Veteran Free-Agent QB Called ‘Perfect’ Signing for Patriots

Getty Ryan Fitzpatrick

The list of quarterbacks that will be mentioned in connection with the New England Patriots is almost as long as the team’s list of playoff appearances.

One of the latest is Miami Dolphins veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. The 38-year-old has played for every team in the AFC East besides the Patriots, so it would seem fitting for him to have a stint in Foxborough before he calls it a career.

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FitzMagic in New England?

Pats Pulpit’s Brian M. Hines made a list of possibilities for the Patriots at quarterback in 2021. Fitzpatrick was one of the players Hines mentioned. Here’s what he said:

As the two-year contract he signed back in 2019 is set to expire, it seems unlikely he will be back in South Beach. While the veteran would continue to be a great backup (reliever?) for Tua Tagovailoa, Fitzpatrick clearly wants a chance to start elsewhere. He should have his fair share of suitors too, as teams were calling about him at last year’s trade deadline once he was moved to the bench. Regarding the Patriots, modeling their AFC East foe, the Miami Dolphins, could be the perfect recipe for success. Signing Fitzpatrick to a short-term deal would allow New England to develop a younger quarterback — whether that’s Stidham, a rookie, or someone else — behind him. A one-year deal for Fitzpatrick should cost the Patriots around $10 million, which would leave them with plenty of ammo to address other roster needs.

A $10 million salary would indeed leave plenty of cap space for the Patriots to address the other areas of concern on the roster. The Patriots have more than $63 million available and they would likely love to sign a capable bridge quarterback like Fitzpatrick to a two-year deal while the young signal-caller they draft has some time to develop.

On the Other Hand …

For the same type of contract, couldn’t the Patriots bring back Cam Newton?

I know the narrative suggests he was one of the worst passing quarterbacks in the league, but I think the Patriots’ passing woes were caused by a myriad of things including a limited time for Newton to gain a handle of the offense, his positive COVID-19 test, accuracy issues on short throws, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’ reluctance to push the ball down the field, and a lack of weapons at wide receiver and tight end.

We cannot disregard any of those issues, and quite honestly, it might be easier for the Patriots to simply remedy the aspects that are in their control (play-calling and weapons) while expecting the others to improve (Newton’s grasp of the offense and not catching COVID again). That seems like a better plan than starting over at the position.

Fitzpatrick is a solid veteran but he doesn’t bring the running aspect that Newton offers, which was one of the best aspects of the Patriots’ offense this season. When you look at things holistically, Fitzpatrick isn’t an upgrade.

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