Stopping short of perfectly echoing his Mile High media cohort, 9News insider Mike Klis did suggest in the strongest possible terms that the Denver Broncos have been in "contact" with impending unrestricted free-agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
"No, I do not believe they are in contact with any [free agents]," Klis said Monday on 104.3 The Fan, before deliberately coughing. "I'm not saying anything, [but] you know how it works. This is supposed to be the [NFL Scouting] Combine. The Combine is for watching the draft picks, but the bigger news is what's happening behind the bushes, with the agents meeting with the GMs. They all do it. It's all wink-wink, no one's tampering. But that's where deals get done, at the Combine. The NFL has always turned its head on these kind of things."
The Fitzpatrick-to-Denver speculation began in earnest last Thursday when longtime Broncos columnist Woody Paige reported that the team, seeking an experienced signal-caller to pair with third-year incumbent Drew Lock, has "spoken to" the well-traveled journeyman about a potential deal.
"I recently tweeted that I believe Lock would be back with a veteran free agent signed. My choices were Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Fitzpatrick. They have spoken to Fitzpatrick," Paige tweeted.
A 16-year pro who's played for half as many NFL franchises, Fitzpatrick intends to test the open market following a two-season stint with the Miami Dolphins. He started 15 games in 2019 and opened 2020 under center before then-rookie first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa took the reins.
Fitzpatrick has 34,977 passing yards, 223 touchdowns, and 169 interceptions to his name since 2005, adding 2,623 career rushing yards and 21 rushing touchdowns. When he's good — "Fitzmagic" — his teams win. When he's bad — "Fitztragic" — he single-handily loses games. There's often no middle ground. He's the definition of Hold-The-Fort Guy, only with a proclivity of usurping his younger mentees.
Don't expect the Broncos to confirm the aforementioned reports, as any contact between the sides currently is prohibited (or so the rules state) and technically punishable by massive fines or loss of draft picks.
However, in this business, where there's smoke, there's often an accompanying fire, and it shouldn't be a surprise if new Denver general manager George Paton strikes an agreement with Fitzpatrick shortly after the league's legal tampering window opens on March 15.
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