After failing to sign Teddy Bridgewater and trading former starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, it appears the Miami Dolphins have landed on their potential 2019 starter in Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The Miami Dolphins are among several NFL teams needing a franchise quarterback, but on Sunday afternoon, they agreed to terms with a possible stopgap option in Ryan Fitzpatrick, who, at times, has looked like a quality starter in this league.
Fitzpatrick played in half of the 2018 season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, completing an impressive 66.7% of his passes with 9.6 yards per attempt and 17 touchdowns for an average of more than two scores per game. Of course, Fitzpatrick’s biggest issue has always been avoiding turnovers, and for as impressive as his other numbers were, his 12 interceptions in eight games undermined his ability to start the full season for the Buccaneers.
In 2015, Fitzpatrick threw for over 30 touchdowns and nearly 4,000 yards with the New York Jets, and he’s always been great at hooking up with deep threats or big receivers on the outside. With the under-appreciated Kenny Stills and the recently re-signed DeVante Parker, who finally flashed once he saw the field last year, Fitzpatrick isn’t lacking in that department.
Whether or not he starts for the Dolphins remains to be seen, but, at this point in time, he is by far the best quarterback they have on the roster and is in a position to be a rookie quarterback’s veteran backup in 2020.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Dolphins inked Fitzpatrick to a two-year deal worth $11 million, and incentives could cause Fitzpatrick to earn as much as $17-20 million over the lifetime of this contract.
The Dolphins are quite clearly in “tank mode,” and even Schefter tweeted that the team has its eyes on Tua Tagovailoa for the 2020 NFL Draft. Some analysts are concerned that Fitzpatrick, who had success in the Jets offense years ago as a well-traveled veteran of the AFC East, might be too good for a team trying to tank, as the Dolphins do have some talented skill position players in Stills, Parker, Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant, Kenyan Drake, and Kalen Ballage.
FitzMagic is a beloved quarterback, but is polarizing in the sense that it’s difficult to project how he’ll do on a game-to-game – or even a season-to-season – basis. As a whole, this is a positive signing for the Dolphins, because Fitzpatrick comes at pennies on the dollar in comparison to other starting quarterbacks.
It’s a bargain-bin signing at a high-priced position, and Miami will take its time before the new coaching staff puts its faith into a young quarterback. Maybe that passer ends up being Tua in 2020, but, for now, it’s the FitzMagic show – and dynasty owners of Stills should be quite happy with that.