The New York Jets are beginning OTAs, and mandatory minicamp is right around the corner -- yet Fitz and the team still don't have a deal. It's rather unfathomable. And there is only one person to blame.
Fitzpatrick talked to SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday from Willie Colon's charity golf outing. The 33-year-old quarterback made it clear that he's playing football next year -- retirement is not an option. And he made it crystal clear that he wants to be back with the Jets.
So, Ryan ... What's the holdup? Sign the deal!
Fitzpatrick and the Jets remain worlds apart on the value of a new contract. Our Ian Rapoport has reported for quite some time that the two parties just do not see eye-to-eye in terms of proper compensation. According to NFL Media reports, the Jets have offered $7 million a season (on a three-year, $21 million deal), while Fitzpatrick is seeking more than double that on a per-year basis. The Jets are in the right here.
You don't overpay Ryan Fitzpatrick because Sam Bradford cashed in ($36 million over two years) on Philly needing a veteran starting quarterback. In no universe is Fitzpatrick worth that kind of money. Fitzpatrick is a journeyman, a guy who bounces around and holds the fort until a team inevitably determines it can do better.
Now, predictably, the quarterback wants to get paid. Unfortunately for him, the Jets' evaluation of his season -- like my own -- goes beyond a few glossy surface numbers.
In this "career year," Fitzpatrick completely blew it in a huge spot: Week 17. With the Jets facing a win-and-in situation at Buffalo, the quarterback completed just 16 of his 37 passes and threw three picks in a 22-17 loss. Had the Jets made the playoffs, I think they could've gone to Cincy and beaten the Bengals. And who knows? Maybe the defense would've had a shot against Peyton Manning's Broncos in the Divisional Round.
Fitz playing his worst in Week 17 is a huge deal. It definitely left a bad taste on the season. And it wasn't the only disconcerting effort, either. The first game against the Bills -- another 22-17 loss, on Thursday Night Football -- was a total dud for No. 14. And the game Fitzpatrick played against his old Texans team set football back to the stone ages.
Here's another thing going against Fitzpatrick: Apparently, the rest of the NFL agrees with the Jets on the quarterback's ultimate value. His current market as a starting quarterback is ... nonexistent.
Cleveland, desperate for a quarterback, picked up Robert Griffin III, who didn't play a down last year. On the veteran front, Denver opted for Mark Sanchez, who turned it over three more times as you were reading this. Philly could've signed Fitzpatrick, but Bradford clearly is more talented (albeit injury-prone). Re-do with the Texans? Bills? Rams? Please. They know the deal. And Fitzpatrick wouldn't be the starter on those teams anyway.
In New York last year, Fitzpatrick had Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker -- arguably the top duo in the NFL in 2015 -- at his disposal. The chemistry was incredible. Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey maximized Fitz, just like he did when the pair was together in Buffalo. And this offseason, versatile running back Matt Forte joined the Jets party.
The Jets want Fitzpatrick. But they are smart not to overpay, smart not to bust the cap and give in to the demands. I don't think the Jets are playing with fire. How can Fitzpatrick find receivers better than Marshall and Decker and a coaching staff he knows? What other team would actually pay Ryan Fitzpatrick $7 million a year? I don't buy the potential desperation following a QB injury in the coming months.
It's easy to yell and scream about the Jets and their quarterbacks through the years. They've earned it. But in this particular case, they've handled the situation the right way.