Dolphins reportedly sign Ryan Fitzpatrick to two-year, $11 million deal after trading away Ryan Tannehill

After seeing Teddy Bridgewater re-sign with the Saints and dealing away Ryan Tannehill to the Titans, the Dolphins were in serious need of a starting quarterback in a market mostly lacking starting-caliber quarterbacks. On Sunday, the Dolphins finally made a move for a quarterback who, as of this very moment, immediately becomes the best quarterback in Miami even though his history as a starter makes him better suited for a backup role.

As first reported by ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe, the Dolphins have agreed to sign Ryan Fitzpatrick. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Dolphins are giving Fitzpatrick a two-year, $11 million deal that can reach $17-20 million via incentives. 

He’s back:

2019 will be Fitzpatrick’s 15th NFL season. The Dolphins will be his eighth NFL team after previously playing for the Rams, Bengals, Bills, Titans, Texans, Jets, and Buccaneers. And Miami will be his third stop with an AFC East team after prior stints in Buffalo and New York. For a quarterback as consistently inconsistent as Fitzpatrick, it’s mind boggling he continues to get opportunities to start in the NFL, but unless the Dolphins make a move for a quarterback in the draft or trade for someone, Fitzpatrick, 36, will likely start again in 2019.

In Fitzpatrick, the Dolphins have acquired a veteran gunslinger who will make his fair share of big plays that will be cancelled out by backbreaking mistakes. In eight games (seven starts) for the Buccaneers this past season, Fitzpatrick averaged 9.6 yards per attempt and threw a touchdown on 6.9 percent of his passes. But he also threw an interception on 4.9 percent of his passes. Over the course of his 14-year career, Fitzpatrick has thrown 190 touchdowns and 148 interceptions for a passer rating of 81.1. Those are backup numbers.

At this point in his career, nobody should expect Fitzpatrick to magically morph into a different kind of quarterback. He is what he is, and what he is, is a mistake-prone quarterback who has the ability to piece together hot stretches of play before inevitably falling back down to Earth. Too easily, FitzMagic becomes FitzTragic. 

The unfortunate reality is that the Dolphins didn’t have many better options after Bridgewater decided to remain in New Orleans as Drew Brees‘ backup instead of becoming the Dolphins’ bridge starter. Colin Kaepernick is probably the best available quarterback to sign, but teams have shown no signs that they’re seriously interested in signing him. Beyond that, a trade for Josh Rosen could be on table as the Cardinals consider drafting Kyler Murray No. 1 overall or they could try to take a quarterback in the draft, but that might prove to be difficult considering their position in the first round at No. 13 overall. 

Signing Fitzpatrick should not prohibit the Dolphins from making any other moves. They still need to find their long-term solution at quarterback. In that sense, starting Fitzpatrick and losing a bunch of games to get a high pick in next year’s draft isn’t the worst strategy, but the Dolphins could’ve accomplished that without Fitzpatrick. There’s also an argument to be made that Fitzpatrick, who is usually good for two or so incredible performances per season, might hurt the Dolphins’ chances of winding up with next year’s top pick by winning a couple of games the Dolphins have no business winning. 

At the very least, the Dolphins will provide some entertainment while they enter the beginning stages of their rebuild. That much cannot be denied.

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