As the New York Jets drafted former Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg in the 2016 NFL Draft, they still want Ryan Fitzpatrick to start come September.
As it stands today, the New York Jets will enter training camp on July 27 with three quarterbacks: Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. Smith is expected to take the first-team snaps out of that group.
There are three quarterbacks on this roster, and the Jets still want Fitzpatrick at the helm. And well, who could blame them? Fitzpatrick had a great year with the Jets in 2015, as he threw for 3,905 yards with 31 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, he is immensely popular among his teammates, and is a veteran presence.
Smith hasn’t proven himself and has already blew his chance in his first three seasons, two of which he was the starting quarterback. In total, Smith has thrown for 5,836 yards with 27 touchdowns, 35 interceptions, a low 57.9% completion percentage and eight fumbles. He can’t make a read or a good decision, let alone commit to anything other than taking a bad sack instead of throwing the ball away.
There’s no way Petty is ready. He isn’t even ready for a back-up role at this point in his career. And it would be of New York’s best interest not to throw Hackenberg to the wolves.
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Bottom line is the Jets need a solid starting quarterback option and a mentor for Hackenberg, and if Fitzpatrick has any desire to be a starter in the NFL this season, New York is hands down his best option for success.
The Jets and Fitzpatrick are a match made in heaven, so let’s get this deal done.
Now, generally speaking, one thing can be said about the NFL’s market for quarterbacks: Sam Bradford ($17.5 million average), Brock Osweiler ($18 million average) and Chase Daniel ($7 million average) are not deserving of the contracts they have signed, nor is Kirk Cousins worth a $19.9 million franchise tag.
The Jets should have struck a deal with Fitzpatrick as quickly as possible and set the market themselves. If they did that, New York would have a quarterback and might not be suffocating with the franchise tag placed on Muhammad Wilkerson, but that’s besides the point.
One cannot fault either side for taking the stance they are each taking. The Jets are doing the right thing by standing their ground on their offer, and so is Fitzpatrick. Each side unfortunately is at an extreme. How hard is it to come to terms somewhere in the middle with some sort of incentive-laden contract or signing bonus?
Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported to expect that if the Jets are to bring back Fitzpatrick, it would be on a one-year deal:
#Jets plan to sit Christian Hackenberg, let him grow. They've believed in the player for a while. Expect a Ryan Fitzpatrick deal to be 1r
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 30, 2016
A one-year deal makes sense; maybe somewhere in the range of $11 million. Do what needs to be done to benefit all parties in 2016 as it is the most important year for the Jets and moving forward following the draft. If Hackenberg is ready to go in 2017, cut the cord. If not, see about striking another short-term deal with Fitzpatrick.