When it comes to the NY Jets, the first big quarterback extension of the offseason shouldn’t mean anything when it comes to their negotiations with Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Just recently, the Philadelphia Eagles extended starting quarterback Sam Bradford on a two-year deal worth $36 million. Only $22 million is guaranteed and according to multiple reports, the Birds can actually move on from him if they choose to after one season. The team has the option to load the guaranteed money in the first season so that if they are unhappy with his play, they can release him to clear up cap space. Nonetheless, a boatload of money is invested in the Oklahoma product.
What makes this interesting is the fact that this deal was the first of the big name free agent quarterbacks. Kirk Cousins received the franchise tag from the Washington Redskins while Brock Osweiler and Ryan Fitzpatrick have yet to reach agreements with their teams. Both may deserve an $18 million per year contract based off of the seasons they had, although Fitzpatrick’s scenario is a bit different.
The 33-year-old finished the 2015 campaign with 3,905 yards, 31 touchdowns and 15 interceptions to have by far the best season of his career. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker were without a doubt a big reason for Fitzpatrick’s success, however you have to credit the veteran for stringing together one of the best years in franchise history passing-wise. Things did crumble in the Week 17 finale, but Bilal Powell‘s absence was a huge blow to New York’s offense in that contest. With Geno Smith under center, a 10-6 stint would have been a true long shot.
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Gang Green’s top priority is obviously to keep ‘Fitzmagic’ at a reasonable price for at least one more season while they continue to groom Bryce Petty.
When Bradford re-signed with Philadelphia, social media exploded with speculations saying that the contract set the market for the remaining quarterbacks looking for new deals. It’s tough to make sense out of this given Bradford’s track record, so let’s dig a bit deeper into the situation.
At 28 years of age, Bradford still has plenty of good football left in the tank despite his injury history. Last year, he played in 14 games showing he might finally be past his ACL and shoulder tears that have plagued his career thus far.
As a former No. 1 overall pick, his ceiling remains very high and gives him a chance to be the Eagles’ future if he can remain in good health. Philadelphia did overpay for a guy who threw 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, but he came into the league with Pro Bowl potential and now he’s finally getting the chance to prove it.
Fitzpatrick on the other hand is 33 and of course in the later stages of his career. Many can think he’s in his prime after a great year-one with the Jets, but it’s hard to see a long-term future in him due to his age. With that being said, a two-year deal worth $20 million makes plenty of sense for the Harvard graduate.
The team can even go up to three years if they want as long as the guaranteed money is there. Franchises know what they are getting with veteran quarterbacks which makes it unnecessary to give them “prove it” contracts with incentives. Once general manager Mike Maccagnan puts the offer on the table, the guaranteed money is what will ultimately get Fitzpatrick to stick around.
Overall, the Bradford contract should hold no impact on what he gets offered by the Jets. He’s five years younger and brings a lot more upside to the table. Fitzpatrick may deserve Bradford money, but there’s no way he gets it.