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Miami Dolphins

Quarterback Search Snapshot

Travis Wingfield

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Familiar, unwelcomed territory is upon us once more. A recent influx of talented youngsters leaves a small faction of the NFL devoid of viable long-term answers at the game’s most important position. Living among that faction, the QB-needy faction, are the Miami Dolphins.

Not that this is uncharted territory for an organization starving for a savior for the better part of two decades. Starving for something beyond a stabilizing force. If everything is cyclical, after 17 years of the curly-haired kid from Pittsburgh, the Dolphins are due to end the suffering – in fact, they’re overdue.

The most popular test trivia of a modern-day ‘Phins fan is also the most painful bar banter topic – list all the quarterbacks to start a game in the post-Marino era.

 

Quarterback Years with Miami (Games Started)
Jay Fiedler 2000-2003 (59 + 3 playoff starts)
Damon Huard* 2000 (1)
Ray Lucas 2001-2002 (6)
Brian Griese 2003 (5)
A.J. Feeley 2004 (8)
Sage Rosenfels 2002-2005 (2)
Gus Frerotte 2005 (15)
Daunte Culpepper 2006 (4)
Joey Harrington 2006 (11
Cleo Lemon 2006-2007 (8)
Trent Green 2007 (5)
John Beck 2007-2008 (4)
Chad Pennington+ 2008-2009 (19 + 1 playoff start)
Chad Henne 2008-2011 (31)
Tyler Thigpen 2010 (1)
Matt Moore 2011-2017 (30 + 1 playoff start)
Ryan Tannehill 2012-2018 (87)
Jay Cutler 2017 (14)
Brock Osweiler 2018 (5)

*Huard was with the team for the end of the Marino era in 1998 and 1999
+Runner-up in 2008 NFL MVP voting

Tumultuous, to say the least. The improvement from 2012 to the present, just in stability alone, is a massive upgrade to the eight previous years. Going from annual change, to a pair of quarterbacks whose tenures both outlasted any of the prior aspirants. Tannehill and Moore, providing the stability, were solid, yet unspectacular.

Fiedler was a limited gamer capable of doing enough to support a dominant defense en route to some early playoff exits.

Chad Pennington spun magic for one-year in gimmick offense sans Tom Brady competing for among his AFC East foes (missed 15 games with a torn ACL).

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

And then Ryan Tannehill teased Dolphins fans for seven years.

Three decent QB eras that will only be remembered those that done the aqua and orange on a regular basis.

So, now, Miami embarks on the search once more. It’s been 19 years, 19 men have tried, and Miami’s QB cupboard is as barren as ever.

The Dolphins figure to hire a coach in the coming days (or weeks) – that will certainly have impact on the impending assemblage of side arms.

Days of old, in the NFL, called upon one of two options to secure this ever-important role with little additional resources allocated to the position. Whether it was a highly-priced free agent, or a bright and shiny rookie, clearly defining the face of the franchise was commonplace.

And it still is – to a degree.

But the en vogue rebuilding process of a quarterback room, the most important room at any of the NFL 32 facilities across America, has become as much about quantity as it is quality.

Merely 9 months ago the Browns made Baker Mayfield the first overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. This selection was made a month after acquiring then Bills Quarterback, Tyrod Taylor, for a 3rd round draft pick. Taylor brought his $16 million salary with him to pair with Mayfield’s $22.3 million earned in cash in 2018 – not exactly frugality at its finest.

The Cardinals inked Sam Bradford for $20 million in 2018. Arizona made a jump in the draft, from the 12th pick to the 10th spot, to select UCLA Quarterback Josh Rosen.

In 2017 the Bears traded up one spot to select UNC Quarterback Mitch Trubisky with the second pick in the draft. Trubisky’s $15 million in cash earned that season was narrowly outdone by free agent Mike Glennon – the former Buccaneer signed for $16 million.

The Eagles executed a similar approach, this time going for the trifecta, in 2016 with Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel and Carson Wentz.

Seattle pioneered the practice in 2012 with a marquee contract for free agent Matt Flynn. Flynn would never start a game when it was quickly realized that 3rd round rookie Russell Wilson was destined for stardom.

The Dolphins are next in line to go bulk shopping – the Quarterback’s section of Costo. And it might not be confined to the 2019 off-season. Even as four quarterbacks under the age of 25 started their first playoff game over the weekend (or will make that playoff debut next week), another crop is on the horizon.

From five-star recruits, to potential big-money free-agents, Miami has a three-year window to aggressively attack the position and put an end to the growing list of post-Marino failures.

Before we explore menu, let’s first take a look at how each present starting quarterback was acquired by his respective team.

 

Tom Brady 6th round, 1999
Ryan Tannehill 8th overall, 2012
Sam Darnold 3rd overall, 2018 (NYJ traded up from 6)
Josh Allen 7th overall, 2018 (BUF traded up from12)

 

Ben Roethlisberger 11th overall, 2004
Baker Mayfield 1st overall, 2018
Lamar Jackson 32nd overall, 2018 (BAL traded up from 52)
Andy Dalton 2nd round, 2011

 

Andrew Luck 1st overall, 2012
Deshaun Watson 12th overall, 2017 (HOU traded up from 25)
Marcus Mariota 2nd overall, 2015
Blake Bortles 3rd overall, 2014

 

Patrick Mahomes 10th overall, 2017 (KC traded up from 27)
Phillip Rivers 4th overall, 2004 (traded from NYG to SD)
Derek Carr 2nd round, 2014
Case Keenum FA signing – 2 years, $36 M, $25 M gtd.

 

Carson Wentz 2nd overall, 2016 (PHI traded up from 13; 8)
Dak Prescott 4th round, 2016
Eli Manning 1st overall, 2004 (traded from SD to NYG)
Alex Smith Via Trade (Sent CB and 3rd rounder to KC)

 

Aaron Rodgers 24th overall, 2004
Matthew Stafford 1st overall, 2009
Kirk Cousins FA signing – 3 years, $84 M, fully gtd.
Mitch Trubisky 2nd overall, 2017 (CHI traded up from 3)

 

Drew Brees FA signing – 6 years, $60 M, $24 M gtd.
Matt Ryan 3rd overall, 2008
Cam Newton 1st overall, 2011
Jameis Winston 1st overall, 2015

 

Russell Wilson 3rd round, 2012
Jared Goff 1stoverall, 2016 (LAR traded up from 16)
Jimmy Garappolo Via Trade (Sent 2nd round pick to NE)
Josh Rosen 10th overall, 2018 (ARI traded up from 12)

 

That’s 27 of the 32 starting quarterbacks acquired via the draft and still with the original team -84%. Nine of those 32 were not drafted by the team that organically held that draft position. More than a quarter of the starter signal-callers were acquired via a draft day trade-up.

If the Dolphins want to find that quarterback prospect in April’s draft, they might have to follow suit.

 

2019

Notable Free Agents: Teddy Bridgewater, Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Fitzpatrick
Day 1 or 2 QB prospects: Kyler Murray, Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock, Daniel Jones, Will Grier, Brett Rypien

Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

This list of potentially available players has been universally criticized. The top two names on the draftable list are still undeclared and, frankly, are the only two that could be considered long-term answers.

The free agent crop offers up that trio of underwhelming players with recent, relevant starting experience. Bridgewater is the big mystery of the three. His last meaningful snaps (aside from a spot start in a mop-up game week 17) came in the 2015 playoffs.

Any free agent signing would provide a bridge to the imminent rookie selection.

2020

Notable Free Agents: Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Phillip Rivers, Tom Brady, Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Nick Foles,
Day 1 or 2 QB prospects: Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Jake Fromm, Jacob Eason

A little more attractive, isn’t it? Of course, several of those names are a sure-fire bet to retire or re-sign with their present teams. But that list of potential draft prospects is equally salivating for quarterback-starved franchises.

The one big name from the free agent list that has been rumored to potentially be on the move is Russell Wilson. That rumor is entirely unsubstantiated, however, and the Seahawks operate at too high of a level to do anything near the level of stupidity required to move on from an elite quarterback.

Tagovailoa is going be the most hyped prospect since Andrew Luck in 2012 – maybe even before. Herbert has plenty of growing to do as he returns to Eugene for his senior season and Jake Fromm has the make-up that will impress NFL decision makers.

Jacob Eason sat out 2018 after transferring from Georgia to Washington – he can spin it.

2021

Notable Free Agents: Kirk Cousins, Cam Newton, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz
Day 1 or 2 QB prospects: Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields

The pair of five stars in the draft column are worth a three year wait – especially Lawrence. The Clemson Freshman, set to play for a national title tonight, looks like he came straight from a quarterback production machine that spits out the perfect product.

Fields hasn’t started a game at the college level and his upside might be clouded by his decision to transfer and sit out the 2019 season.

Of course, all of this could change as quickly as a year – or even sooner. Player’s market value is constantly evolving and most years fail to prove impervious to that fluctuation. Entering the 2018 college season, for example, Michigan State Junior Brian Lewerke was believed to have QB1 potential. After a miserable season, Lewerke isn’t even considered a professional prospect.

The 2018 class staved off major change from early projections. Darnold, Rosen, Allen and Jackson each played under the spotlight throughout their final seasons as amateurs in 2017. Baker Mayfield, as he is wont to do, stormed the castle and stole the show rocketing up the draft board to be the first QB selected.

A couple of prospects have that same feel (Tagovailoa in 2019 and Lawrence in 2020). The accompanying names will surely jockey to round out those future first round draft slots.

As long as Miami can stay true to two principles, the long-awaited arrival of the “Next Dan Marino” should be obtainable in the coming years:

1.) Attack the position aggressively, in multiple facets. The draft, free-agency, trade, this is not a position to practice frugality with. Miami needs to sink resources into the quarterback until they find one good enough to permit the team from doing otherwise.

2.) Continue the aggressive nature once the draft target has been identified. If “THE” guy is out there, and the Dolphins are sure of it, sitting idly by would not be in the best interest of the franchise. The Chiefs, the Texans, the Eagles, the Rams – each pushed their chips to the center of the table and now each hold pocket aces at the game’s most crucial position.

The rebuilding process begins here. Get this right, and the entire fan base collectively, deservedly, steps off the wheel of mediocrity.

@WingfieldNFL

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. JOSE BELLON

    January 9, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    Excellent Column agree 100%

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins Sign Chris Reed

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Looks like the Miami Dolphins have begun replacing the plethora of offensive linemen they either released or let walk this past offseason.

According to the Dolphins official social media account, the team signed offensive guard Chris Reed.

Details of the contract are currently unknown, but with the losses of Ja’Wuan James, Ted Larsen, Josh Sitton and possibly even players like Jake Brendel and Travis Swanson, the Dolphins need bodies to fill out their roster.

After signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent out of the 2015 NFL draft, Reed was placed on the team’s practice squad and wasn’t activated until September, 2016. Over the past three seasons, Reed has been active for 25 games and started 8 of them.

You can’t expect too much from this signing, as Reed is simply expected to compete for depth on the offensive line and it’s possible he doesn’t even make the team out of training camp. Then again, Ted Larsen was originally supposed to be offensive line depth and he ended up playing 1,272 snaps over the course of his two-year Dolphins career.

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Miami Dolphins

Rebuilding Previous Rebuilds

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Now that we have accepted the notion that the Miami Dolphins are going to start rebuilding their franchise in 2019 (and as a result, a lot of losing will incur), we have moved on to the optimistic hope that this team is going to build their foundation “right”.

Hope is about the only thing that will temper the frustration that comes with going 6-10 with freshly signed Ryan Fitzpatrick as our starting quarterback, so over the next calendar year, you’re going to hear how most decisions are geared towards 2020.

Sure, Fitzpatrick will dazzle us with a couple 400-yard passing games and a few offensive performances that trick us into believing that we don’t need to desperately grab a franchise quarterback, but don’t let those extremely inconsistent anomalies fool you. Miami most definitely needs a franchise quarterback – one that leaves us with minimal doubts at the top of the draft.

Are they going to trade up for one in 2019? Or are they going to, um, conveniently lose in 2019 and attempt to save their assets for 2020, where there’s a chance that four starting-caliber quarterbacks come out of college – all of whom are possibly better than the top-2 quarterbacks in this class: Dwayne Haskins and Kyler Murray?

As Travis echoed on Sunday, the Miami Dolphins are building a treasure trove of draft picks that will allow themselves to navigate the murkiest of trade waters in either 2019 or 2020. With the trade of Ryan Tannehill to the Tennessee Titans netting Miami an extra 4th-round draft pick – along with the assumption that losing Ja’Wuan James to the Denver Broncos will return an extra 3rd-round pick as a compensatory selection – Miami will have the ability to tack on whichever mid-round picks are required to seal the deal for a top-3 draft pick.

But with all of these assets in mind, can we confidently assume that the Dolphins are just one year away from being a relevant franchise that can sustain success? No, not one bit.

Since Chris Grier took over as the Director of College Scouting in 2007, Miami has had 5 drafts in which they have had at least 9 draft picks to work with. Although it’s obvious that not every draft pick is going to pan out, the assumption is that a team should be able to identify enough cheap labor to fill their roster. You don’t need superstars in every round, though it would be nice if the Dolphins drafted even one of them.

Before you get ready to soak in the success of 2020, I’m going to remind you of the somber past we have together. Hopefully, Grier doesn’t allow history to repeat itself:

2007

Chris Grier’s first year on the job yielded Miami with multiple draft steals, but came with an ample amount of draft busts as well.

Whether the selection was general manager Randy Mueller‘s, head coach Cam Cameron‘s, Grier’s, or a combination of the three, the Miami Dolphins shocked everyone by selecting Ted Ginn Jr with the 9th-overall pick in the draft.

Choosing Ted Ginn Jr over Brady Quinn proved to be the correct choice, but was Ginn really the player you wanted to commit a top-10 pick to? Especially when he was coming off of an injury and was seen more as a dynamic kick returner than an elite, #1 receiver?

Here are a few players taken shortly after Ginn was picked #9: Patrick Willis (11), Marshawn Lynch (12) and Darrelle Revis (14). I was going to include Lawrence Timmons (15th-overall), but I don’t think Miami fans are going to think too fondly of that linebacker (though let’s be honest, he was still a better pick than Ginn).

But the Miami Dolphins had 10 draft picks in 2007, and should have been able to build a team with more than just a failed 1st-round pick, right? Alas, this is what they graced us with that year:

Paul Soliai in the 4th-round and Brandon Fields in the 7th-round ended up being phenomenal choices for the Dolphins, as both players combined to play 227 games with Miami. Even Samson Satele was a good selection in the 2nd-round; Miami just doesn’t understand their own talent and allowed Satele to be a good starting center for two other teams instead of their own.

The rest of that draft class? Combined to be active for 32 games with the Dolphins. All of which were off the team by the start of the 2008 season.

2008

Coming off of a 1-15 season that felt less like a rebuild and more like a purgatory, the Dolphins were now poised to genuinely begin their ascension with the 1st-overall selection in the draft.

The thing is, Miami’s biggest mistake wasn’t selecting Jake Long with the #1 overall pick, but bringing an archaic Bill Parcells on board to build a team for the future.

Parcells figured there was no sense having a franchise quarterback if there was no one to protect him (the opposite logic of what the Dolphins did with Ryan Tannehill throughout his career), and selected Jake Long to protect whoever’s blindside.

You might be able to excuse Parcells for selecting a potential hall of fame left tackle (for the first four years of their career) over Matt Ryan, since Miami did have 8 more draft picks that year. Instead, this is how the draft shook out:

Kendall Langford was a solid player on the Dolphins defensive line throughout his rookie contract, but other than Jake Long he was the only player to plug a hole on the roster. You can say Chad Henne played prominently for the Dolphins, but we all know he was a detriment more than a solution, and even forced Miami to pick yet another quarterback in the 2nd-round the following draft.

Phillip Merling gave us that exciting interception against Brett Favre and the New York Jets the year Chad Pennington led the team to the playoffs, but other than that, he was basically an extra 1st-round pick that ended up being a complete bust.

After two years and 19 draft picks, the Dolphins should have set themselves up to be a young team worth reckoning with. Looking back, there were really only 5 players that filled a capable roster spot: Satele, Soliai, Fields, Long and Langford. For reference, NFL rosters held 52 players…

2009

After two failed drafts and nearly 19 wasted draft picks, the Miami Dolphins actually got a draft right. This comes with the caveat that it’s the third-consecutive year in which the team is selecting a quarterback in the 2nd-round, so it tells you just how lost the Dolphins really are.

Pat White was a fascinating college athlete to watch, but he had no business being a quarterback in the NFL. The football community was stunned to see White selected so high, but the Dolphins envisioned a quarterback that could complete their wildcat offense and keep opposing defenses confused at all times.

The only confusion White caused was on Miami’s offense, because the playbook was extremely small for the limited quarterback, and the offense was stale at best.

Miami’s best selections came from Vontae Davis and Sean Smith. The team also envisioned having a pair of young, cheap, shutdown corners to give Tom Brady, Brett Favre and whoever the Buffalo Bills had hell. And they were really onto something for a little bit, but Joe Philbin‘s inability to handle egos mixed with some immaturity on the player’s side “forced” the Dolphins to trade Davis and allow Smith to leave in free agency.

At the time, this was a very good draft, but looking back at it, it’s just some more disappointment:

Brian Hartline received a contract extension with the team and probably outperformed all of our expectations. Maybe it speaks to the lack of playmakers the Dolphins have had over their history, but Hartline has the 7th most receiving yards and 9th most receptions in Dolphins history. We can knock the extension as a separate topic, but selecting Hartline in the 4th-round was a very good draft pick.

Chris Clemons ended up playing 80 games with the Dolphins and served as a valuable depth player for 5 seasons.

This can be deemed a good draft for the Dolphins, but the problem is, we’re excited the team was able to find 3 starters. While every team would love to say they found 3 starters in each draft, the Dolphins didn’t have much of a roster around those guys, which meant the team hadn’t rebuilt much of anything up to this point.

A budding franchise looking to sustain success is going to need more than a good #3 receiver to escape mediocrity.

2012

2012 was another very good draft for the Dolphins that saw virtually no sustained success going forward. This is the point where you have to wonder if the Miami Dolphins legitimately try to win or if they’re fine creating media headlines and bringing in ad revenue.

Ryan Tannehill was the first 1st-round quarterback the Dolphins selected since Dan Marino back in 1983. Between all of the excitement and optimism, fans were sold on the fact that Tannehill was going to turn the team around (after he firmly learned the quarterback position). His old coach at Texas A&M, Mike Sherman, was set to be his offensive coordinator, so you know Miami was really building this thing right because, you know, “chemistry”.

7 seasons later, and there are no surviving members of the 2012 draft class. In fact, only one of them made it past year 4 (Tannehill) – which also happens to be the same number of players eventually arrested from this draft class (Jonathan Martin).

How can a team sustain success when the team doesn’t sustain any of their successful players?

Olivier Vernon and Lamar Miller proved to be great risks that Jeff Ireland took. Coming right out of the Dolphins backyard from the University of Miami, Vernon and Miller were underclassmen that Ireland saw potential in. And he was right.

Both outperformed their draft status and earned themselves wealthy contracts in free agency. This goes back to the argument that the Dolphins are incompetent when it comes to signing their own draft picks, so overall, this draft doesn’t seem like much, but this draft could have been much more than a free agent payday for 3 of their selections.

Rishard Matthews was one of the best 7th-round picks in Dolphins history, but Philbin’s deadpan personality placed Matthews on the bench for most of his rookie contract rather than the starting lineup ahead of players like B.J. Cunningham and Legedu Naanee.

As of 2019, the Dolphins are still looking for a player at every position from the list of 2012 draft picks (QB, RT, DE, TE, LB, WR and DT). You can say Miami doesn’t need a running back, but that’s also the easiest position to find and it’s not even like the team currently has a solidified running back room anyway.

2013

Identifying a “can’t-miss” athlete in an inactive market, Jeff Ireland made one of the best draft-day trades of the century and traded the team’s 1st-round pick (12th-overall) and 2nd-round pick (42nd-overall) to move up to #3 overall. That kind of trade would be unheard of today, where those top picks are commodities that you have to pry away with current and future draft capital.

So what did the Dolphins do with their robbery? Select a stellar athlete with a history of demons that rivals that of Josh Gordon.

Dion Jordan was built to be a football player, but he never actually wanted to be a football player. He wanted to escape reality and realized this was a profession he was good at. Fortunately for Jordan, but unfortunately for the Dolphins, Jordan took 5 years to mature past all of those inner turmoils and emerge as a defensive threat.

But like the theme of this article, his success doesn’t benefit the Miami Dolphins one bit.

Dion Jordan wasn’t the only player to fail Miami’s expectations yet perform better elsewhere.

2nd-round pick Jamar Taylor was always hampered by injuries and was shipped to the Cleveland Browns for a 27 slot draft boost in the 7th-round (a farcry from #54 overall). Dion Sims was a solid backup and blocking tight end before cashing in with the Chicago Bears. Mike Gillislee was a decent kick returner who has seen a good amount of success as a running back with the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots. Even Caleb Sturgis was viewed as a “bust” and has since played 36 games for other teams.

You could argue that Don Jones was Miami’s best draft pick behind Dion Sims that year, and that’s only because he was a very good gunner on special teams.

Truth is, the Dolphins have had plenty of opportunities to rebuild and yet, years later, here we are, still trying to rebuild. So now that Chris Grier has ultimate control, will this be the rebuild the Dolphins finally turn it around? 6th time’s a charm, right?

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Miami Dolphins

Free Agent Analysis: Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick

Travis Wingfield

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Buckle up, Phins Fans – the Fitzmagic Roller Coaster is coming to your town

Ryan Fitzpatrick is on his eight NFL team following a circuitous route that spans 14 seasons as a professional football player. The journeyman stopgap heads to America’s retirement home on a two-year contract that starts at $11 million and could escalate to $20 million if unspecified incentives are met.

Though details of the contract’s structure are not yet available, it’s a near certainty that the bulk of the money will be paid out in year-one. With the Dolphins eating a chunk of dead cap, and pushing assets down the road, this move not only helps Miami get closer to the salary floor, it secures a sturdy backup quarterback for the 2020 season.

Whether it’s Kyler Murray, Dwayne Haskins, Tua Tagovailoa, Jake Fromm or any other quarterback prospect, Fitzpatrick has been heralded for his calm demeanor and approach to providing this very important element to his past teams.

Barring a trade-up for one of the top two prospects in this draft Fitzpatrick will be under-center when the Dolphins open the season on the second Sunday in September. Only one September ago, Fitzpatrick was on an unprecedented roll for a quarterback of his caliber – of any caliber, really.

After the three-game stretch of consecutive 400 yard outputs, Fitzpatrick throttled into a nosedive throwing for less than 250 yards in four of his next five starts. Cumulatively, his passer rating on the season was 100.4, but he failed to eclipse the 90.0 mark in all but one of his final six starts.

The strengths and weaknesses of Fitzpatrick’s game are abundantly clear. Where the flashes with Ryan Tannehill provided false hope, Fitzpatrick is an open book – it only takes a couple of games of all-22 to figure out exactly who he is.

First, the strengths. I’ve talked at length about the importance of a backup quarterback providing the locker room and huddle with a sense of comradery. Whether it’s this season or next, Fitzpatrick will eventually be relegated to the number-two QB. The Ewing Theory suggests that the rest of the roster can elevate its game when the backup enters the lineup, but that typically only applies when said backup is likable.

That clip also showcases the gamer-mentality of Fitzpatrick. With reckless abandon, he’ll take a hit for his team in a way you’d never want your franchise quarterback to play.

As for Fitzpatrick the starter, the strength of his game is also his biggest weakness. He trusts his eyes as much as any quarterback going right now and will let ‘er rip without hesitation. There’s a hint of Matt Moore in his game where he evaluates pre-snap and makes quick decisions based on the leverage of the defense.

The first touchdown of the season for Tampa Bay provides a terrific example of Fitzpatrick’s ability to move the defense with his eyes and hips. The clip also showcases his strength as a play-action passer when given a comfortable pocket.

There’s a reason he’s been on eight teams in 14 years, however. That anticipation, coupled with sloppy mechanics, gets him into a lot of hot water. If the defense is at all nuanced, and capable of disguising coverage, he’s going to turn the ball over a heck of a lot.

Randomly, the ball will sail as he is prone to rushing his setup and spraying bullets all over the field. Pressure in his face only amplifies this shortcoming.

All things told, this was the best veteran option available both in terms of playing time and veteran mentor to the inevitable draft pick coming in a year or two. There will be equal parts excitement and sheer frustration with Fitzpatrick playing in Miami.

As far as the Tank for Tua conversation, this signing likely solidifies that Miami will not be the worst team in football. I’ve argued that they would never reach those valleys to begin, even with a rookie or Luke Falk under-center. I believe too strongly in Brian Flores and the staff he has assembled for this team to lose a number of games in the teens. Fitzpatrick at least gets Miami out of the massive hole of unworthy NFL quarterback territory.

Ideally, the Dolphins find their quarterback straight away and never have to start Fitzpatrick. The more likely outcome is that he starts the season and puts the Dolphins in a tough spot regarding the playing time incentives in his contract.

This signing is great from a financial standpoint right now, but if the Harvard product (had to get it in) starts hitting those contract escalators, that would not be ideal.

@WingfieldNFL

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