FLORHAM PARK, NJ — Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who signed a one-year, $12 million contract with the Jets on Thursday, said he could never have played under the team’s three-year, $24 million offer.
The three-year deal paid him $12 million guaranteed in the first year, and the final two years were for $12 million total with $3 million guaranteed.
“They have to do right by them, but I expressed to them, I would never except an offer like that,” Fitzpatrick said. “At that point, one [year] for 12 [million dollars] would be a nice compromise. Then I would be able to play here for a year, and kind of take the pressure off them because they got the deal done and put it all on me. I thought that is what a reasonable compromise would be.”
Fitzpatrick clearly took the three-year offer as a slap in the face. That contract proposal essentially paid him starter money in 2016 and compensated him like a backup the final two years.
“How could I look myself in the mirror and say: ‘Yeah, I’ll try to play good this year and then next year I’ll collect some checks and teach the young guys,’” Fitzpatrick said. “That’s not who I am. It’s not my nature.”
Fitzpatrick is coming off a career year, tossing 31 touchdowns and throwing for almost 4,000 yards in helping the Jets to a 10-6 record in 2015. He hurt his bargaining position by throwing three picks in a must-win game against the Buffalo Bills. But it should be pointed out that the team’s star cornerback, Darrelle Revis, also had a poor game. Plenty of blame to go around.
So, Fitzpatrick basically told the Jets to take their three-year offer and shove it, and will bet on himself this year. If he has a good season, he will be able to cash in with the Jets in 2017 or elsewhere.