Heading into his 15th season, Ryan Fitzpatrick is wearing a new NFL uniform. He’ll be clad in aqua, orange, and white, and the 36-year-old hopes to take the field at the onset of this fall. While that has yet to be decided, he is battling with the much younger Josh Rosen for the Dolphin’s starting quarterback position.
Incredibly, if Fitzpatrick suits up as the starter for the Dolphins this year, he will have started a game for 25% of NFL teams! Let’s take a look back at his wild journey through the NFL.
Ryan Fitzpatrick’s start with the St. Louis Rams
Ryan Fitzpatrick was drafted in the seventh round of the 2005 NFL Draft. A graduate of Harvard University with a degree in economics, he had earned 1,580 out of 1,600 on his SATs. During the NFL pre-draft, he scored 48 on the Wonderlic test. He placed #5 in the Sporting News’ 2010 list of the smartest athletes. In-between his studies, Fitzpatrick had a solid college football career and was named Ivy League Player of the Year in 2004.
Having to replace Rams’ starter, Jamie Martin, who injured his knee in a game against Houston, as a rookie, Fitzpatrick went on to start the next three games for the Rams, making him the first former Harvard quarterback to start in an NFL game.
On to Cincinnati, then Buffalo
In September 2007, Ryan Fitzpatrick was traded to the Bengals, with nothing to boast of that year. But, in 2008 he signed a one-year tender offered by the team. He made his first start for them the end of September, with Carson Palmer out with an elbow injury.
The next spring, Fitzpatrick signed a three-year deal with the Bills. His first appearance for Buffalo came in October when starter, Trent Edwards, suffered an injury.
Fitzpatrick led the Bills to a win over the Jets in overtime. He started the next two games before being named the official starter for the rest of the season. He threw 1,422 passing yards with nine touchdowns, and ten interceptions for the season.
2010 was his breakout season with at least one touchdown in 13 consecutive games. The following season he was named September’s AFC Offensive Player of the Month. For those keeping track at home, we’re up to three teams.
Tennessee and Houston
In October 2011, Ryan Fitzpatrick signed a six-year contract extension with the Bills worth $59 mil, plus a $10 mil signing bonus. Nice paycheck, but not a particularly good end to the 2011 season. Turned out he had his own injury, having suffered broken ribs. In 2012, Fitzpatrick threw 3,400 yards, earned 24 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions. Sadly, He was released in March 2013.
Within one week, the journeyman signed with the Titans. A few weeks into the season, Titan starter Jake Locker went out with injury. Fitzpatrick was called in. He started in nine games, finishing with a 3-6 record.
Released in March 2014, Fitzpatrick quickly found a new home, signing a new two-year contract with Houston. Originally named starting quarterback by the team’s new head coach, Bill O’Brien, he lost his spot by November.
Later that month, starter Ryan Mallett tore his pectoral muscle. Fitzpatrick was renamed starter. In a 45–21 win against his former team, the Titans, he threw 358 yards, with six touchdowns, and no interceptions, a Houston franchise-record. Tragically, two weeks later, Fitzpatrick suffered his own injury, fracturing his left tibia.
New York, New York
The following year, Ryan Fitzpatrick found himself traded to the Jets. Oddly enough, the Jets’ starter received a broken jaw from a locker room scuffle. Thus leaving Fitzpatrick to start the first game of the season and beyond.
Mid-season he tore ligaments in his thumb requiring surgery, but he didn’t let it slow him down, returning to start the next game. Turned out, this was his best pro year to date with 31 passing touchdowns 3,905 passing yards, and 15 intercepts.
The following year, he signed another one-year contract with the Jets, but by week 6 was benched with former team starter Geno Smith taking over the duties. He did see some starts off and on with Smith going out with an injury for the rest of the season, but there was nothing notable to write home about.
After his stint with the Jets, Ryan Fitzpatrick had started for six different NFL teams, but his journey was far from over.
Ryan Fitzpatrick in Florida
In 2017, Ryan Fitzpatrick was offered a one-year contract with the Buccaneers. Following true to form, Fitzpatrick made his first start for Tampa Bay in November, after starter Jameis Winston left the previous game with a shoulder injury. Fitzpatrick received a one-year extension to his contract taking him through 2018 at which time he became a free agent.
This year, he signed a two-year contract with Miami.
While he hasn’t always been named the starter yet, he has somehow managed to be a starter sometime during his tenure with each team he was played. Rick Stroud, the Bucs reporter for the Tampa Bay Times, claims Fitzpatrick carries around a curse. “Wherever Fitzpatrick shows up, the starting quarterback will go down,” he wrote.
Having started for all seven NFL teams he has played with, he is now battling for that Dolphin’s starter spot for the upcoming season. If not chosen, Rosen better watch his step. There could be an injury in his future.
If the bearded journeyman starts even one game with Miami this year, he will have started a game for each of the eight teams he has played. That’s 25 percent of the NFL!