The NY Jets still don’t have a definitive answer at quarterback. Could RG3 be the answer they need for the most important position on the team?
While our friend Mark Sanchez essentially received the break of his life by getting traded to the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos with a surprisingly sizable void at the quarterback position (although he may not be the starter by the start of the regular season), the Jets seem to have their eyes on another top 5 draft pick who has had his fair share of struggles: Robert Griffin III.
After a two day rendezvous with some Jets brass, Griffin left the Jets facilities without a contract. Reports hint that this is not the end of the Jets’ quarterback love triangle between themselves, their former starter Ryan Fitzpatrick, and the 26-year-old ex-Redskin. It was even reported that the Jets even shared a meal with the Heisman winner:
QB Robert Griffin III had dinner with Jets officials last night, and is meeting with the team again today at the facility, per sources.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 12, 2016
Fitzpatrick’s agent has grossly overplayed his hand and is leaving his client without a viable option given his price point. Griffin is cheaper, younger and has an arguably better track record (he has made the NFL Playoffs as a starting quarterback). The two quarterbacks being considered are on opposite ends of the spectrum: one is a down-on-his-luck former golden boy of a franchise, while the other is a journeyman with a poor track record who had the season of his life in 2015 and is looking to maximize his value to a fault.
The logic is simple to understand: why pay for a guy with a much lower ceiling? The price could be paid in the form of team chemistry. Guys like Brandon Marshall formed a rapport with Fitzpatrick that is viewed as special. Marshall had the following to say about his relationship with Fitzpatrick when asked on the Rich Eisen Show (as reported by ESPN):
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"The way we communicate, the way we practice together, the way we bring other guys together, I’ve never seen that anywhere else — and I’ve been a lot of places and I’ve had a lot of quarterbacks"
The problem that could arise is that if you have constructed a roster of veterans and decide not to retain one after a stellar campaign, then who is actually safe?
Players may start to question whether they are valued by the franchise and that is not something you want when you are trying to assemble a playoff-ready roster. You could also consider the young guys. If you bring in a 26-year-old quarterback and already have two young ones on the roster, where is the veteran presence? The team would have to get rid of one of the young guys, with Geno Smith being the most likely casualty.
This is an annual topic during Jets’ offseasons, and just when you think a solution – albeit short-term one – has been found, a problem forms seemingly out of nowhere. Fitzpatrick should know at this point in his career that he is part of the equation and not the answer to a team’s quarterback quandary.
After a journeyman career, Fitzpatrick should be willing to lower his criteria for signing a contract to have a chance to join an offense that is being assembled in his absence. He will forever live in Jets lore after steering them to an overtime victory in Week 16 of last season against the almighty New England Patriots. At the same time, fans – and presumably the Jets’ brain-trust – has not forgotten the debacle that occurred the following week in Buffalo.
For these reasons it is clear why the Jets are pursuing other options. Jets’ general manager Mike Maccagnan is not budging on his price. If Fitzpatrick wants to be part of the Jets’ equation then he needs to realize he’s a cog in the potential offensive machine. If not, both him and the Jets may be looking for answers to a problem that could go unsolved for both sides yet again.