The New York Jets by all accounts had a good 2016 NFL Draft class as it’s all officially over. It’s now time to dig back into the big contract situation between the Jets and Ryan Fitzpatrick as it’s still a stalemate.
Some experts have said that Fitzpatrick needs to cave in and settle with the Jets, and that the team holds all the leverage in this contract dispute. That isn’t the case in the grand scheme of things. This is a rare case in sports where neither the player nor the team holds any leverage. It’s a true stalemate.
The Jets hold an ace of spaces in the fact that Fitzpatrick has no other NFL team to go to at this point. That’s true, because the Jets are the only team that needs a quarterback, and some (including me for some time) see that he must re-sign with the Jets.
What many people don’t see is that there is an extra ace of spades in this deck, and Fitzpatrick actually holds it. His trump card is a degree from Harvard. Many NFL players in Fitzpatrick’s case don’t hold a degree of such magnitude, let alone from Harvard. A degree from Harvard that you know, still holds caché.
In addition to not really needing football to earn a living, he has made a lot of money in his mediocre career. Here’s the breakdown of his overall earnings according to Spotrac:
So, in essence, Fitzpatrick doesn’t “need” the Jets as much as people believe. While it’s true he probably won’t make as much as an NFL team can pay him, the plus side to working outside the NFL is not dealing with the pain and potential future disabilities.
If we think about it from Fitzpatrick’s standpoint, it’s possible to think, “Why do I need to play football? I can make money with my degree.” At the end of the day, his decision will impact everything one way or the other. Regardless, he’d be fine with either decision as he’s comfortable to do what he feels is best for him.
That doesn’t mean he doesn’t desire to play professional football, but he just has more options than just that, hence why this stalemate continues. Overall, it means that the Jets don’t have to budge, and neither does Fitzpatrick.