With the news that quarterback Jameis Winston will be suspended the first three games of the regular season for violating the personal conduct policy, the Buccaneers’ decision to bring back Ryan Fitzpatrick looks like a wise one.
The 35-year-old Fitzpatrick signed a one-year, $3.3 million deal in March to give them some veteran stability, and now he’ll start the first three games of the regular season.
As noted by Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times, Fitzpatrick played efficiently last year when Winston was out with a shoulder injury, going 2-1 in the three games he started.
He’s not the flashiest quarterback in the league, but he was careful with the ball last year, throwing just one interception in the 115 passes he attempted.
Of course, he led them to wins over the Dolphins and Jets, and the schedule is much tougher this year, with the Bucs’ first three games against the Saints, Eagles, and Steelers.
He won’t even be close to the oldest Bucs opening day starting quarterback, either. Brad Johnson was a day short of his 36th birthday in 2004, Jeff Garcia was 38 in 2008, and Steve DeBerg was 39 in 1993.
The suspension also moves Ryan Griffin up a chair, and he’ll back up Fitzpatrick. The 28-year-old has never thrown an NFL pass.