Veteran Free-Agent QB Open to Signing With Patriots

Getty Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Fitzpatrick

According to reports, soon-to-be-former Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford gave his team the license to trade him anywhere but the New England Patriots.

It was just one of many shots absorbed by the Patriots organization in what proved to be a tough week. Bill Belichick and the Patriot Way took a ton of shots from the media and fans throughout the week as we move closer to the first Tom-Brady-played Super Bowl that won’t involve New England.

While Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers close in on their Super Bowl LV battle against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs on February 7, the Patriots are forced to work diligently to find answers to the problems that kept the team out of the playoffs for the first time since 2008. At the top of that list of issues is the need to solidify the quarterback position for the present and future.

It would be great if the Patriots could acquire a guy like Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans. That would effectively kill 2 birds with one stone. The disgruntled 25-year-old reportedly wants out, and the 3-time Pro-Bowler is already one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Because of his age, you’d like to think he has at least 7 years left to play at an elite level.

Unfortunately, pulling off a trade for Watson seems like a longshot, so the Patriots will likely have to aim for targets further down the talent ladder, and up a few rungs in the age department. That’s where speculation about New England signing a veteran like Ryan Fitzpatrick could come into play.

In case you’re worried about Fitzpatrick pulling a Stafford on the Patriots, don’t be. Fitzpatrick made it clear earlier this week, he and Stafford are different.

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Fitzpatrick: ‘I Can’t Be as Picky as Matt Stafford’

The 38-year-old veteran appeared on the Pat MacAfee Show early in the week, and he was asked about Stafford’s alleged request to play anywhere but New England. Fitzpatrick was asked if he felt the same way about the Patriots. Here is a look at his response:

Fitzpatrick lost his job to rookie quarterback Tua Tagvailoa last season but later regained it after the Alabama product struggled. Even still, the Dolphins don’t seem likely to bring Fitzpatrick back, thus he’s looking for his next gig.

Fitzpatrick broke into the NFL in 2005 after a standout collegiate career at Harvard. He has played for 8 NFL teams including every AFC East squad–besides the Patriots. Because of that, Belichick undoubtedly knows Fitzpatrick well, and there is no question, with his experience, the latter will be able to pick up any offensive system in the league.

What Does Fitzpatrick Have Left?

Fitzpatrick had his moments in 2020.

In 9 games, which included 7 starts, he had a 4-3 QB record. Fitzpatrick threw for 2,091 yards, 13 TDs, and 8 INTs. Those aren’t All-Pro numbers, but there is no questioning his ability to move the ball through the air. He’s obviously not a long-term solution, but the Patriots could do worse if that’s who they wind up settling on as a bridge quarterback while they attempt to develop their next long-term solution.

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