Thu, Mar 18, 2021
By Jim Vassallo (Veri.bet Writer)
Veteran journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has signed with the Washington Football Team and will likely be the starter when the 2021 season opens in September. Fitzpatrick takes over for Alex Smith, who was released recently.
The deal is worth $10 million and can increase to $12 million with incentives. Fitzpatrick will compete with Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen, but will likely be the starter in the fall.
"I have a lot of great football ahead of me, which sounds crazy," he said. "After last season I was sitting with my wife and saying, 'I think I'm playing better than I ever have and I still love playing this game.' She looked at me and said, 'You'd be crazy to not keep playing.'"
The organization knew from the start it would not be able to add a long-term solution to quarterback through free agency, but with Fitzpatrick in the fold, it should be able to defend its NFC East Division crown in 2021 in what is possibly the worst division in the entire NFL.
Should Fitzpatrick be named the starter, he would be the franchise’s 32nd at the position since it won the Super Bowl following the 1991 season and eighth since the start of the 2019 season. Three players started at quarterback last year for Washington: Allen, Smith, and Dwayne Haskins. Only Allen remains on the roster.
This season with be the 17th in the league for Fitzpatrick. He is the only player in league history to start for and throw touchdown passes for eight different teams. Barring a season-ending injury or any other unforeseen circumstance, Fitzpatrick should increase that number to nine teams this year.
Fitzpatrick spent the last two seasons playing for the Miami Dolphins, both as the starter and a backup. He knew that he was simply the placeholder for up-and-coming quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
In 2020, Fitzpatrick completed 68.5% of his passes, tossed 13 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. Fitzpatrick came off the bench in relief of Tagovailoa to lead the Dolphins to a late-season comeback victory over the Las Vegas Raiders.
He missed the final game of the season due to a positive COVID-19 test, which turned out to be a loss to the AFC East Division champion Buffalo Bills. Miami finished at 10-6 in 2020 after going 5-11 in 2019.
For his career, Fitzpatrick has thrown for 34,977 yards, good for 10th among active quarterbacks. He has tossed 223 career touchdowns and 169 interceptions in his 17-year career.
"Part of my story is skipping around to different teams and trying to instill belief and just show that passion," he said. "In Miami, it was getting guys that maybe didn't believe in themselves before to believe. Every time I go to a new place it's a new opportunity, a new adventure, a new journey for me and I get to reinvent myself and I have to prove myself and earn the respect of the guys."
You can bet on the Washington Football Team to compete for another NFC East crown in 2021, even if Dak Prescott returns to the starting lineup for the Dallas Cowboys following an injury that ended his 2020 season.