Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter is picky about his quarterbacks. Jameis Winston is the surefire starter in Tampa as he enters his third NFL season. It was not a surprise when the Buccaneers let quarterback Mike Glennon walk in free agency knowing there was no chance he would start in Winston’s place unless the former Heisman Trophy winner went down injured.
This morning the Buccaneers reached an agreement with 12-year veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick:
ROSTER UPDATE: The Buccaneers have agreed to terms with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) May 19, 2017
Tampa Bay will be the seventh NFL team Ryan Fitzpatrick will have suited up for in his career. The former Harvard University graduate started 116 games over the course of 12 seasons, going 46-69-1.
Ryan Fitzpatrick’s best season was in 2015 when he started every game for the New York Jets. New York finished 10-6 and in second place in the AFC East, just missing a Wild Card playoff berth. In 2016, things went south. The Jets selected Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg in the second round even though the team already had Fitzpatrick and second-year quarterback out of Baylor Bryce Petty on the roster. According to EndZoneScore’s New York Jets writer Justin Caba, Ryan Fitzpatrick did not rub off well on Petty and Hackenberg and would pout in practice when those two young players would get first team reps.
Back to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Looking at the Bucs depth chart at the quarterback position, signing Fitzpatrick fills a major need considering the players the team had sitting behind Jameis Winston. Ryan Griffin and Sean Renfree are the other quarterbacks on the depth chart, as is undrafted rookie free agent from Colorado Sefo Liufau. Those three players have zero NFL starts between them as they compete for the backup job.
If Jameis Winston gets hurt the Buccaneers are in a whole lot of trouble, more so than most other NFL teams are if their starter goes down. Fitzpatrick isn’t the best teammate nor does he offer much in the way of leading a team to victory at this point in his career. His experience playing so many games is unmatched for what is available so late in free agency, and that’s exactly what the Buccaneers are thinking as they prepare for training camp.
Michael Berns is Editor in Chief of Endzonescore.com. He also contributes to college football writing: particularly covering the Illinois Fighting Illini and all things BigTen. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter –@MichaelBerms.