There is something to be said for continuity and the Buccaneers are choosing to keep that at the backup quarterback position, as they are bringing back veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick for 2018. The question is: is it the smartest thing they could’ve done?
More on that in moment.
First, the Bucs announced the move to re-sign Fitzpatrick Friday morning before Free Agency begins next week:
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) March 9, 2018
Fitzpatrick filled the role and even performed well times, winning two of the three games that he was forced to start due to Jameis Winston’s shoulder injury. He finished with 1,103 yards seven TDs and three INTs with a QBR of 86.0 (solid) for the season.
He will be entering his 14th season coming up and has had six previous NFL teams. So, obviously, he has become well versed in teams wanting you and then, not wanting you. So, he was probably eager to be back for this season with a team that on paper, offensively, has pieces to contend.
And he’s affordable. Fitzpatrick signed for $3 million a year ago and you have to believe his deal is for similar, if not slightly more in 2018.
Now to the argument, “could the Bucs have done better?”
Fans will point to the name Mike Glennon, who as we wrote last week, is being released by the Bears after only one season as brief starter in Chicago.
Glennon was previously Winston’s backup his first two years in the league, and has 22 career starts with a 6-16 record in his five seasons. However, he is considerably younger, taller, and has a better arm than Fitzpartick.
As, backup options go, you could see Glennon making more sense. Also, the Buccaneers GM Jason Licht and coach Dirk Koetter are both big fans of his, as well. And, they were trying to keep him as Winston’s backup a year ago at this time, while they apparently offered him more than $4 million a year to do, so.
He chose Chicago’s starting opportunity and ultimately, $16 million guaranteed to play last year. Can’t fault him for that.
Finally, there’s the question of: who else is really out there that’s better/affordable to come be a backup?
In that regard, probably not much. Certainly, not better for continuity’s sake than Fitzpatrick, who knows the offense and receivers and has clearly jumped at the chance to do it.
But the question will still linger: if Winston is re-injured, if the ongoing NFL investigation into his conduct in March of 2016 with a female Uber driver in Arizona doesn’t go well, etc., and the Bucs need a backup, can Fitzpatrick deliver?
The Bucs think so.
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