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Buccaneers extend backup quarterback Ryan Griffin’s contract to 2018

Griffin is injured, and this keeps him in Tampa.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers just announced a one-year contract extension for backup quarterback Ryan Griffin, who’s currently out with a shoulder injury. The extension will keep him under contract through the 2018 season.

The Bucs have been grooming Griffin to be the team’s primary backup for three years on end now, and he looked to be outplaying Ryan Fitzpatrick in preseason before the shoulder injury. But that injury left the Bucs with very few options: they could waive Griffin with an injured designation, and risk losing him (you can’t place players directly on injured reserve in the offseason, they have to go through waivers), or they could hang on to him while he’s injured and his contract runs out next offseason. Extending his contract allows the Bucs to hang on to him with the guarantee that he won’t be gone at the end of the year, unless they want him to.

It’s not entirely clear how serious Griffin’s injury is, but the Bucs’ likely course of action now is to place him on injured reserve after final roster cuts. Whether they then bring him back during the season or keep him on the backburner next year remains to be seen, and will likely depend on how quickly his rehab progresses.

One thing’s almost certain, though: the Bucs will start the season with Ryan Fitzpatrick as their primary backup quarterback. We’d better hope Jameis Winston doesn’t get injured.