In a guest post on ESPN Insider, ProFootballFocus named one free agent every NFL team “must” sign this offseason.
Their entry for the Eagles was somewhat surprising. They picked Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Yeah, the Eagles will have about $20 million in cap room and have needs at several positions, but PFF lists a 36-year-old journeyman quarterback as the top guy, which actually isn’t as crazy as it sounds.
Here’s what PFF said:
Fitzpatrick started the 2018 season in a magical way, earning 96-plus overall grades in each of the first two weeks. His gunslinger mentality paid off early, but his magic fizzled later in the season. However, he still did enough to earn an overall grade of 84.4, which ranked 10th out of 39 qualifying quarterbacks last season. When kept clean, Fitzpatrick completed 121 of 172 attempts for 1,824 yards, nine touchdowns, five interceptions and a passer rating of 110.2, ranking 10th in the NFL. Fitzpatrick is 36 and would merely be an insurance policy in case Carson Wentz gets injured again.
If the Eagles really are in the market for a veteran backup quarterback, they could do a lot worse than Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The Eagles have been very high on Nate Sudfeld with their words and actions over the last couple years, but perhaps they’re not ready to simply make him Carson Wentz’s backup. Doug Pederson said last week that he wanted Sudfeld to compete for the backup job. If they sign a guy like Fitzpatrick, he's going to be the backup. Perhaps they want someone with a little more experience to back up a quarterback who hasn’t been able to finish both of the last two seasons.
Sure, Fitz is 36 now, but had a pretty good season in 2018 and got off to a tremendous start in Tampa Bay. He showed he can be a really good quarterback for at least a small window, so he’d be a good option if Wentz were to ever go down. After a white-hot start, Fitz cooled down last season. He played in eight games (seven starts) and threw 17 touchdowns and 12 INTs. But in his first two games, Fitzpatrick was incredible. He threw for over 400 yards in each start to go along with eight touchdowns and one INT. That included his great performance against the Eagles in Week 2.
One of the keys here is money. In the last two seasons, Fitzpatrick has been affordable. He made $3 million in 2017 and then made $3.3 million in 2018. After carrying Foles’ $13 million cap hit last season, a one-year deal for Fitzpatrick could be downright palatable.
There are other options too. Guys like Tyrod Taylor and Teddy Bridgewater are also available as free agents. But it’s hard to think they’d find a better locker room fit than Fitzpatrick.
Fitz is a smart and affable guy — did you know he went to Harvard!? — who would immediately click with the Eagles’ locker room. I covered Fitzpatrick for a season back in 2014 and his teammates loved him. He’d be a good fit in that QB room with Wentz and Sudfeld.
The Eagles have more pressing needs than backup quarterback, but if that’s the route they want to go, Fitzpatrick wouldn’t be a bad option for a year or two.
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