NY Jets: Do fans want Ryan Fitzpatrick back?
Ryan Fitzpatrick had a great first season with the NY Jets, but as he hits free agency, do the fans want him back for 2016 and beyond?
Before the NFL free agency window opened, it seemed self-evident that Ryan Fitzpatrick would re-sign with the Jets.
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After all, Fitzpatrick’s first season in New York was a match made in heaven. Fitzpatrick benefited heavily from Chan Gailey’s offense and from the opportunity to throw to Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. As a result, Fitzpatrick had a career season and proved that, given the right circumstances, he can be a viable starting quarterback.
The Jets also benefited greatly from the Fitzpatrick acquisition. With Fitzpatrick at the helm, the Jets received one of the greatest quarterbacking seasons in franchise history. Fitzpatrick became the first Jets quarterback ever to throw for 30+ touchdowns in a season. Additionally, he became the first Jets quarterback to post a 2/1 touchdown pass/ interception ratio since Chad Pennington in 2002.
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Given all his success, it seems only natural for Jets fans to want Fitzpatrick back in 2016.
Forgetting conventional logic for a moment, however, do Jets fans actually want the team to re-sign Fitzpatrick? After observing a variety of different opinions from the fan base, I decided to put this question to the test with a fan poll. Here are the results:
Keeping in mind the sample size is too small (100) to draw any significant conclusions, the results still paint an interesting picture. Although a majority of Jets fans polled wanted Fitzpatrick back (61%), a sizable portion of fans wanted Smith (26%) or another starter (13%) at quarterback for the team in 2016.
A follow-up question assessed why fans might not want Fitzpatrick to return. The most common reasons cited by the fans polled included concerns that Fitzpatrick would cost too much to re-sign (47%) and that his play would regress (24%).
The apprehensions about Fitzpatrick are noteworthy. In an insanely over-inflated quarterback market (Brock Osweiler anyone?), the cap-strapped Jets may struggle to afford Fitzpatrick. And with a career of inconsistent play, Fitzpatrick will most likely regress a little in 2016.
That being said, if the Jets want to contend in 2016, they must find a way to re-sign Fitzpatrick. After all, the trade/free agent market for quarterbacks is perilously thin, drafted quarterbacks often take years to develop and the Geno Smith/Bryce Petty combination have yet to show they can succeed in the NFL.
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If the Jets want to win immediately (and the Matt Forte signing would seem to indicate that they do), its looking like Fitzpatrick remains their last and best hope to continue their success of 2015.
Overall, Jets Nation seems to agree.