Bucs opt for experience behind Winston, sign Fitzpatrick
No longer content to enter training camp without an experienced backup for Jameis Winston, the Bucs have signed vagabond veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The 34-year-old Fitzpatrick, who was a starter the past two seasons for the Jets, has played for six NFL teams in his career.
All off-season, the Bucs had said they were okay with entering 2017 with two relatively inexperienced quarterbacks behind Winston after Mike Glennon signed as a free agent with the Chicago Bears.
But neither Ryan Griffin, who has been with the Bucs as the No. 3 quarterback the last two seasons, nor Sean Renfree, a free agent who attempted seven passes in two years with the Falcons, have any real game experience. In fact, Griffin has never attempted a regular season pass.
“Mike (Glennon) was the ultimate professional,’’ said Bucs quarterbacks coach Mike Bajakian Thursday. “I wasn’t surprised at all people came after him and Chicago got him. He was a great support to Jameis. What we lose is that guy that was in Jameis ear.
“Ryan (Griffin), having been here for two years, has a comfort level in the offense and has progressed in knowledge and skill. We brought in Sean Renfree and that’s worked. I think Sean has been pushing Ryan on a day to day basis.’’
Fitzpatrick has played 13 seasons since becoming a seventh-round pick by the Rams from Harvard in 2005. He has been a starter with the Bengals, Bills, Titans and Jets. His best season came in 2015 when he passed for 3,905 yards with 31 touchdowns and 15 interceptions with the Jets, leading the Jets to a 10-6 record and second-place finish in the AFC East.