In order to adequately gauge the impact of the Ryan Fitzpatrick deal, it’s important to look at the context of the situation. That means analyzing the projected cost of other alternatives.
The Washington Football Team signed Fitzpatrick to a $10 million contract that could be worth $12 million with incentives. On the surface, that’s a decent chunk of money, but for a league-average quarterback with more playmaking propensity, it’s affordable enough.
Also consider that Fitzpatrick precludes the Washington Football Team from trading valuable draft assets for another uninspiring starter like Sam Darnold or Teddy Bridgewater. And it also prevents Washington from potentially entering QB purgatory with Mitchell Trubisky and Marcus Mariota.
Fitzpatrick is a stabilizing agent, and with him, the Washington Football Team has flexibility moving forward. They could trade up in the draft and get a young QB for Fitzpatrick to mentor. They could trade down, stack the roster with talent, and let Fitzpatrick ride out 2021.
And they don’t have to simply hand Fitzpatrick the starting job, either. They can rectify the mistake they made last offseason with Dwayne Haskins, and hold a true camp competition between Fitzpatrick, Taylor Heinicke, and Kyle Allen. Fitzpatrick gives you that opportunity. He provides a baseline for an unstable QB room, and he also provides lots of flexibility.
In a sense, it is disappointing that the Washington Football Team isn’t going all-in to solve their QB situation. More likely than not, it seems as though 2021 will be a bridge year, and that one year could mean a great deal for looming contract scenarios down the road. It’s another year of the defense’s prime potentially down the drain.
There’s also a scenario where Fitzpatrick does just enough to get them into the 7-9 or 8-8 range for a second straight year. In that scenario, they’d have spent meaningless money on Fitzpatrick, just to put themselves out of QB position in the draft again. At some point, this team needs a young, high-upside franchise quarterback. Fitzpatrick isn’t directly conducive to that end goal.
Nevertheless, the Washington Football Team didn’t have a lot of realistic options at QB this offseason. Sometimes teams regret doing less than they could have. But sometimes they regret doing too much. And if Washington doesn’t feel comfortable going to go all-in, signing Fitzpatrick to stabilize things until 2022 is a decent move.
Not a great move. Not the move I would have taken. But a decent move.