Fitzpatrick returns as Winston’s backup

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick greets fans before an NFL preseason football game against the Cleveland Browns Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick greets fans before an NFL preseason football game against the Cleveland Browns Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Published March 8 2018
Updated March 8 2018

TAMPA — Fitzmagic will return to Tampa Bay next season.

The Bucs agreed to terms with vagabond veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick on Thursday on a one-year contract to play behind starter Jameis Winston next season.

Fitzpatrick, 35, went 2-1 as a starter in place of Winston, who missed three games with a shoulder sprain in 2017.

The Bucs also have quarterback Ryan Griffin under contract for next season.

The signing of Fitzpatrick is significant. Winston is under investigation by the NFL for allegations that he groped a female Uber driver in Arizona in March of 2016.

Winston has denied the allegations, and Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby said he was in the backseat of the Uber vehicle that night with Winston and no incident occurred. Should Winston be found in violation of the league’s personal conduct policy, he could be subject to a suspension.

"You can lose your starting quarterback at any time," Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said last week. "So the backup quarterback is pretty important. We’ve been fortunate the time I’ve been in Tampa, we’ve had good backup quarterbacks. We went 2-1 with our backup quarterback last year."

The Bucs decision to re-sign Fitzpatrick was not unexpected but a real vote of confidence considering what promises to be a fertile free agent quarterback market. The Vikings Case Keenum, Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater all could become available when the new league year begins March 14.

The Bears also have indicated that former Bucs backup Mike Glennon will be released before next Wednesday. Glennon was also considered to be a strong option, but he will likely seek a situation where he can compete for the starting job.

INVESTIGATION: The league is investigating whether questions asked to LSU running back Derrius Guice at the scouting combine were inappropriate. Guice said one team asked if he was gay and another asked if his mother "sells herself."

TROUBLING REPORT: Former Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin had multiple weapons in his vehicle hours after posting a cryptic, threatening message online last month, the tmz.com reported. Police found a shotgun, a large knife and an ax in his vehicle, the website said.

Dolphins: Receiver Jarvis Landry signed his $16 million, one-year franchise tag .

Rams: The team acquired cornerback Aqib Talib from the Broncos in exchange for a fifth round draft pick, nfl.com reported.

Titans: The team announced it plans to release running back DeMarco Murray.

Information from Times wires services was used in this report.

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