Sam Bradford is staying with the Philadelphia Eagles having re-upped for a two-year deal worth $22 million guaranteed. And while that kind of news shouldn’t impact other teams, in the case of Ryan Fitzptrick and the New York Jets, Bradford’s signing could have far-reaching impact on the team’s attempt to resign “Fitzmagic.”
As reported by ESPN’s Jets blogger Rich Cimini, the Sam Bradford contract could impact talks with Fitzpatrick, making it more difficult for the cap-strapped Jets to re-sign Ryan.
“As for the actual deal, yes, I think it could impact Fitzpatrick in terms of the structure, if not the overall value,” Cimini said.
“Understandably, the Eagles didn’t want to go all-in with the oft-injured Bradford, who still hasn’t lived up to his lofty draft status as a former No. 1 overall pick. So the two sides came up with a ‘bridge’ contract, with the Eagles paying a pretty penny to have that second-year flexibility. I think that kind of structure makes a lot of sense for Fitzpatrick and the Jets, who probably don’t want to commit long term to a 33-year-old quarterback.”
Unlike last season when New York’s first year general manager Mike Maccagnan had bundles of cash to spend on free agents, the Jets are trying to balance a limited amount of spending money against a bevy of in-house free agents they’d like to somehow keep. That list includes the aforementioned Fitzpatrick, along with defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson, nose tackle Damon Harrison, and running back Chris Ivory.
Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News thinks it’s inevitable that the Jets will retain Fitzpatrick’s services, but expects other free agents to bolt simply because their asking price will be too high.
“Pro Bowl running back Chris Ivory appears to be a goner, because at least one other team will pony up more money. It makes sense to re-sign Bilal Powell, but would you be surprised if he walked too?” Mehta asks.
The real issue appears to be Wilkerson, who was given the franchise tag earlier this month as a means to stave off any immediate decisions on the Pro Bowl defensive lineman. The team would like to re-sign the 26-year-old of course, but as mentioned, their cap limitations makes it next to impossible to retain both Wilkerson and Harrison.
Fitzpatrick, meanwhile, is expected to resign, but the Bradford deal could increase Ryan’s asking price after having a career year with the Jets. Fitzpatrick broke several team records when he threw for 31 touchdowns and 3,905 yards in his first season with the team. It helped, of course, that he had Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall on one side of the line and solid No. 2 receiver Eric Decker on the other.
But with the kind of offensive production in New York not seen since the Vinny Testaverde days, the team would like to keep the chemistry going and not have to resort to forgotten man Geno Smith to helm the ship should Fitzpatrick do the unthinkable and leave.
One other factor clouding the mix is the rumor that Colin Kapernick wants out of San Francisco and that his preferred team was the Jets. While new head coach Chip Kelly (who was ironically Sam Bradford’s coach last year) and 49ers GM Trent Baalke both gave Colin the thumbs up, rumors are still persisting that Kapernick’s agents are demanding a trade.
But it appears the Jets ave little interest in bringing the once bright 28-year-old signal caller over to the team. So for now, all eyes turn toward the New York Jets and their negotiations with Fitzpatrick. They have until March 9 to come to some sort of agreement before Ryan hits the open market.
[Sam Bradford Photo By Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Ryan Fitzpatrick Photo By Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images]