The New York Jets aren’t exactly moving forward with the quarterbacks they have. Despite the discontent on both sides of the fence, the team is waiting for Ryan Fitzpatrick to finally accept the offer they have dangling in front of him.
While rumors can tend to skew the numbers a bit, it sounds possible: The Jets offering Fitzpatrick a three-year deal with $15 million in guaranteed money and a possibility to earn up to $36 million through incentives. He’ll make $12 million the first season, $6 million in the second season and $6 million in the third, before bonuses kick in. Sources suggest that the bonuses included aren’t something Fitzpatrick can count on making.
So should he accept? Fitzpatrick doesn’t have much leverage. For the kind of money he’s seeking, the only team that will come any close are the Jets. There are teams out there (very few) with plenty of cap space and in need of a quarterback, but both of them (San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns) don’t plan on winning too much this season, and prefer making their way up through younger players and relying on the draft.
Fitzpatrick is waiting for more guaranteed money. It’s not correct to say the Jets have no pressure on them whatsoever. Going into the season with Geno Smith, Bryce Petty, and Christian Hackenberg, with the expectations bigger than usual following a 10-6 season in 2015, doesn’t exactly say “winners”. Fitzpatrick has never taken a team to the playoffs, but he had a career-best season in 2015 and is the best player available for the Jets to play at quarterback if he finally agrees to what they’re offering him.
While Fitzpatrick remains the biggest name remaining in free agency, his wide receivers, Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall, finished their short holdout and have returned to practice. It doesn’t mean the Jets are any closer to signing a contract with Fitzpatrick, although Marshall and Decker went “missing” as something of a protest.