It seems the New York Jets v Ryan Fitzpatrick calamity will soon be coming to a close, and in a manner few predicted. According to NY Daily News Columnist, Manish Mehta, the Jets are ‘not interested in giving Fitzpatrick a one-year, $12-million contract for myriad reasons.’
This report comes just a few days after Fitzpatrick reportedly was not interested in the three-year $24 million offered, and was looking to lock in as the Jets starter under a one-year $12 million deal. But the Jets are now saying there’s no deal to be had there.
It should not come as a surprise to most Jets fans that the team has finally said enough is enough with the back and forth and are now looking elsewhere for answers in the QB spot. With Geno Smith, the Jets projected starter last year before the Enemkpali incident that left him sidelined for the majority of the season, ready and able to step in and fill the role, the Jets aren’t necessarily itching for Fitzpatrick to return.
“There was a sense of poise, comfort, and it was pretty good to watch him kind of manage the situation,” Said Jets’ WR Brandon Marshall on Geno Smith during OTAs. “He seems to be growing, and that’s a good thing for all of us. He’s doing a great job. I’m just happy for the kid. I’m proud of him.”
However, would it be a mistake for the team to move on from Fitzpatrick and onto Geno?
In my opinion, probably not. Despite Fitzpatrick ranking 13th among all QBs last year according to Football Outsiders, the Jets would be wise to make Smith, who is entering his final rookie contract year this season, the 2016 starter and give second-round selection, Christian Hackenberg, space to develop as next year’s starter.
With a reasonable option in Geno waiting at the helm, it is in the Jets best interest to let bygones be bygones and allow Fitzpatrick to move into free agency. Yes, Fitzpatrick had a productive 2015 season and yes he probably deserves a larger contract for what he brings to the table, but the Jets aren’t completely doomed under Smith.
According to reports from Pro Football Talk and NY Daily News, the team is ready to support Smith, who’s already been running the offense in the offseason.
In a recent interview, Jets DB Calvin Pryor said of Smith, “He’s always doing the right things. At first [in previous years], I saw that Geno really didn’t talk to too many people. But now he speaks and he goes about things the right way. That’s what you have to do when you want guys to believe in you. You have to make sure you talk with everyone. You have to have everybody’s trust, everybody believing in you.”
Team support is a big reason why Geno deserves the starting position.
Aside from that, Fitzpatrick was seen as a replacement-level quarterback before his productive 2015 season and despite some seeing Fitzpatrick as the Jets only real QB option at this point, if Geno can at least maintain the offense, the Jets can rely heavily on the defense; a defense which proved to be one of the best in the league last year.
Sure the Jets need Fitzpatrick and Fitzpatrick needs the Jets. If he had other, more lucrative starting options in the works, those deals would have been done by now. But unfortunately for Fitzpatrick it’s not looking that way and he doesn’t seem satisfied with what’s being offered in New York. The Jets would be wise to set the drama aside and move into training camp with a clean slate in Geno and Hackenberg.
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