The New York Jets have not proven they can draft or develop a quarterback to be their guy for an extended period of time. With this being the case, the time is now to do whatever it takes to bring back Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Last season for the Jets produced a solid ten wins, but unfortunately ended with a Week 17 loss to division rival and the Rex Ryan-lead Buffalo Bills, which eliminated them from qualifying for the NFL Playoffs. Though the season ending loss to the Bills was indeed disappointing, there are lots of positives that can be taken away from the 2015 season as a whole. The play of Fitzpatrick certainly exceeded expectations. Yet the Jets seem to think it’s a great idea to offer him a less than fair contract for him to return. Make no mistake about it, if the Jets want to succeed this upcoming season, they need make sure he’s back and ready to continue the momentum.
Fitzpatrick’s season included 3,905 passing yards as he broke a franchise record by throwing 31 touchdown passes, but he did have 15 interceptions and five fumbles. Seventeen turnovers is still too high, but to put this into perspective, Geno Smith threw 27 touchdown passes, 35 interceptions and even lost eight fumbles in his three year career with the Jets, which does include his brief appearance last season against the Oakland Raiders.
Nov 1, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) stands behind center against the Oakland Raiders in the third quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Jets 34-20. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Jets fans also had to endure watching Mark Sanchez who did throw 68 touchdowns from 2009-2012, but also threw 69 interceptions and fumbled the ball 17 times. Wide receivers Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall both flourished and had excellent seasons thanks to Fitzpatrick. They accounted for 189 receptions, 2,529 yards and 26 touchdowns last season. Both receivers had great chemistry with Fitzpatrick as he was the leader on a record-setting offense.
This is chemistry that would have had no chance of being duplicated with Smith under center. This idea that Fitzpatrick owes the Jets anything is ridiculous. He was traded to the Jets from the Houston Texans for a late-round draft pick. Sadly, the only reason he started in the first place was due Smith having his jaw broke by a teammate for a petty dispute over $600. The Jets seemed ready and willing to give the fan base a third straight season of Smith’s circus extravaganza he calls NFL football.
“Bridge quarterback” is a term that is being thrown around more and more by today’s NFL media. The Jets are built to win now and need Fitzpatrick to lead the way. They just signed Matt Forte who is nearing the end of his career and the same goes for players such as Marshall, Decker, and center Nick Mangold.
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Even at the time of this writing, defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson is only locked for one season which at this point seems to be up in the air as it is.
The time to win is undoubtedly now. Worrying about a quarterback over the next six to eight seasons is going to do the Jets no good right now.
Nobody, including myself, is saying Fitzpatrick is Joe Montana, but compared to what the Jets had from 2009-2014, he sure seemed like it.
The quarterback play for the six seasons prior to Fitzpatrick’s arrival last season was below abysmal. The 2015 season was the first time since 2008 that Jets fans can actually watch an offense that looked like they had an idea what to do on the football field.
The Jets have not proven that they can draft, develop and groom a quarterback to be their guy for an extended period of time for a long time now. When an injury prone quarterback such as Sam Bradford signs a contract for two years worth $36M off of another injury ridden season that resulted in just 18 touchdown passes, then there is no reason for somebody like Fitzpatrick to take anything less then what he is worth, which is what the Jets are asking him to do.
It’s obvious the Jets have no real “Plan B” and we know that Fitzpatrick wants to return. It is time for the Jets to knock off the nonsense and offer Fitzpatrick a fair deal to lead this team to the playoffs this upcoming season.