New York Jets Rumors: Team Ready To Move Geno Smith Back To Starter If Ryan Fitzpatrick Can’t Strike A Deal

The New York Jets are rumored to be considering a move back to Geno Smith, returning to their 2013 draft pick if Ryan Fitzpatrick can’t reach terms on a new contract.

Fitzpatrick enjoyed a career season with the Jets in 2015, throwing for 31 touchdowns and leading the team to a 10-6 record and the cusp of the playoffs. But he has failed to strike a new deal with the Jets, who reportedly balked at the asking price for the now free agent quarterback.

While many believe that the New York Jets will find some middle ground with Ryan Fitzpatrick, the team is rumored to be ready to go back to Geno Smith if he can’t make a deal.

Jets offensive lineman Willie Colon, who is now a free agent but expected to retire soon, said he believes the move back to Smith is a likely one.

“I think Geno’s been humbled,” Colon said (via NJ.com). “I think he’s taken on everything; I think he’s ready to rise. I still have confidence in him. I think with the pieces we have around him, and continue to put around him, he can be successful. I honestly believe that. I think Geno’s a good quarterback.”

That is especially big praise coming from Colon, who said last year that he didn’t believe Geno Smith was ready to be a starter in the NFL. Smith was on pace to start last year, but a lockeroom fight with IK Enemkpali left Smith with a broken jaw and allowed Fitzpatrick to seize the starting job, which he didn’t relinquish all year.

Despite the rumors of a return to Geno Smith, the New York Jets are still busy working on a new deal for Ryan Fitzpatrick. Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan said Friday that the Jets may have some room to move closer to what Fitzpatrick is seeking.

“We like Ryan — we’d like to have Ryan back — but at the end of the day, it’s free agency,” Maccagnan told reporters on a conference call (via ESPN). “You go through it. At some point in time, hopefully, we can find a middle ground we’re both happy with.”

Fitzpatrick is seeking something close to the bottom range of franchise quarterback money, roughly $15 million to $16 million, but the Jets are only offering about half of that.

Maccagnan said that the team would ultimately like to get Fitzpatrick back, and there is good reason. The Jets have struggled to find a strong quarterback play, and with their playoff-ready defense Fitzpatrick’s return could put them right back in contention.

“We feel we have a very good situation for Ryan here,” Maccagnan said. “He’s a very good fit for us. Our goal eventually is to get Ryan under contract and go forward with that.”

If the Jets are able to bring back Ryan Fitzpatrick at the lower range of his asking price, it could be a help to keeping other players. D’Brickashaw Ferguson, a 10-year starter, has a $14 million cap charge ahead and could be asked to take a pay cut, ESPN notes.

But the New York Jets are rumored to have some other options lined up if Ryan Fitzpatrick is not to return. This week the team has hosted Robert Griffin III, and though they are not in the thick of the race for the former Washington Redskins starter, they are reportedly keeping him as a possibility.

[Picture by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]