If the Jets and Ryan Fitzpatrick want to remain together in 2016, they are going to have to find some middle ground rather soon in contract talks. Right now, neither side is even close to coming to a deal, as it was reported that both sides see Fitzpatrick's value very differently.
The New York Post reported Tuesday morning that Fitzpatrick sees himself in the range of $16-18 million, since Sam Bradford, another rather mediocre quarterback was able to draw $18 million per year from the Eagles. The Jets, view Fitzpatrick at a handsome $8-10 million in value.
First of all, Fitzpatrick is not worth $18 million. He is not even worth $10 million. Fitzpatrick is a journeyman quarterback who has never appeared in a playoff game. He spent much of his career toiling around the league as a back-up both in St. Louis and Cincinnati, and when he actually got a chance to start full time in Buffalo, they couldn't wait to get rid of him. In Tennessee and Houston, Fitzpatrick spent most of his time as a back-up.
It wasn't until he came to New York last year that Fitzpatrick got extremely lucky. Geno Smith got punched in the face by IK Emakipali, opening the door for Fitzpatrick to take the job, and he easily had the best season of his career. Fitzpatrick threw 31 touchdowns last year, setting a new single season franchise record for Jets quarterbacks. Yet, even with that it, the record and the season didn't feel as special as Vinny Testaverde's 1998 campaign. It is fair to say Fitz was a product of two great receivers in Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, more than the receivers were a product of Fitzpatrick's success.
He's an average quarterback, who has a noodle for an arm, and as we saw many times last year is over-aggressive in the pocket, failing the slide when he runs, and isn't afraid to test double and triple coverage. To think that Fitzpatrick could replicate last year's success is a gamble that the Jets probably know is not worth taking financially.
If Fitzpatrick can get a better offer elsewhere he should take it, and the Jets should let him walk. The Jets probably got the best Fitzpatrick will ever display for the remainder of his career. There are other quarterbacks on the market: Robert Griffin III, whom I would stay away from with a 10-foot pole if I were the Jets; Colin Kaepernick, another scrambling quarterback who could be dealt this off-season; Nick Foles, who could be on the way out in St. Louis, and Brock Osweiler.
Osweiler is likely to stay in Denver, but if the Jets are willing to go after him and make him their franchise quarterback -- they might as well throw their hat into the ring.
Then agin, the Jets could just give the reigns to Bryce Petty and see what the kid's got. He's had a year to learn an NFL offense, and needs the opportunity to show that he is more than just a system quarterback from Baylor.
Point is, losing Fitzpatrick may sting, but it is not the worst thing in the world for the Jets.