Brian Flores: Dolphins 'Would Love to Have' Ryan Fitzpatrick Back Next Season

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 11, 2021

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) talks to head coach Brian Flores during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores is open to a reunion with veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick for the 2021 season. 

"We'd love to have him back, but this is a very unique year from the cap standpoint," he told reporters Thursday. "Those conversations are fluid."

The Dolphins appear likely to go into the 2021 season with Tua Tagovailoa as the starter, barring a major trade for a player like Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson—though both scenarios feel unlikely at this point. Fitzpatrick would likely be returning as a backup. 

But it's fair to question whether he'd be happy with that outcome. He opened the 2020 season as the team's starter, leading the Dolphins to a 3-3 record, before Miami chose to hand the reins over to Tagovailoa.

He wasn't happy with that decision:

Cameron Wolfe @CameronWolfe

Ryan Fitzpatrick admitted hearing the move was very heavy. He thought, “Was that my last game as a NFL player?” He said this was 1st place other than Buffalo where I felt like this was my team. It’s quite clear Fitz is hurting right now even though he wants to support Tua. https://t.co/Ky9K7YJK1G

Fitzpatrick was called in for relief duty later in the season, making three more appearances in total, though the future of the position remains in Tagovailoa's hands. The 38-year-old threw for 2,091 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions, completing 68.5 percent of his passes. The Dolphins went 4-3 in his starts. 

It's possible Fitzpatrick would prefer to continue his career elsewhere after his demotion in 2020 with the Dolphins, especially considering he would be returning to that situation as the clear backup. Granted, he'll likely be a bridge quarterback at best elsewhere and could face another midseason demotion on a team wanting to get a young player experience. 

So a return to the Dolphins remains an interesting possibility, if nothing else. Flores, at the least, sounds open to such a scenario.