The New York Jets finally come to their senses and re-signed Ryan Fitzpatrick to a one-year deal worth up to $15M.
The New York Jets had a great 2015 season, which resulted in 10 wins, but did end on a sour note, with a disappointing Week 17 loss to the Buffalo Bills, whom were coached by former Jets coach Rex Ryan. The loss officially eliminated the Jets from playoff contention. Even though the Jets missing the NFL Playoffs was disappointing, there was a lot to be excited for moving into the 2016 season.
Head coach Todd Bowles did bring a much needed no nonsense style, that was opposite of Ryan, which gave the team the shot in the arm the team needed. As good as the defense was, the Jets’ offense was the best it had been in a very long time, and the play of Fitzpatrick was a major reason for this.
Contrary to the news the Jets management were trying to portray to the loyal fans about Geno Smith‘s success in organized team activities, re-signing Fitzpatrick was a must. Fitzpatrick was acquired by the Jets in a trade with the Houston Texans on March 11th, 2015. As ridiculous as it sounds, he was brought in to be a backup quarterback to Smith.
Fitzpatrick is not an NFL legend, but he had proven to be a very serviceable quarterback during his career, in which he found himself playing for dreadful teams such as the Los Angeles Rams, Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans, before finding himself on the Jets in 2015.
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A total professional coming into the 2015 season, Fitzpatrick did have a record of 33-51 record, which included him throwing for 123 touchdowns and 101 interceptions in his nine year career.
Not amazing numbers, but solid considering some of the poor teams he had played for over his career in the NFL.
Smith began training camp in 2015, coming off two awful seasons as the starting quarterback of the Jets.
He posted a 11-18 record, which included 25 touchdowns and 34 interceptions.
Even after two less than bad seasons, the Jets were more than willing to subject us to round three of the circus extravaganza that is Smith trying to play quarterback in the NFL. This all changed on August 11th 2015 when Smith was punched in the face by IK Enemkpali over a heavily rumored dispute over $600 that he owed him.
On this day we found out two things. One is Smith can’t ever be a leader in the locker room for allowing an altercation to get that heated and two, Fitzpatrick became the Jets’ starting quarterback for the 2015 season, a job he never relinquished.
Fitzpatrick had an excellent season with the Jets. He posted a career high and a Jets season high of 31 touchdowns, and lead the Jets to a 10 win season. With the money NFL organizations are throwing around to quarterbacks, it was Fitzpatrick’s turn to hold his hand out.
How did the Jets react? Shamefully as always. The Jets were rumored to had offered Fitzpatrick a three-year deal worth $21M. Quarterbacks such as Sam Bradford, Colin Kaepernick and Ryan Tannehill, whom had way less success all are signed to deals that pay them over $15M a season.
The Jets traded for Fitzpatrick and he owed them no favors. Instead of catching flicks or getting into petty disputes with teammates like Smith seemed to do, Fitzpatrick and wide receivers Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall all worked together and succeeded in turning the Jets’ offense into something special.
Once the laughing stocks in the league over the previous few seasons, Fitzpatrick led the way toward turning them into a very formidable offensive unit. Many experts took the Jets to win six or less games, but Fitzpatrick lead them to ten wins, which shouldn’t be taken for granted.
This idea that the Jets shouldn’t “waste” a big sum of money on a ” journeyman quarterback” was ridiculous from day one. Their quarterback depth chart included Smith, Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty. Those are names that strike no fear in any opposing defense. On July 27th 2016, the Jets finally came to their senses and offered Fitzpatrick the deal he wanted because he puts them in a position to be a contender again this upcoming season.
This is all Fitzpatrick wanted from day one. The deal is fair and honestly for his production in 2015, it is still a bargain. Now with Muhammad Wilkerson and Fitzpatrick being re-signed and the addition of Matt Forte, the Jets are now primed to make a serious run at the playoffs. Though this did take way too long, it was a deal the Jets had to make and I’m excited to see Fitzpatrick back on the field and under center for the Jets in 2016.