Fitzpatrick followed his career year in 2015 with a dreadful season last year in New York, posting six more turnovers than touchdowns and the second-lowest completion percentage in the league among qualified passers. The Jets, as expected, let him walk, and he landed in Tampa Bay as the backup to Jameis Winston. Unless Winston, who hasn't missed a start in two years, is seriously injured, Fitzpatrick likely won't see the field. Fitzpatrick, 34, is in a good spot, though, with his seventh team in 13 years, as his veteran experience can benefit Winston. If he somehow does get on the field, there will be no expectation for him to do anything other than manage the offense. The Buccaneers have a number of quality skill players to target in the passing game, though Fitzpatrick's arm strength and accuracy are modest.
Talk about being in the right place at the right time. Heading to his fourth team in four years, little was expected from Fitzpatrick in New York as he figured to begin the season behind Geno Smith, but after Smith had his jaw broken in a locker room fight during training camp, Fitzpatrick stepped into the starting lineup and put together the most productive season of his career. Taking full advantage of his two top-shelf WRs in Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, he posted career highs in passing yards and TDs, and even scampered for his most rushing yards since 2008. In fact, he may have had a little too much success in 2015. Based on the strength of his raw numbers, Fitzpatrick's contract demands proved much higher than what the Jets were willing to pay, and negotiations on a new deal quickly stalled, with no other teams apparently interested in meeting his price. It's easy to see why the market might not share his evaluation of his value, as Fitzpatrick's arm strength and accuracy are both average at best, and he's prone to making the kinds of occasionally awful decisions that give coaches ulcers. Ultimately, he signed a one-year deal with the Jets in July.
Despite a midseason benching, Fitzpatrick enjoyed arguably his finest season last year for the Texans, posting career highs in completion percentage (63.1), TD:INT ratio (17:8), passer rating (95.3) and YPA (7.96), with the last number nearly a full yard better than his previous high. Nonetheless, Fitzpatrick was traded to the Jets to compete with incumbent Geno Smith for the starting job. The more physically talented Smith was the favorite to win, but note that Fitzpatrick played for new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey in Buffalo from 2010-12. Moreover, when Smith suffered a broken jaw in August, the job was at least temporarily handed to Fitzpatrick. While the 32-year-old journeyman isn't elite in terms of arm strength, accuracy or size, he will have some strong weapons that give him some upside out of the gate. Brandon Marshall is the true No. 1 wide receiver the team didn't have last year, which should give both Eric Decker and 6-5 tight end Jace Amaro more room to work, while second-round pick Devin Smith adds a deep threat.
When the Texans signed Fitzpatrick to a two-year deal in March, the assumption was that he'd serve as the backup to a rookie quarterback. The Texans didn't take a quarterback (Tom Savage) until the end of the fourth round, however. Fitzpatrick will open the season as the Texans' starter and will likely start much or all of the 2014 season as a result. He's too turnover prone and struggles to average 7.0 YPA, but Fitzpatrick is an above average runner and might have QB2 potential if the Texans don't trade Andre Johnson before the season's start.
Fitzpatrick’s talent level is merely average, but the Bills are committed to him, and he functions in an offense that does a good job of playing to his strengths. He throws way too many interceptions (38 in his last 29 games), but he also posted 6,832 yards over that span, which averages out to roughly 3,769 yards over 16 games. With solid numbers in passing touchdowns (47) and rushing yardage (484) categories as well over the last two years, Fitzpatrick is a useful depth choice and match-up starter, especially with the Buffalo offense not having much turnover since last season and Chan Gailey preferring a pass-oriented attack.
Fitzpatrick’s play improved a great deal from 2009 to 2010, as he raised his quarterback rating from 69.7 to 81.8 while posting 23 passing touchdowns to 15 interceptions in 13 games. He also emerged as a surprisingly dangerous runner, taking off for 269 yards on just 40 attempts (6.7 yards per carry). Those are nice numbers, but it’s tough to expect much improvement from the journeyman going forward. While wideout Steve Johnson had a breakout 1,073-yard, 10-touchdown season, Lee Evans had his second poor season in a row, and the team’s offensive line remains questionable. In addition, Fitzpatrick’s unimpressive line and tendency to scramble make him a bit of an injury worry. He missed one game with a knee injury last year and missed a 2009 contest with an ankle injury. Still, in a Chan Gailey offense and with the starting role locked up, there's also cheap value to be had here. Update: Evans was traded in mid-August, so Fitz will be working with someone unheralded as his new No. 2 wideout, though it's worth noting he didn't seem to have great chemistry with Evans last season, anyway, not through lack of trying.
Bills coach Chan Gailey says that the race between Trent Edwards, Fitzpatrick and Brian Brohm for the starting quarterback job "is close," but even the three players don't know exactly where they stand heading into training camp. Gailey says he'd like to have a pecking order in place for training camp -- with the leader having the best shot to win the job while getting the most snaps, and then working down from there. Each player will have a chance to still move up and down during the preseason, but we'll have a better idea when the July training camp starts as to who has the best angle on the starting job. At this moment, only Gailey has an idea how he sees things playing out. Fitzpatrick is a smart quarterback (Harvard) who seems a lot better as a backup than in a starting role. Our gut feeling is he won't win the job, and even if we're wrong, there's not much fantasy value in an offense with only one proven receiver and a questionable offensive line.
Fitzpatrick signed with the Bills in February after seeing the most extensive action of his career filling in for an injured Carson Palmer last season, making 12 starts. He was mediocre as a starter, but won't need to fill that role in Buffalo. He'll back up starter Trent Edwards, and should be able to draw on his experiences from playing behind Marc Bulger and Palmer to help the young quarterback develop. He's a smart guy with a strong grasp of the position, so we don't see him having any difficulty in learning a new offense, but the only way he's seeing the field with any regularity in 2009 is with an injury to Edwards.
All signs point toward Fitzpatrick being the Bengals' top insurance plan if Carson Palmer gets hurt at any point in 2008. While he's probably not worth drafting in all but the deepest of leagues, the Harvard-graduate is a smart quarterback who would have a chance to post very respectable statistics with the number of offensive weapons in Cincinnati if something were to happen to Palmer.
Will once again compete for the #3 QB job with veteran Brock Berlin.
The unheralded rookie out of Harvard had a very eventful 2005 which included action in four games and three starts. He comes into 2006 having once again won the No. 3 QB job behind starter Marc Bulger and back-up Gus Ferotte. Of course that only means Fitzpatrick will be carrying around clipboards every Sunday instead of a remote control.