FLORHAM PARK, NJ — Hours before the 2016 NFL draft began, ESPN’s NFL insider Adam Schefter reported that Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick “has told people he would ‘rather not play football’ than play for the Jets at their contract offer.”
The Jets reportedly offer Fitzpatrick a deal worth around $8 million annually. According to myriad published reports, the QB wants double that.
“There is a lot of chatter out there that he’d rather retire than play for the offer they have on the table,” Schefter said on ESPN Radio.
Fitzpatrick, 33, is coming off the finest season of his 11-year career, throwing 31 touchdowns.
He saw fellow middle-tier quarterbacks such as Brock Osweiler (Houston) and Sam Bradford (Philadelphia) get megabucks this offseason, and he wants a similar payday.
Osweiler, who boasts seven career starts in four NFL seasons, received a four-year, $72 million contract with $37 million guaranteed.
The injury-prone Bradford, who has blown out his left knee twice, got a two-year deal for $35 million with $22 million guaranteed.
So, Osweiler got a deal averaging $18 million per season, and Bradford got one with a $17.5 average. Perhaps it’s understandable that Fitzpatrick is unhappy with an offer for so much less.
“They have not upped the offer at all,” said Schefter, who knows Fitzpatrick’s agent Jimmy Sexton quite well. “There has been zero conversation between Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets — zero.”
But while significant financial chasm lays between the Jets and their presumptive starting QB, the team’s brass remains confident they can get him re-signed, eventually. In fact, they passed on Memphis QB Paxton Lynch with the 20th pick of the draft, and opted for Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee. There had been rampant speculation the Jets would pick Lynch to replace Fitzpatrick.
But according to Schefter the Jets might be wearing rose-colored glasses.
“I will say this, I think the Jets are a lot more optimistic that this gets done than the player is optimistic it gets done,” said Schefter.
If Fitzpatrick walks away, he should do well in his life after a football. People with Harvard degrees generally do.