Ryan Fitzpatrick needs the Jets more than the Jets need Ryan Fitzpatrick. I don't care who says otherwise. Until Jets owner Woody Johnson tells me that he needs Fitz more than Fitz needs him, I'm stickin' to my story… But! If the Jets don't sign Fitzpatrick, they'll never know what newly acquired and perfect fit Matt Forte, as well as second-year man Brandon Marshall and veteran Eric Decker, could have produced with Fitzpatrick under center.
This is a dangerous team with Fitzpatrick leading it -- opposing defenses do not want to game plan for Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker -- but if Geno Smith is leading them, you have to imagine that teams facing the Jets will feel they have an edge. Geno is not the answer if the Jets are serious about their Super Bowl aspirations.
Gang Green deserves a chance at seeing what Fitzpatrick can do on the field surrounded by the greatest collection of elite talent this franchise has ever fielded. It's up to Woody Johnson and Ryan Fitzpatrick to settle a deal. Given all that, I still think the $16 or $18 million per year that Fitzpatrick is reportedly seeking is way too high, and apparently so does Woody Johnson.
The "saga" between Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets is like a superstar singer and a Las Vegas hotel that can't agree on terms. Unfortunately for Johnson and the Jets, there aren't any other superstar singers on the strip that can take Ryan's spot, not to mention the fact that Fitzpatrick has great chemistry with the hotel's band members, a.k.a. the Jets offense. If Woody trots out a bruised and beaten Geno Smith in front of the crowd, fans might boo, but MetLife won't go bust. The Jets might not bring home a banner, but Woody Johnson and co. will still bring home the bacon in spite of the fact that Ryan Fitzpatrick won't be there to throw post-corner routes to Brandon Marshall for touchdowns.
Allow me to put my screenwriting skills to work and assume what the battle of ideologies at the negotiating table sounds like.
I give this team the best chance to win and the only chance to make a playoff run. The fans want me, the team wants me and I want to be part of the team. There's no one left for this organization to sign that can produce like me. We were one game away from our first playoff birth in years, let's finish what we started. Let's make a deal and make a run at the Super Bowl.
You can take the most money you've ever been offered in your career and ride off into the sunset with a playoff run and potentially more, or you can keep asking other teams around the NFL if they're willing to pay you 18 million per year for the next three years, and if you don't get it, you can look back while you're sitting on your La-Z-boy and think what could have been. We'll get another shot at a Super Bowl, you won't.
On May 30, Rich Cimini of ESPN reported that the Jets offered Fitzpatrick "$12 million in the first year … the hang up, from the Fitzpatrick perspective, is the second- and third-year payout. The combined salary for 2017 and 2018 is $12 million, making it a three-year $24 million offer … it's not known how much of that, if any, is guaranteed," adding, "Fitzpatrick has no other known suitors. The only team willing to hand him a starting job is the Jets."