Nearly two weeks of NFL Free Agency 2016 has passed and former New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick still has no home. And according to ESPN, his status won’t resolve itself until another team’s high profile QB finds his first.
As reported by Jets blogger Rich Cimini, the Ryan Fitzpatrick soap opera with the New York Jets won’t resolve itself until the No. 1 domino in the quarterback market falls — Colin Kaepernick.
“If Kaepernick is traded to the Denver Broncos, it crushes what little leverage Fitzpatrick has. The Broncos are thought to be the only team not named the Jets that has a level of interest in him. If Kaepernick lands somewhere else, perhaps the Cleveland Browns, it improves Fitzpatrick’s bargaining position.”
The Broncos recently inquired about Fitzpatrick’s services, as reported by Mike Silver of NFL Media after the Jets and Ryan’s agents reached a stalemate in their negotiations.
While the Broncos try to close the Kaepernick trade, they’re formulating backup plans. Have been in touch with agent for Ryan Fitzpatrick.
— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) March 10, 2016
According to multiple sources, Fitzpatrick is seeking a contract in the neighborhood of what the Eagles gave Sam Bradford and the Texans gave Brock Osweiler, which is around $18 million dollars. After the season Ryan had — 31 TDs and 3,905 yards passing — it’s hard to argue he isn’t deserving of it, especially considering how much better he played than either of those two quarterbacks.
But many pundits, and likely Jets GM Mike Maccagnan, could argue that Ryan’s record setting 2015 season was the exception and not the norm for the 11-year veteran, who’s played for six different teams, including the New York Jets. It also helped that Chan Gailey, the offensive coordinator for New York, was also Ryan’s coach when he enjoyed his most productive years with the Buffalo Bills.
The thought of paying a journeyman an elite salary is just too steep, especially considering there isn’t another team willing to pay him what he wants, either. As reported by Adam Schefter, Fitzpatrick’s contract demands were also too rich for the Denver Broncos, leaving Fitzpatrick’s people scrambling for suitors.
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
There is also talk that Fitzpatrick could retire rather than settle for less, a theory that many, including ESPN’s Mike Greenberg, dismisses.
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
Should Fitzpatrick actually make good on that threat however, it appears New York Jets GM Mike Maccagnan is ready to move on without him. In a conference call with reporters, Maccagnan even went so far as to hint the team could turn back to former 2nd round pick Geno Smith, as reported by the New York Daily News, if Ryan decides to play elsewhere or retire.
“With Geno, we haven’t really had him as a starter for us, but he would definitely be a possibility to step in to that role,” Maccagnan said. “He never really had a chance to… compete for the job, so he’s a bit of an unknown really.”
As for Colin Kaepernick, his future with the San Francisco 49ers is also undecided at the time, though head coach Chip Kelly has gone out of his way to stress that he’d like to coach the former Pro Bowl QB.
“I’d love to have him. I’m a big Kap fan,” Kelly said Thursday after Stanford’s pro day, as reported by USA Today. But whether or not Colin wants to play for Chip is a whole other story. And one that could inadvertently impact Ryan Fitzpatrick re-signing with the New York Jets.
[Ryan Fitzpatrick photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images. Colin Kaepernick photo by Elsa/Getty Images]