Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ron Rivera: No Rush To Solidify WFT’s QB

Ryan Fitzpatrick will enter training camp as Washington’s top quarterback, but he’ll have to earn his starting role through competition. Meanwhile, head coach Ron Rivera says he’s in no real rush to find the team’s QB of the future.

If you put all the other pieces into place and now you start going forward, when that guy does show up, when that guy is in the right position, you can grab him,” said Rivera (via Rhiannon Walker of The Athletic). “I went through it the other way my first stint as a head coach in Carolina. We drafted the guy of the future for us in the first round.…At that point, we had not put all the other pieces around Cam Newton.

So, I’ve always thought if you can do it the other way where you put all the other pieces around and then go out and get your quarterback, that might be a pretty good situation, too. I’ve seen a lot of teams that have had things in place then drafted their quarterback next year. This could be one of those situations where we put all the other pieces in place and then a year or two from now, the right guy is there and we can make that move.”

For now, WFT is set to move forward with Fitz, Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen, and Steven Montez on the depth chart. At N0. 19 overall, they won’t be in the mix for top QBs Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, or Trey Lance. From the sound of it, they won’t be vaulting up to the top five unless they’re especially keen on one of those passers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Contract Details: Jones, Floyd, Williams, QBs

Some assorted contract details from around the NFL:

  • RB Aaron Jones, Packers: Four years, $48MM, including $20MM over first two years. $7MM roster bonus in 2023. Owed $16MM in 2023 and $12MM in 2024. Via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero on Twitter.
  • LB Leonard Floyd, Rams: Four years, $64MM, including $32.5MM guaranteed. $14MM signing bonus. Salaries: $2MM (2021, fully guaranteed), $16.5MM (2022, fully guaranteed), $15.5MM (2023), $16MM (2024). Via Pelissero on Twitter.
  • DE Leonard Williams, Giants: Three years, $63MM, including $45MM. $22.5MM signing bonus. Salaries: $3.5MM (2021, fully guaranteed), $19MM (2022, fully guaranteed), $18MM (2023). Cap charges: $11MM (2021), $26.5MM (2022), $25.5MM (2023). Via Manish Mehta on Twitter.
  • QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Washington: One year, $10MM, including $6MM guaranteed. Max value of $12MM. $6MM signing bonus. $3MM base salary, $1MM per-game roster bonuses. Up to $2MM in incentives. Via Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post on Twitter.
  • QB Jacoby Brissett, Dolphins: One year, $5MM, including $2.5MM guaranteed. $2.5MM signing bonus, up to $2.5MM in incentives. Via Pelissero on Twitter.
  • QB Andy Dalton, Bears: One year, $10MM. $7MM signing bonus, $3MM base salary, up to $3MM in incentives. Via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle on Twitter.
  • LB Carl Lawson, Jets: Three years, $45MM, including $30MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus. Salaries: $6.2MM (2021, plus $7.8MM roster bonus), $15MM (2022), $15MM (2023). Cap charges: $14.3MM (2021), $15.3MM (2022), $15.3MM (2023). Up to $800K in sack incentives each year. Via Mehta on Twitter.

Bears Showed Interest In Ryan Fitzpatrick

The Bears landed their post-Mitchell Trubisky quarterback, with recent acquisition Andy Dalton indicating Thursday he was told he would be the team’s starter next season (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Adam Jahns). But they held discussions with at least one other option as well.

Ryan Fitzpatrick said Thursday more than three teams expressed interest in him this offseason, via Pro Football Talk, and Sirius XM Radio’s Adam Caplan notes the Bears were one of those teams (Twitter link). The Broncos were also connected to Fitz, though reports of the team having conversations with the ex-Dolphins passer before the legal tampering period would indeed constitute tampering. So it is uncertain if any talks between the Broncos and the 16-year veteran passer transpired.

Washington signed Fitzpatrick, agreeing to terms with him a day before Dalton committed to the Bears. Dalton has a key connection with the Bears, with the team employing ex-Bengals offensive coordinator Bill Lazor as its OC. But Fitz has shown over the past three seasons he still has some intriguing capabilities left, despite being 38.

Chicago still has Nick Foles on its roster as well, with his reworked contract now expiring after the 2021 season. While it perhaps should not be ruled out the Bears will load up again for another round of Russell Wilson trade talks, the organization had multiple fallback options this week. Dalton will be the one to suit up for the team next season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Washington To Sign QB Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ryan Fitzpatrick is heading to Washington. The veteran quarterback has reached an agreement with Washington, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). It’s a one-year deal worth $10MM, but the deal could grow to $12MM with incentives.

Despite having turned 38 years old in November and completing his 16th NFL season, it never really looked like the veteran was going to hang up his cleats. We heard earlier this week that Fitzpatrick intended to play in 2021, and it sounded like the quarterback would have plenty of suitors.

For me, personally, I have to take every offseason and reassess,” Fitzpatrick said recently. “These last two years have really re-lit that fire under me. I still want to play, and I enjoy being out there playing.”

Those past two years saw Fitzmagic lead the Dolphins to a 9-11 record in his 20 starts with the organization. He completed 64.2-percent of his passes over those two campaigns, throwing for 5,620 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 21 interceptions. He also continued to produce on the ground, finishing with 150 rushing yards for the 10th time in the past 13 seasons.

Washington was looking for a quarterback after letting go of Alex Smith earlier this month. The team entered the offseason rostering both Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins’ Ryan Fitzpatrick To Play In 2021

Despite speculation to the contrary, Ryan Fitzpatrick intends to play in 2021 (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). Fitzpatrick is days away from free agency and figures to draw a good amount of interest. 

Over the weekend, we heard that the 38-year-old could hang up the cleats. But, publicly, Fitzpatrick has been fairly consistent about his plans. In February, he told Pat McAfee that he still had plenty of gas in the tank.

For me, personally, I have to take every offseason and reassess,” Fitzpatrick said. “These last two years have really re-lit that fire under me. I still want to play, and I enjoy being out there playing.”

Fitzpatrick opened the year as the Dolphins’ starter before ceding the role to Tua Tagovailoa. However, he was used in relief throughout the year, including his game against the Raiders to secure the win. At this stage of his career, Fitzpatrick might not be able to secure a starting role, but he profiles as one of the best available backup options. If Fitzpatrick is willing to mentor a young QB, he should be able to land a contract as one of the league’s highest-paid QB2s.

After turns with the Rams, Bengals, Bills, Titans, Texans, Jets, Bucs, and Dolphins, the Harvard alum could be on his way to the ninth team of his NFL career.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ryan Fitzpatrick Leaning Toward Retirement?

As recently as the beginning of February, Ryan Fitzpatrick sounded like he had every intention of playing in 2021, but that might no longer be the case.

“For me, personally, I have to take every offseason and reassess. These last two years have really re-lit that fire under me. I still want to play, and I enjoy being out there playing,” Fitz said at the time. Now however, it “looks like he’s going to retire,” veteran NFL reporter John Clayton writes for 104.3 The Fan Denver. Clayton writes that the Broncos had “some contact” with Fitzpatrick, but “it looks like he’s going to be out of the mix.”

Perhaps Fitzpatrick has decided that if he can’t find a starting gig, he’ll hang up his cleats. In Denver he’d be veteran competition for Drew Lock, and it’s possible Fitz has no interest in another situation like last year, when he was used to push Tua Tagovailoa with the Dolphins. This news is also more confirmation that the Broncos are in fact serious about Lock not being handed the starting job.

If it really is the end of the line for FitzMagic, it’d wrap up an incredible NFL journey. The 250th pick of the 2005 draft has defied all odds, sticking in the league for 16 seasons while playing for eight different teams.

The 38-year-old has started 146 games in the league, an achievement nobody ever could’ve seen coming for the Harvard product. We should know more about his future soon with the start of free agency right around the corner.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ryan Fitzpatrick Wants To Return In 2021

The Dolphins benched Ryan Fitzpatrick midway through a season that ended with the veteran quarterback contracting COVID-19. But the well-traveled passer still played a key role in the Dolphins’ success and would like to return for a 17th season in 2021.

Dolphins GM Chris Grier was noncommittal on Fitzpatrick’s status with the franchise, which has since been linked to Deshaun Watson after proclaiming Tua Tagovailoa its 2021 starter. But it sounds like Fitz will be open to joining a ninth team — or perhaps returning to one of the previous franchises that employed him — next season.

This offseason, we already saw it with [Jared] Goff and [Matthew] Stafford obviously,” Fitzpatrick said during an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show (via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel). “Who knows what’s going to happen with Deshaun? There’s rumors everywhere in the quarterback market, but there are a lot of teams looking for a new quarterback or new quarterbacks.

For me, personally, I have to take every offseason and reassess. These last two years have really re-lit that fire under me. I still want to play, and I enjoy being out there playing.”

Fitzpatrick enjoyed an unusual role in his age-38 season. The Dolphins benched him for Tagovailoa but twice brought him into games as a late relief option. The second such instance produced a last-second victory against the Raiders. Fitz’s late 30s have featured stretches of production that would make him, at worst, a viable backup candidate for next season. He led a much worse 2019 Dolphins team to five wins and averaged 9.6 yards per attempt as a part-time starter for the 2018 Buccaneers.

The Harvard alum has played for the Rams, Bengals, Bills, Titans, Texans, Jets, Bucs and Dolphins since being drafted in the 2005 seventh round. The Dolphins signed Fitz to a two-year, $11MM deal in 2019, and he opened the past two seasons as the team’s starter over recent top-10 picks (Tagovailoa and Josh Rosen). The Dolphins can extend Fitzpatrick until the new league year begins and can obviously re-sign him after that March date. If he hits the market, it will be interesting to see what kind of outside interest develops.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins GM Chris Grier: Tua Tagovailoa Is Starting QB

One of this offseason’s most intriguing storylines may have just been nipped in the bud. Speaking at his end of season media availability, Dolphins GM Chris Grier declared Tua Tagovailoa the starting quarterback moving forward, via Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald.

“Tua we’re very happy with,” Grier said. “He’s our starting quarterback.” While Grier didn’t really hedge much, it’s worth pointing out that he did decline to answer whether the team would consider drafting a quarterback with the third overall pick, saying he wasn’t going to get into draft strategy. It’s difficult to parse this kind of coach and front office-speak, but Grier’s declaration did sound more definitive than when the Cardinals said Josh Rosen was “the guy” before promptly drafting Kyler Murray.

It sounds like the plan right now is to surround Tagovailoa with better weapons, and that will start with upgrading the receiving corp. “We’re very happy with that and looking forward to watching him progress here over the next offseason and going into next year,” Grier continued. Head coach Brian Flores also spoke to the media and said he expected his entire coaching staff back next year, including polarizing offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.

There had been an erroneous report Monday that Gailey was being let go. Flores also didn’t say whether he wanted Ryan Fitzpatrick back with the team in 2021, stating that he needed to evaluate the whole roster first. If the team really is intent on running it back with Tagovailoa, keeping Fitzpatrick would likely prove to be too much of a distraction.

Tagovailoa, of course, found himself benched for Fitzpatrick a couple of times, including in the team’s crucial Week 16 game against the Raiders when Fitzpatrick led a miracle comeback. Had Fitzpatrick not caught COVID-19, he almost certainly would’ve been inserted into their Week 17 loss to the Bills, which knocked them out of the playoffs, where Tagovailoa melted down.
Tagovailoa didn’t play all that poorly by rookie quarterback standards, but he didn’t show nearly as many flashes as Joe Burrow or Justin Herbert, and he often held onto the ball too long and took unnecessary sacks. His struggles with inefficiency led some to question whether or not the Dolphins, with their massive haul of draft picks, would consider starting from scratch with a new passer in this deep quarterback draft.
As of right now it doesn’t seem like they have any plans to do so, although it wouldn’t be too shocking if it turned out Grier and Flores were just playing media games. Tagovailoa finished his rookie season averaging 6.3 yards per attempt with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions in nine starts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins’ Ryan Fitzpatrick Tests Positive For COVID-19

The Dolphins will be without Ryan Fitzpatrick for Sunday’s game against the Bills. The backup quarterback has tested positive for COVID-19, as Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweet.

Fitzpatrick has been the steady hand and occasional fill-in behind rookie Tua Tagovailoa. The Dolphins won’t have that safety net for their pivotal Week 17 game. Instead, they’ve signed Jake Rudock to serve as their temporary QB2.

It hurts. He’s a leader on our team. He brings energy,” Dolphins safety Eric Rowe said (via ESPN.com’s Cameron Wolfe). “I’m sure it’s worse for him because he loves the game and no one wants to catch COVID. With that, you have to push forward. COVID is a real-deal thing whether you don’t have symptoms or you do. Just praying he doesn’t have symptoms or he didn’t pass it to his kids.”

FitzMagic’s latest outing boosted the Dolphins to a 26-25 win over the Raiders. All in all, the 38-year-old is 4-3 as a starter in 2020. He’ll be watching from a distance as the Dolphins look to clinch their spot with a win over Buffalo.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Flores: Tua Will Remain Dolphins’ Starter

The Dolphins are now one win away from their first trip to the postseason since 2016, and they have Ryan Fitzpatrick (and a healthy dose of Raiders ineptitude) to thank for it. After Miami’s offense with QB Tua Tagovailoa under center stagnated throughout much of last night’s game against Las Vegas, head coach Brian Flores replaced the first-round rookie with the hirsute 38-year-old, and that sprinkling of FitzMagic was enough to pull out a last-second win.

Fitzpatrick completed nine of 13 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown in his limited action, and while much of that yardage came on a no-look prayer of a pass and a healthy run-after-catch from RB Myles Gaskin, the offense undeniably came to life with Fitzpatrick at the helm. That led most to assume that the veteran would start the Dolphins’ Week 17 game with the Bills next week.

But Flores said in his post-game presser that Tagovailoa remains the team’s starter and will get the call against Buffalo, as Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com was among those to report. “Tua is a young player,” Flores said. “He’s developing. He’s improving on a daily basis. He’s learning from these experiences. He’ll be better next week.”

Last night marked the second time in five games that Tagovailoa was pulled for Fitzpatrick in the fourth quarter, and while Fitzpatrick wasn’t quite able to complete the comeback in Miami’s Week 11 loss to Denver, he got the job done against the Raiders. As a result, the Dolphins will clinch a playoff berth if they beat the Bills next week.

Tagovailoa’s surface-level stats look decent enough — he has completed 65.1% of his passes for 10 TDs against just two interceptions — but most of his throws are dinks and dunks, and his 6.3 yards-per-attempt average is among the worst in the league. He will need to take more downfield shots to pull out a victory over the Bills, but if he should struggle, Flores has shown he will not be afraid to send in Fitzpatrick.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.