Ryan Fitzpatrick says that his recent stint with the Miami Dolphins “re-lit a fire” under him. He wants to play in the NFL again in 2021, when he’ll turn 39. Based on his play this year, he should certainly have a place in the league if he wants it. One team that may need a veteran option at quarterback: the New England Patriots.
The team really struggled with Cam Newton under center this fall. It doesn’t all fall on the former MVP—the Patriots lacked a lot of offensive skill position talent—but it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll be back as the team’s starter in 2021. Not everyone is jumping at the chance to play for Bill Belichick’s team either. According to reports, there was one team that Matthew Stafford told the Detroit Lions he wasn’t interested in going to: the Patriots.
No one could blame Fitzpatrick for having his own reasons to shoot down New England as a potential landing spot. Spending 2009-12 with the Buffalo Bills, 2015-16 with the New York Jets, and 2019-20 with Miami, he’s played for every other AFC East franchise. He admits that he doesn’t have nearly the same ability to be as “picky” as a star quarterback like Matthew Stafford, who most figure didn’t want to be reunited with former Lions head coach Matt Patricia.
“For me, I can’t be as picky as Matt Stafford,” he told The Pat McAfee Show. “What I’ve learned over the years is not to sit and worry about it or put too much time into it until that March date rolls around.”
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) February 2, 2021
The McAfee crew mentioned Ryan Fitzpatrick’s college experience as Harvard as a possible reason for him to head up to the New England Patriots. Ultimately, he didn’t seem to have a significant opinion in either direction about the idea. It sounds like Fitzmagic just wants another chance to start somewhere.
Fitzpatrick is coming off of a solid, if abbreviated, year with the Dolphins. After taking rookie Tua Tagovailoa under his wing, he was abruptly benched for the former Alabama star after seven very solid starts. He came on in relief a few times, when Tua struggled, but Miami stayed with the rookie as they fought for a playoff berth, which they ultimately didn’t accomplish.
On the year, he threw for 2,091 yards on a career-high 68.5-percent completion rate, for a solid 7.8 yards per attempt. He threw 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions, and added two scores on the ground. Over a full season, he might’ve been looking at his first 4,000 yard year, had Tua not come in.
After his two-year, $11 million deal with the Dolphins, Fitzpatrick will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. With the number of teams looking for quarterbacks, he should get a spot somewhere, whether as a starter or a backup in a spot where he may be able to slide in.