Ryan Fitzpatrick will become the Miami Dolphins’ caretaker quarterback.
The well-traveled veteran agreed to terms Sunday on an $11 million, two-year contract as a replacement to Ryan Tannehill and a placeholder until the Dolphins can draft their franchise quarterback. That could happen next month, but is more likely in 2020.
The 36-year-old Fitzpatrick has a 50-75-1 record as a starter for seven NFL teams. He started seven games for Tampa Bay last year and had a passer rating of 100.4, which ranked ninth in the league.
The Dolphins traded Tannehill on Friday to the Tennessee Titans in a deal that also involved draft picks. Tannehill became Miami’s starting quarterback as a rookie in 2012 and never took a snap in the postseason.
After Miami went 7-9 last year, owner Stephen Ross fired coach Adam Gase, ordered a youth movement and acknowledged it may take several seasons to build a winner.
Fitzpatrick could become Miami’s 20th starting quarterback since Dan Marino retired following 1999 season. The Dolphins and new coach Brian Flores have the 13th choice in the April draft, and might devote their first-round pick to a QB for only the second time since taking Marino in 1984.
Fitzpatrick has thrown for 190 touchdowns and 29,357 yards, but has been inconsistent and turnover-prone. He entered the league in 2005, and his longest stay with any team was with the Buffalo Bills in 2009-12.
He had four 400-yard passing games last year for the Buccaneers but yielded the starting job to Jameis Winston in November.
Fitzpatrick joins two other quarterbacks on the Miami roster, Luke Falk and Jake Rudock. Neither has started in the NFL.
With moves made since the hiring of Flores, the Dolphins are given a 200-1 chance to win next season’s Super Bowl, worst in the NFL. A poor record would mean a high first-round draft pick in 2020, and they’re well-positioned to splurge in free agency a year from now.
They’re still in the market this offseason for help on the offensive and defensive lines and at cornerback.