With the NFL Draft having come and gone, it’s starting to look less and less like Ryan Fitzpatrick will re-sign with the New York Jets.
Coach Todd Bowles meanwhile, has gone ahead and set a very generous deadline, claiming that the team has until late July’s camp to get things resolved with their signal caller. According to Rich Cimini of ESPN however, this may not be what it appears.
“There’s an element of posturing to this,” Cimini writes. “The organization wants to project a ‘We’re-not-in-a-hurry’ attitude because it doesn’t want to come across as desperate. The reality is, they’d like to have it done as soon as possible.”
And what about the possibility they’ll seriously move on from Ryan, despite the career year he had for the team last season?
“If the Jets wait until July and decide to move on from Fitzpatrick, they will have wasted an entire offseason, precious time that could’ve been used to prepare another veteran quarterback. Maybe, in their minds, they’ve already decided their post-Fitzpatrick plan includes only Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. If that’s their plan, it’s a bad one.”
Despite the non-vote of confidence, the Jets truly do have the leverage – and the luxury – of being able to rely on Geno Smith and not the two rookie QBs on their roster in Petty and Hackenberg. Christian Hackenberg of course, has the most upside of any QB in the group, with Petty having been selected in the fourth round and not necessarily progressing as quickly as the Jets had hoped. Smith meanwhile, has been with the team for almost five years now and has clocked enough NFL quarters to be a serviceable fail-safe should Ryan hold out beyond the team’s self-imposed deadline.
There is always the possibility they could also turn sooner rather than later to Hackenberg despite the knocks that his college stats were less than impressive. In fact, there are many that believe despite the poor performance his sophomore and junior year that Hackenberg may end up the starter regardless of whether or not Fitzpatrick returns at all.
Pete Prisco of CBS Sports gave the pick an A+ grade on Twitter, claiming that the kid had “tons of talent” that could be developed over time.
Hackenberg Grade: A+ I love this pick by the Jets. This kid has a ton of talent. Nice job
— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) April 30, 2016
Meanwhile, the NY Post details how Christian has already shaken off the pre-draft slams on his game.
“I kind of buried that, so it’s a fresh start,” the 21-year-old said. “I’m really excited about moving forward and doing what I need to do here.”
Either way, the Jets do seemingly have the leverage – and options – over Ryan Fitzpatrick who is holding out for the type of money Sam Bradford and Brock Osweiler received on the open market this past offseason. With over 30 touchdowns and nearly four thousand passing yards, it’s hard not to understand his way of thinking. Both Bradford and Osweiler are unproven in the league despite some high-profile starts from both in their careers.
But Fitzpatrick’s experience may also be a detriment for him receiving any big time offer from the NY Jets or any team. The fact that he’s played for six different teams in his twelve-year career lead many league officials to question whether last year’s Fitzpatrick was a fluke and the real Ryan was on full display in the disappointing, season ending loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 17.
With a chance to advance the Jets to the postseason, Fitzpatrick came up small, tossing multiple interceptions in the loss. Now we’ll be left to wonder a little while longer, if the team truly wants him back.
[Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images]