Fitzpatrick is facing competition after the Dolphins used the No. 5 overall draft pick on fellow quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (hip). It isn't clear if Fitzpatrick will need to battle for the Week 1 starting job, but even if he's handed the honor, it's unlikely that a top-five draft pick would spend an entire season on the bench. While the rookie's medical record adds an interesting element to that equation, recent reports suggest Tagovailoa made a smooth recovery from November hip surgery. The Dolphins finished Day 1 of the draft without adding any pass-catching talent, but they did pick up USC offensive tackle Austin Jackson, who will join a remade O-line that previously added veteran free agents LG Ereck Flowers and C Ted Karras. The Dolphins also signed RB Jordan Howard, and they have a slew of draft picks on Days 2 and 3 to further improve their offense.
Fitzpatrick intends to play for the Dolphins in 2020, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. Fitzpatrick seems to be on the same page as general manager Chris Grier, who said last week that he hopes the 37-year-old quarterback will stay in Miami for another season. Fitzpatrick is entering the second season of a two-year, $13.5 million contract, boasting a strong argument to ask for a pay raise. The Dolphins presumably will try to acquire a young QB, but that doesn't necessarily mean Fitzpatrick will need to battle for the Week 1 starting job.
GM Chris Grier expects Fitzpatrick to play for the Dolphins in 2020, the second season of a two-year, $13.5 million contract, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald reports. "We fully expect Ryan to be back and playing," Grier said. "He did a great job in the locker room, his leadership and just his enthusiasm." The contract had a base value of $11 million, with an extra $2.5 million added to the 2020 base salary after Fitzpatrick played more than 75 percent of offensive snaps in 2019. The Dolphins will be happy to pay the escalator, and they might even consider tacking on some more money if it helps convince the 37-year-old to play another season, something he wasn't willing to commit to after Week 17. At the same time, the team needs to find a young quarterback to build around, preferably sooner than later. The most likely scenario features Fitzpatrick entering Week 1 as the starter, with an early 2020 draft pick (and possibly Josh Rosen) providing depth.
Fitzpatrick completed 28 of 41 passes for 320 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions in the Dolphins' 27-24 win over the Patriots on Sunday. He also rushed five times for 15 yards and another score and fumbled once but recovered. Fitzpatrick saved his best of a highly improbable season for last, authoring his fourth 300-yard effort of the last seven games and one of the more unlikely regular-season upsets in recent memory in the process. Fitzpatrick capped off the game with a 13-play, 75-yard march that culminated in a five-yard touchdown pass to Mike Gesicki, which proved to be the game-winning score. Fitzpatrick undeniably injected life into the Dolphins' offense since reclaiming the starting job in Week 7, and he wrapped up the campaign with a 20:13 TD:INT and 3,529 passing yards over 15 contests, along with 243 rushing yards and another four scores on the ground. While the offseason and draft could certainly bring competition at quarterback, Fitzpatrick heads into 2020 with a seemingly secure grip on the starting job.
Fitzpatrick said Friday that he hasn't yet made any decision on his playing future and intends to "go through the process and figure things out," Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. Fitzpatrick said that he feels "great" physically and still loves playing, a hint that he could be leaning toward continuing his career. The 37-year-old has had a more than solid inaugural season in Miami, and he remains under contract through 2020, so the team would have reasonable incentive to keep the signal-caller in the building unless he opts to hang up the cleats. The Dolphins are a strong candidate to invest high draft capital in a rookie quarterback this offseason, and also have second-year signal-caller Josh Rosen signed beyond 2020, so Fitzpatrick's ability to provide competition and a veteran presence could prove desirable.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/13||@New England Patriots||1||11.06|
|5||10/11||@San Francisco 49ers||15||18.00|
|7||10/25||Los Angeles Chargers||8||15.63|
|8||11/01||Los Angeles Rams||10||17.13|
|10||11/15||New York Jets||17||19.13|
|12||11/29||@New York Jets||17||19.13|
|14||12/13||Kansas City Chiefs||14||17.89|
|15||12/20||New England Patriots||1||11.06|
|16||12/27||@Las Vegas Raiders||0.00|
|3 Year Avg||62.5||2333||15||9||158||2||192|