A Ryan Fitzpatrick deal with the New Year Jets includes a three-year contract for $12 million in the first year. The offer has been on the table for at least a couple of months, but the team has been deadlocked in negotiations with Fitzpatrick for months with the man the team would like to be its starting quarterback.
A large difference in value in the deal between the two sides has long been presumed to be the impotus for the drawn-out negotiations, the USA Today reports. Though $12 million in the first year sounds substantial, it’s hard to get a complete picture of the full contract offer without knowing the money in the second and third deal or the structure of the guarantees, which aren’t known.
The Jets have long indicated their desire to re-sign Ryan Fitzpatrick, and the quarterback also said recently that he would like to return to the Jets if the deal is right. Todd Bowles has been clear: if Fitzpatrick returns he will do so as the starting quarterback.
The Jets have said they would like to have Fitzpatrick back under contract by training camp. Unquestionably working to the advantage of the Jets in the negotiation is that they almost certainly are offering Ryan the most money and the only opportunity where he can be the unquestioned starter, Yardbarker reported.
Fitzpatrick has indicated that he wants to play this season, so there is virtually no threat of him retiring. With Ryan Fitzpatrick unsigned, the Jets are operating in practice with Geno Smith as their starter, though everyone knows that the bearded veteran is the team’s preferred choice.
Eric Decker, who has been outspoken about his desire for the team to re-sign Fitzpatrick, is believed to have skipped the team’s first OTAs this past week to send a message to management to sign the veteran QB. Brandon Marshall also missed the team’s first OTAs.
Fitzpatrick, an 11-year journeyman QB, had the best year of his career last season when he led the Jets to 10 wins and threw a franchise record 31 touchdown passes. Those 10 victories brought the Jets to the verge of the playoffs, but the team coughed it up in Week 17 against Buffalo. Fitzpatrick threw three fourth-quarter interceptions in that loss to the Bills.
The New York Post said the Jets have just $3.575 million in cap room, per NFLPA records, but could create additional cap space by restructuring, for example, Decker and/or Buster Skrine’s contracts.