New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has to be giggling at this news, or at least partially responsible:
The New York Jets have been trying to sign back 2015 starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick this entire offseason. Fitzpatrick has stopped returning messages to his teammates, showing how far apart the two sides have become from a new deal.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall said on Michael Rapaport’s “IAM RAPAPORT” podcast, via the NY Daily News. “To be honest, me and Fitz talk every day, all the time, but I texted him the last two weeks three times and there’s no response. The only thing that he can do to make this right is to say he was on vacation, ‘I was out of the country.’ It’s not like him. It’s scaring me right now. It’s scaring me that my guy hasn’t texted me back.”
The Jets have offered Fitzpatrick a 3-year, $24 million deal, which makes him the starter in 2016 and then the back-up for 2017 and 2018. Fitzpatrick would be okay with a one-year deal at $12 million to hit free agency after this season. The two sides are not close, but the recent signing of DL Muhammad Wilkerson should have opened up enough cap space to bring back Fitzpatrick.
The Jets were the Patriots top competition in 2015, but they also featured one of the oldest rosters in the entire league. They have made an effort to get younger, but they need a competent quarterback like Fitzpatrick if they are going to compete before stars like CB Darrelle Revis, C Nick Mangold, RB Matt Forte, and Marshall retire. It’s not looking good.
If the Jets don’t come together in 2016, their theoretical window is likely over before it ever opened. They will never get a better opportunity, especially with Patriots QB Tom Brady suspended for the first four games of the season. The Bills are likely the second best team in the division if the Jets have to field Geno Smith at quarterback.