An apology to Ryan Fitzpatrick
The New York Jets and their fans owe quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick an apology. In lieu of them admitting their mistakes, one writer attempts to make amends.
Whether its owner Woody Johnson, general manager Mike Maccagnan or even head coach Todd Bowles, no one on the New York Jets are going to say it.
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The players aren’t going to say it (as much as they might want to). The fans, a group that is notorious for rooting for clip board holders, will certainly never say it. So I’m going to say it. Ryan Fitzpatrick, I’m sorry.
You arrived in New York amidst the lowest of expectations, a journeyman quarterback with a $3.25M contract acquired for a late-round draft pick. In spite of all of that, you thrived, posting the greatest statistical season by a Jets quarterback in franchise history. The Jets soared to a 10-6 record, barely missing out on a playoff berth.
After all your success, the Jets leadership and their fans had an understandably strong reaction. Yet, rather than embrace you as their new quarterback, they couldn’t wait to show you the door.
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At first glance, its difficult to blame the Jets’ brass for holding firm in their contract offer.
After all, acquiring and maintaining talent for the lowest possible cost is the mark of a great general manager.
Business is business.
But there’s a fine line between being an effective executive and being cheap.
When players like quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Brock Osweiler are offered an excess of $17M per year, the Jets’ reported 3 year/$24M offer begins to look less like sound business practices and more like a veiled insult.
Considering your reported willingness to sign for a $12M one-year deal, I’m sure the Jets’ refusal to budge in the slightest is all the more frustrating.
Sam Bradford2 yrs/$35M19 TD/14 INT/ 65 comp %
Chase Daniel3 yrs/$21M2 passes completed
Brock Osweiler4 yrs/$72M10 TD/6 INT/ 61.8 comp %
Robert Griffin III2 yrs/ $15MNo passes attempted
1 yr/ $12M (desired contract)31 TD/15 INT/ 59.6 comp %
Of course, if the Jets owes you an apology, the fans owe you breakfast in bed and a Hallmark card.
Ah yes, Jets fans. We are a most fickle bunch. We make excuses as to why our bad quarterbacks aren’t bad and excuses as to why our good quarterbacks aren’t good.
Excuses, wow, Fitzpatrick, how you must have heard them all by now. You were only good because you had great receivers. You were only good because of your coaches. You were only good because you were lucky. Your arm isn’t strong enough. You’re just too old.
Listen to Jets fans long enough, and you start to wonder who actually threw the passes last season. Apparently it wasn’t you, Fitzpatrick.
Never mind that you shattered the franchise record for single-season touchdown passes, or that you became the first Jets quarterback to post a 2:1 TD/INT ratio since Chad Pennington in 2002. Apparently it was all a fluke, just a mirage fading off into a Meadowlands mist.
Sometimes, Fitzpatrick, I wonder if I’m the only one who remembers all the good times you gave the Jets last season. I wonder if I’m the lone voice of reason. And for that I’m sorry.
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You’re far from a perfect player, but you were perfect for the Jets. I hope you come back to New York. Heck, I’d even give you the $12M myself, if it wasn’t more money than I’ll make in the course of a lifetime.