Despite not making the playoffs, the New York Jets came out of the 2015 NFL season feeling like they’re going in the right direction. Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback is probably part of that optimism, but negotiations haven’t been successful, which means he’s hitting the open market, and might end up signing as a free agent with someone else.
Fitzpatrick has been in the league since 2005. He still hasn’t been in the postseason. But in 2015, he helped the Jets to a 10-6 record while posting the best numbers of his career, courtesy of throwing to Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. He finished with 3905 passing yards (career high) while completing 59.6% of his passes. He threw 31 touchdown passes and his TD% was also a career best, while sticking to 15 interceptions.
But with all of those credits and compliments, Fitzpatrick folded in the final and most decisive game of the season, which the Jets needed to win in order to make the playoffs. He completed just 43% (16-for-37) of his passes in the week 17 loss to the Buffalo Bills, throwing two touchdowns and three interceptions, in his worst game of the season based on passer rating. The Jets didn’t miss the playoffs just because of Fitzpatrick, but his performance was a handicap in the 22-17 loss, while the Steelers got in instead.
But bad game or not, Fitzpatrick feels he needs to be paid more than what he got last season, which was $3.25 million. He might not be a first choice type of quarterback for anyone, but the going rate for starting QBs in this league, and Fitzpatrick is a starter, is more along the lines of $10 million a season, which might be where Fitzpatrick is aiming.
Could the two sides settle for around $16 million for two years? Ideally, yes. But the Jets can’t really afford to lose Fitzpatrick now considering the other options out there or in the draft, and in the end, it might cost them more than they were initially willing to spend, hampering their attempts to make as many re-signings as possible on the defensive side of the ball.
Fitzpatrick is 33, and has been in the NFL since 2005, playing for the St. Louis Rams, Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans and Jets. He was a 7th round draft pick coming out of Harvard. He has completed 60.1% of his passes throughout his career, thrown 154 touchdowns to 116 interceptions while posting a 80.8 passer rating.