Could Ryan Fitzpatrick be the short-term answer for the Jacksonville Jaguars?
In the 2018 NFL season, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick played wonderfully in place of Jameis Winston. In his first two games against the New Orleans Pelicans and the Philadelphia Eagles, throwing for 819 yards with eight touchdowns and only one interception while completing 78.6 percent of his passes. He had the best two-game stretch of his entire career. After those two games, everything went downhill.
He only started five more games last season and threw nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions for only 1,517 yards. It was a constant struggle to see whether or not head coach Dirk Koetter would start him or Winston. His indecisiveness eventually led to his firing, as well as a poor 5-11 finish on the season.
Fitzpatrick showed flashes last season and that lack of consistency kind of defines his career. He’s been in the NFL since 2005 and has bounced around from seven different organizations. His best season probably came in 2015 with the New York Jets, where he threw for 3,905 yards with 31 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
He has the ability to be an adequate starter. Putting it together for a full season has only happened three times for his entire career. His susceptibility to injury is something that many teams have been wary of and paid the price for.
Fortunately for the Jacksonville Jaguars, they can take that bet. Especially if it’s cost effective. The last two deals he’s taken were one-year flyers, one at three million and one at 12. The Jaguars would only have to pay five to seven million dollars for his services, and he would provide some sort of stability for the team.
The Jaguars have relied on since 2014 Blake Bortles and Chad Henne at the quarterback spot. Even though they were able to make it to the AFC Championship with Bortles in 2017, it was their defense that carried them to that spot.
The Jaguars desperately need a veteran quarterback if they are to rely on their defense moving forward. Fitzpatrick would provide some stability in that position, even for just a year. If they even draft a quarterback in the first round, he could take a year to learn under him and prepare for the starting spot the following season.
Whatever the Jaguars do, they need to reevaluate their quarterback situation. Whether it’s Fitzpatrick or a rookie, they cannot continue to rely on mediocre performance from the position.