The NY Jets and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick are still far apart on a new contract. Good news is, the Jets continue to stand firm in negotiations, despite the huge amount of money he’s seeking.
The Jets and Fitzpatrick are in a high priced game of chess, and it’s currently in a stalemate. The Jets are exploring all options, including bringing in Robert Griffin III in for a visit and they could be considering Geno Smith as their starter for 2016. Simply because he would’ve been the starter in 2015 had he not gotten punched by a teammate at the time.
General manager Mike Maccagnan is 100% right in this case, because, even though it’s a win-now team, he can’t afford to bet the farm on Fitzpatrick, yet. It was absurd for Houston to give Brock Osweiler the 4-year, $72 million ($37 million guaranteed) deal, and Chase Daniel, just as ridiculously, got a 3-year $21 million deal to be the backup in Philadelphia.
Nov 22, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) walks away from Houston Texans quarterback T.J. Yates (6) after the two met at midfield following a game at NRG Stadium. Houston won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports
Let’s take a look at the Jets’ options though:
Bring Ryan Fitzpatrick back
Both the team and Fitzpatrick know that he’s their best option going into 2016. However, the Jets actually hold all the leverage in negotiations despite this, because no one else will sign Fitzpatrick for the ridiculous asking price that he wants.
Go into camp with Geno Smith as the starter
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The Jets are keeping Smith on the roster, because he will be the cheapest option, if he ends up starting.
He would be the lowest paid stating quarterback in the NFL. Currently he is the 44th highest paid at the position overall. They can’t cut him, yet, because they only have him and Bryce Petty on the roster.
He was originally going to be the starter last season, until the incident. So, Todd Bowles must have seen something he liked, and one can trust Bowles’s instincts.
Quarterback competition in camp
The idea of bringing in Griffin is indeed a smart one. It may put heat on the Fitzpatrick camp to ultimately come down on their demands, and if they don’t, you have an NFL quarterback with starting experience.
He will be a cheap option they can cut at the end of camp with no salary cap repercussions, and if he makes the team, it can be another year of Petty learning until he’s actually ready. With that said, Petty may be ready and they can figure that out in camp.
Everyone was enamored by the franchise record setting numbers Fitzpatrick was putting up in 2015. However, he was the reason the Jets were in the playoff hunt, in Week 17 in Buffalo, rather than in the playoffs. His multiple interception games (in games that were one possession defeats) cost them winnable games.
They should pursue Fitzpatrick, but they shouldn’t overpay for him. It’s a one season sample size, when we have nine seasons of data that prove he’s a below average quarterback. Despite the 10-6 season in 2015, Fitzpatrick is still only 43-61-1 as a starter, with at least 15 interceptions in the three seasons he started all 16 games. It’s fine to bet a barn on him, just not the whole farm.
As my colleague Paul Esden showed us in his piece, it’s more a matter of Fitzpatrick needing the Jets more than the Jets needing Fitzpatrick. Last year’s contract was worth $3.25M, and he’s not worth much more than that coming off of one good season.
If they were willing to give him a raise to $5-6M, that would be ok, and he should be amenable to that. However, when a quarterback is delusional about his value, then we get where we are. It’s time for Jets fans to think of the season without Fitzpatrick. Stop with all the gloom and doom, because the Jets can and will win without him.