“At this point in my career, I’m not going to be given or gifted a chance to start anywhere probably,” Fitzpatrick said, via JoeBucsFan.com. “You know, there’s a lot of things that weigh into it now for me now that maybe didn’t years ago, just in terms of family and different situations. I enjoyed the year I’ve had here and even just the Tampa area in general. But this team, I think Jameis did a good job this year and you can see the improvement in his game. I’d enjoy being back. I really enjoyed my role this year, but you never know. We’ll see what happens.”
Fitzpatrick, now 35, is in a much different spot than he was two years ago, when a solid season with the Jets gave him the leverage to hold out and wait for the kind of contract he wanted from the team. He eventually got an offer he liked right after training camp opened, but 2016 didn’t go well.
Even if he isn’t a starter, Fitzpatrick can make quality money as the backup. For most NFL quarterbacks, the wages earned in that extra two or three years of playing in a backup role surpass whatever the player would get elsewhere. With minimal playing time (and thus minimal risk of injury), it makes sense for most to stick around as long as they can.