FLORHAM PARK, NJ—The New York Jets reported to training camp on Wednesday sans their presumptive starting quarterback.
The contract dispute between quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets lumbered along until it didn’t. Multiple sites report that Fitzpatrick came to terms with the Jets on Wednesday afternoon on a one-year deal worth $12 million.
The veteran quarterback reportedly wanted a deal that averaged $15 million a season. The Jets offered $8 million per (three years for $24 million). So, quite a gap existed between the two sides.They met in the middle on the money but not the length of the deal.
Fitzpatrick, 33, comes off his finest statistical seasons as a pro. He tossed 31 touchdowns and threw for just under 4,000 yards in helping the Jets to a 10-6 record. However, he threw three interceptions in a loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 17, a game that would have given the Jets a playoff spot. That performance hurt his bargaining position.
Upon their arrival in bucolic Florham Park for training camp, Fitzpatrick’s teammates were told my management to say nothing about the quarterback’s contract mess, and they all obliged. Perhaps management knew something that the media didn’t about the closeness of closing the deal.
“I have no idea what is going on between ‘Fitz’ and the organization,” said center Nick Mangold. “They will figure it out. That is on them.”
“I’m not speaking on ‘Fitz’—any questions you will have to ask Coach [Todd] Bowles,” said linebacker Erin Henderson.
The contract that Fitzpatrick felt was commensurate with his skill set is the deal oft-injured quarterback Sam Bradford signed with Philadelphia. The Eagles gave Bradford, a two-year deal for $35 million with $22 million guaranteed. The most important part of NFL deals is the guaranteed money. The rest of the contract is often window-dressing.
If Fitzpatrick didn’t sign, Geno Smith would have been the Jets quarterback in 2016. Most around the league will tell you Smith isn’t as good as Fitzpatrick, so that factor helped Fitz’s leverage a little.