Ryan Fitzpatrick’s free agency experience hasn’t exactly gone as planned.
The quarterback, coming off a career year with the New York Jets, expected to revel in the lottery-type contracts being doled out to quarterbacks like Sam Bradford and Brock Osweiler, both of whom had sub-par seasons when compared to Fitzpatrick. But after being allowed to test the free agent market by the New York Jets, Ryan’s agents are quickly learning the desire for a 33-year-old journeyman coming off a career year is not at the level they expected. And now, add the Denver Broncos to the list of teams snubbing Fitzpatrick’s contract demands as well.
According to a new report by ESPN and NFL Insider Adam Schefter, the Denver Broncos have reached out to free agent Ryan Fitzpatrick’s representatives but are currently “unwilling” to pay the salary that the quarterback is seeking.
Broncos-Ryan Fitzpatrick had initial conversation, price more than Denver wants to spend at this time, and they could revisit talks later.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2016
Rumors are circulating that if this continues and Ryan’s asking price isn’t met by another team, Fitzpatrick may decide to call it quits instead, something ESPN host Mike Greenburg isn’t buying.
No one wants to pay Ryan Fitzpatrick what he wants. Question is: Is he really willing to retire? If not, #Jets played this exactly right.
— Mike Greenberg (@Espngreeny) March 13, 2016
The Broncos seemed like an ideal alternative for Fitzpatrick, who played with a top-ranked defense for the first time in his eleven-year career. Denver recently lost both starting quarterbacks on their roster, with Peyton Manning retiring after 18 seasons and heir-apparent Brock Osweiler bolting for the Houston Texans when NFL free agency began.
But Broncos GM John Elway corrected their desperate situation by trading for Mark Sanchez this past week. Still, as he tweeted, Elway does intend to bring in another proven veteran to compete with Sanchez for the starting job.
Acquired QB Mark Sanchez for a conditional ’17 pick. He brings veteran leadership & will compete. This is the 1st step in our process.
— John Elway (@johnelway) March 11, 2016
This would have made sense for Fitzpatrick if his contract demands weren’t so high. Of course, if he were to lower his asking price, the Jets wouldn’t hesitate to bring Ryan back either.
The other problem Fitzpatrick faces is that there are other quarterbacks with equal resumes seeking work elsewhere. After the Osweiler signing, Brian Hoyer’s name has now come up in trade talks, as reported by NBC Sports, providing desperate teams like New York, Cleveland, or Denver with suitable alternatives until the teams can find their quarterback of the future.
Another stumbling block for Fitzpatrick is that there are younger alternatives also available like Robert Griffin III or Colin Kapernick, whose agents publicly lobbied to be traded to the New York Jets. According to multiple sources, RG III met with team officials this weekend, and there is interest on the Jets’ part in signing him.
One player who would hate to see Fitzpatrick retire or bolt for free agency, however, is the Jets’ Brandon Marshall, who according to the NY Daily News is not happy entertaining the thought of losing Ryan on the open market.
“The way we communicate, the way we practice together, the way we bring other guys together, I’ve never seen that anywhere else,” Marshall said on the Rich Eisen Show Friday. “And I’ve been a lot of places. And I’ve had a lot of quarterbacks. So that’s the toughest thing for me when I think about him potentially putting on another jersey.”
In the end, it would make sense for both sides to come to an agreement soon. But in the world of the NFL, nothing is guaranteed.
[Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images]