It’s no longer a question as to if the Buffalo Bills can retain backup quarterback Mitchell Trubisky for the 2022 NFL season, but what team will he ultimately land with and how much money he will make.
Therefore, the Bills will be in a market to find a new backup for starting quarterback Josh Allen, and according to The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia, the one clear, easy answer to fill that vacancy is to bring back one of the franchise’s former starters, Ryan Fitzpatrick.
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Fitzpatrick, after signing a one-year, $10 million contract with the Washington Commanders, suffered a season-ending injury in the second quarter of the team’s season opener, and never returned to play. On March 6, the Commanders head coach Ron Rivera “essentially confirmed” to WGR 550‘s Sal Capaccio that the 39-year-old veteran returns to Washington.
“We’re now in a situation where we’re going to look, and we’re going to look to move forward,” Rivera said. “We are still evaluating all of our options.” In other words, it’s highly like Fitzpatrick will be available in free agency, and the Bills should be able to snag him for cheap.
“The pairing of this Bills team and Fitzpatrick makes almost too much sense,” Buscaglia wrote. The Bills don’t have a ton of cap space, but they also know how important it is to have a backup quarterback who can win games if the hit-taking Allen suffers an injury.”
As for what’s in it for for the former seventh-round pick from the 2005 NFL Draft, “To make an extra $3 million, possibly without needing to play, and to go to a Super Bowl contender in a place that he loves, that’s a hard offer for Fitzpatrick to pass up.”
For Allen, Fitzpatrick Is the Best ‘Chemistry-Building QB Available in Free Agency’
Following the exit of Bills’ former offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who was famously close with Allen, adding a veteran like Fitzpatrick to the quarterbacks room, who was the starter in Buffalo from 2009 to 2012, would “be a resource” for the $258 million franchise star, Buscaglia noted:
They also know how much they’ve lost around Allen, and the chemistry within the quarterbacks room is paramount to them. There isn’t a better chemistry-building quarterback available in free agency than Fitzpatrick. Knowing the two personalities, Allen and Fitzpatrick would get along very well.
Fitzpatrick also provides the benefit of having a great football mind and plenty of experience, which can be a resource for Allen and new offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey. There is also a connection between Fitzpatrick and the city from his time as the starter from 2009 to 2012. He always speaks glowingly about the area and likely has always kept an open mind regarding a return.
Not Everyone Is on Board With a Buffalo Homecoming for Fitzpatrick
To have Fitzpatrick back in the mix in the twilight of his career during a season for which the Bills are highly expected to make it to the Super Bowl sounds great, but not everyone thinks it’s a fairy tale situation.
While all of Bills Mafia loved seeing Fitzpatrick shirtless at Highmark Stadium during Buffalo’s dominant 47-17 playoff win over the New England Patriots, some NFL analysts believe Fitz will want to land somewhere where he will continue to be a starting quarterback, and if he can’t, could turn toward retirement.
SB Nation’s Bruce Nolan tweeted on March 4, “I don’t think Ryan Fitzpatrick is coming to Buffalo with his shirt on in 2022. I’ll take the L if he comes as a backup, but I would very highly doubt it. He’s mentioned he doesn’t need to do it anymore and only wants to sign somewhere if he can play.”
Fitzpatrick, who’s played with nine different franchises during his 17 years in the NFL, could also get picked up by a team with a young quarterback who needs veteran advice.
Yahoo! Sports! Liz Roscher wrote in December, “So where does Fitzpatrick go next? At this point, it’s hard to tell. There’s almost always a team that needs a QB like him: an experienced veteran who can help the young guys while giving a solid (and sometimes inconsistent) performance. That’s not a knock on Fitzpatrick — teams genuinely need quarterbacks like him, or else he wouldn’t have been able to last nearly 20 years in the NFL.
As for possible retirement, “Fitzpatrick hasn’t given any indication that he’s planning to or even wants to, but the facts are what they are: he’s 39 and has seven kids,” Roscher continued. “After spending almost the entire season off the field, he could decide that’s where he wants to stay. But hopefully, after such a disappointing season, Fitzmagic will return to give his NFL career a proper finale.”