When it comes to the New York Jets and their quarterback situation, the organization will regret playing hardball with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
It is almost July and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick remains unsigned. Coming off of his best season in 2015, in which he threw for 3,905 yards, a Jets’ franchise record 31 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, Fitzpatrick led the team to a 10-6 record. Despite laying an egg with the NFL Playoffs on the line in Week 17 against Buffalo, he put up a fantastic season for the Jets.
General manager Mike Maccagnan has proved to the NFL that he will not budge in contract negotiations. He sets a price for a player and will not increase his offer. His message to Fitzpatrick is clear: “this is our offer, take it or leave it.” While this strategy proves that Maccagnan is resilient, it is a strategy that could come back to bite him.
If Fitzpatrick does not return in 2016, the Jets will be stuck with the enigma that is Geno Smith, a second year Bryce Petty and rookie Christian Hackenberg. Petty, in his second year of development transitioning from a spread offense at Baylor, may not even be ready to be a backup for the Jets. Going by reports so far from mini-camp and organized team activities, Hackenberg is the same quarterback he was at Penn State this season, which is a very inaccurate one.
If the Jets are left with Smith, it will feel like 2014 all over again. Going into 2014, the Jets were counting on Smith, outside linebacker Quinton Coples and cornerback Dee Milliner to have breakout seasons that would end the Jets’ playoff drought.
More from The Jet Press
- NY Jets should target TE Hunter Henry in free agency
- NY Jets: Why the team should target cornerback Shaquill Griffin
- NY Jets reportedly non-tendering linebacker Harvey Langi
- NY Jets: Why the team should not cut Jamison Crowder
- NY Jets should try to sign Kenny Golladay in free agency
Well, all three of them faltered, which led to a 4-12 record.
Similarly, the Jets are counting on Smith to rid himself of his turnover woes, and for outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin and either cornerback Marcus Williams or once again Milliner to step up as a legit starting cornerback opposite Darrelle Revis.
These quarterbacks are on teams that possess potent defenses that will pose huge challenges to a Smith-led Jets’ offense. The Jets have many old players, especially on the offensive line, the most fragile position group on the roster.
At least with Fitzpatrick, the Jets have a quarterback that has chemistry with the current receivers, along with experience that Smith does not have. Fitzpatrick’s intangibles at least give the Jets a chance to win a couple of these games against the five 2015 playoff teams they play in the first six games of the 2016 season.
Without Fitzpatrick, veterans like Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Nick Mangold will become frustrated with the team. That frustration will only grow when Smith starts turning the ball over. The bottom line is, if the Jets want to win and finally end their six-year playoff drought, they need Fitzpatrick back. If not, this could be a very long season.