we have a deep quarterback class in the draft this year. With so many prominent names possibly available, where does Ryan Fitzpatrick fit amongst the chaos?
Fitzpatrick is pushing 40 years old, but still, put up a decent year for the Miami Dolphins. He finished with 2,091 passing yards and 13 touchdowns through nine games played. Additionally, his 68.5 completion percentage is the highest of his career. It’s still unclear if he comes back for another season. Although, there should still be some interest in the 16-year vet.
It’ll be difficult for Fitzpatrick to find a starting job next year, especially after Miami seems set on Tua Tagovailoa taking over as the starter next year. Alain Poupart, a writer for Sports Illustrated, explains how Fitzpatrick starting for the Dolphins is unlikely. He claims, “If Fitzpatrick still wants to at least have the chance to be a starter, he’d have to look elsewhere, though there probably aren’t many teams where he’d have a legitimate chance of accomplishing that goal.”
With that said, Fitzpatrick’s options will be limited, but there are a few franchises that may pull the trigger on signing the wily veteran. He may not be receiving a guaranteed starting role, but here are three potential landing spots for Ryan Fitzpatrick.
One More Year in Miami?
The most likely destination for Fitzpatrick is the Miami Dolphins. He’s not likely to be named as the starter in 2021, however, he’d serve as a fantastic backup for the young rookie. With the Dolphins in a position to build a legit playoff threat, the front office may be wanting Fitzpatrick to help out for one more year.
The best news about the Dolphins, is they have the flexibility to do whatever they want this offseason. In Kyle Crabbs’ article for USA Today, he explains Miami’s current situation by saying, “… thanks to all of their assets in the 2021 NFL draft, and their salary cap space, [the Dolphins] have a key luxury on their side.” Essentially, Miami can do as they see fit this offseason without many consequences.
If that’s the case, ensuring Tagovailoa’s development is the priority. Bringing back Fitzpatrick gives the Dolphins a backup QB that is already familiar with the offense, and could step in smoothly if need be. Additionally, Fitzpatrick can be an extra coach for Tagovailoa. Re-signing Fitzpatrick would be great insurance to have in 2021.
Fitzpatrick Becomes a Patriot ?
We’re currently in an era that hasn’t been seen in two decades. The New England Patriots are a disinterested destination for NFL players alike. Recently, it came out that Stafford told the Detroit Lions front office he would be open to playing anywhere except for New England. This doesn’t bode well for the Patriots’ future at all, which means they may have some early troubles during their re-build.
If Ryan Fitzpatrick still wants to be a starter, this is his best bet. New England is going to have to restructure the roster through the NFL draft. They likely draft a rookie this year, but it’s still uncertain whether the selected prospect will be a day-one starter. That’s where Fitzpatrick comes in. He can be the starter until the rookie is ready to go, similar to his situation with the Miami Dolphins in 2020.
Conor Orr, a writer for Sports Illustrated seems to agree, stating, “Sign Ryan Fitzpatrick this offseason and draft Alabama’s Mac Jones, allowing one of the all-time great bridge quarterbacks to run your offense for a year while developing a rookie starter.” The Patriots need time to build their roster, and Fitzpatrick gives them exactly that.
Fitzpatrick Heads to Mile High?
Lastly, the Denver Broncos make the list of potential landing spots for Ryan Fitzpatrick. With question marks surrounding Drew Lock’s development, bringing in a solidified veteran may be the best answer.
A writer for CBS Denver, Justin Adams quickly explains Lock’s 2020 season. He states, “The Broncos quarterback took a step back from his rookie season. In 13 starts, Drew Lock was 4-9 and threw 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, which was tied for the most in the NFL.”
If the Broncos do sign Fitzpatrick, he’d be brought in to compete for a starting spot with Drew Lock. This may be the motivation Lock needs to kick things into gear, as Fitzpatrick will arrive guns blazing. Additionally, this would be a great way to further Lock’s development, as Fitzpatrick would be a fantastic QB for Lock to learn behind.
It’s still unclear if the Broncos plan to keep or replace Lock. They were in the running to trade for Stafford, and there are still rumors the franchise is interested in Deshaun Watson. However, if this organization believes in Drew Lock, signing Ryan Fitzpatrick would be the best thing for the young prospect’s development.