No One Is Trading For Ryan Fitzpatrick or Matt Ryan

By Stephen Douglas
Matt Schaub, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Matt Ryan
Matt Schaub, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Matt Ryan / Mark Brown/Getty Images
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Tua Tagovailoa has been named the Miami Dolphins' new starting quarterback, replacing veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. Meanwhile, north of the Florida-Georgia line, Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons are off to a 1-5 start. There is chatter among media and fans that one or both could or should be traded. This is not happening. This is not how the NFL works. Just stop.

There are a number of reasons that neither of these guys will or should be traded and the most important and obvious one is that NFL teams do not acquire quarterbacks in the middle of a season. That is how fantasy football works, not the real thing.

Quarterback is the most important and complicated position in the entire sport. If you ever wonder why some crappy quarterback is on a roster and a more capable guy like, say, Colin Kaepernick, is not, you usually hear that the guy on the roster is familiar with the system. Coaches love guys who are familiar with the system.

As far as I can tell, the last quarterback to be traded somewhere with the intention of starting was Carson Palmer going from the Bengals to the Raiders in 2011. If there's a better, more recent example, I'd love to hear it. Palmer went 4-5 in Oakland, completing 60% of his passes and throwing more interceptions than touchdowns for the only time in his career where he played at least half a season.

Ryan is not helping a team get over the top without any experience working with their wide receivers. Plus he has an absurd contract with a $40 million cap hit next year. Who would possibly do that? Even the insiders wondering if Ryan could be moved admit it would be nearly impossible.

As for Fitzpatrick, he's turning 38 next month. His 3-3 mark with he Dolphins this season is just the third time he's been tied to a .500 record in his 16 years in the league. Seven different teams have made him their primary starter. Eight if you count the three games he started as a rookie with the St. Louis Rams in 2005. He's never been on a playoff team.

Most of the talk about Fitzpatrick is joking on social media, but it also demonstrates an NBA-ification of the NFL trade deadline. Basketball teams reshape their rosters during the season if they want to contend. Football teams are by and large built over the summer. You can acquire a key piece in the NFL at the deadline, but never a quarterback. So even if one of those guys might be able to swing the NFC East from one sub-.500 team to another, it's just not going to happen.

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