The NY Jets need to bring back quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick for 2016 and maybe even longer. There is no questioning the impact he’s had on Gang Green as it must continue.
I’m going to say outright that the Jets should re-sign Ryan Fitzpatrick. It’s never in a team plans to want to extend a contract to someone who is 33 years old especially if it’s a quarterback. The Jets are facing this situation now with incumbent Fitzpatrick. “Fitzmagic” came to the Jets as in a trade from Houston after throwing just 2,483 yards and a 17:8 touchdown to interception ratio while producing the ninth highest quarterback rating for the Texans.
Most likely offensive coordinator Chan Gailey pushed this trade for Fitzpatrick. We all know how Geno Smith has performed, and the rookie Bryce Petty needs an extreme amount of seasoning. Fitzpatrick had his best seasons under Gailey all with the Buffalo Bills. In his three seasons with Gailey, Fitzpatrick threw for 10,232 yards, 71 touchdowns and 54 interceptions in 45 games.
Each time in his career that he has thrown for over 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns, it has been with Gailey. Now that he has thrown for 3,905 yards with 31 touchdowns and just 15 interceptions, it appears there is magic between him and Gailey.
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Jets management has faith in Fitzpatrick.
Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported general manager Mike Maccagnan saying: “I think he has a lot of good football left in him.”
Head coach Todd Bowles stated via Zach Braziller of the New York Post: “He’s had success in this league — maybe not this consistent, but he’s had success — and he’s at peace with himself,” Bowles said. “I think he’s doing things a lot better. I think he’s a lot calmer. I think he’s not trying to win games by himself, mainly. Obviously, he has talent around him to do some of those things, but most quarterbacks do.
“He’s very intelligent. He can make you feel at home, and he’s a funny guy. He can make you feel like you want to play hard for him. He just has that personality that everybody gravitates towards.”
Now the biggest question is what happens to the Jets if Fitzpatrick departs New York? Are there free agents or trade opportunities out there to replace him? We know that Geno Smith and Petty are not the answers at this time.
When looking at the free agents, the cupboard looks bare. Players such as Sam Bradford and Kirk Cousins are most likely going to stay with their respected teams, even if they do leave, can they do much better than Fitzpatrick at a higher salary? Brian Hoyer signed for a two-year deal worth $10.5 million, and Nick Foles got $13.8 million in a guaranteed contract from the Rams. Fitzpatrick would fall in this range, but to lure in someone like Cousins, it would cost a lot more.
Other options like Robert Griffin and Drew Stanton, we all know that the trust factor is much higher with Fitzpatrick than any of these players. Take a look at Luis Tirado Jr.’s article on why Griffin is not a good fit for the Jets.
Then there is a possibility of a trade for one of these guys but again, it won’t make sense for the Jets. Trading options include Drew Brees, Colin Kaepernick and Matthew Stafford. Fitzpatrick is 33 years old and Brees is 37, what are the Jets going to do, trade their AARP card for a higher costing subscription fee? Brees is owed $20 million, but Fitzpatrick can win on the road and home.
Oct 18, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) throws a pass against the Baltimore Ravens during the second quarter at Levi
Kaepernick is about as useful as Smith. Neither are accurate enough to be a starter and both like to target the defense instead of their wide receivers. Stafford is better than the above two, but he is also getting an excessive amount of money from Detroit as his salary calls for $17 million this upcoming season, and $16 million next season. Detroit may want to unload, but the Jets would be tied down to make any splashes during free agency.
Why not keep someone like Fitzpatrick, who soars in the offense and has the receiving corps to bail him out of trouble? Petty could learn from the intelligence and gritty performance of a Fitzpatrick without the Jets having to sink their ship in getting someone as good or marginally better.
Even Petty is open to him being the lead signal caller. According to Mehta again of the New York Daily News Petty stated “I didn’t really know the value of having a guy like Fitz,” Petty told the Daily News. “You heard stories of guys not being helpful, like ‘I learned it on my own, so you can learn it on your own.’ Or the insecurity factor about who they are or their job title. He’s the polar opposite. He is very secure with who he is and what he was brought here to do. He (had) help when he was younger. So he wanted to pay it forward.”
It’s now time for the Jets to pay it forward and give their signal caller a contract worthy of a player that can take their team to the postseason.