COLUMN: Jets Handling Fitzpatrick Contract Negotiations Just Right

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Ryan Fitzpatrick is still a free agent. The same Ryan Fitzpatrick that threw 31 touchdowns last season and helped the Jets improve their win total by six games from the previous season. I have been campaigning for the Jets to bring back Fitzpatrick since the offseason has started, but it has to be at the right price. The Jets have made it clear that they will not overspend on Fitzpatrick just because other NFL teams are spending wild on quarterbacks. Good football teams don't negotiate against themselves. 

The problem for Fitzpatrick is nobody has any idea what his real value is. We saw guys like Sam Bradford with a career starting record of 25-37-1 as a starter receive a crazy two year deal. We saw Brock Osweiler with SEVEN CAREER STARTS earn a contract that will pay him 18 million dollars a season. What separates those guys from Fitzpatrick is age. Fitzpatrick will turn 34 next season and teams don't view him as a long term solution, which in return hurts his value. Bradford is 28, and Osweiler is only 25. Both of those quarterbacks are being paid more so on potential than for what they have done in their careers. So as ridiculous as those contracts are for those two quarterbacks, your value as a player is determined by what other teams are willing to pay. Simple supply and demand. 

Fitzpatrick’s career year is exactly what it sounds like - a career year. Did Fitzpatrick find something last season playing with great talent around him or is he really the guy that threw three 4th quarter interceptions against the Bills in a win and you're in game? I do believe that he gives the Jets the best chance to win. I don’t think throwing 31 touchdowns is by accident. I watched Fitzpatrick make clutch throws and develop unbelievable chemistry with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. I saw a QB excel with playmakers around him in a offensive system coached by Chan Gailey that he knows like the back of his hand. Fitzpatrick’s value to the Jets is greater than it is to other teams and the alternative options out there for the Jets just aren’t good enough. Colin Kaepernick is too expensive and risky, RG3 hasn’t played in almost two seasons, and I don’t think I need to tell to Jets fans about Geno Smith. 

Every player wants to be paid and Fitzpatrick deserves to be properly compensated, but his agent, Jimmy Sexton, is completely overvaluing his clients value if he thinks a team is going to offer Fitzpatrick anything close to what Bradford and Osweiller signed for. The reports are that the Jets are offering Fitzpatrick less than 10 million dollars a season. I can understand why Fitzpatrick is unhappy with that offer. Middle ground is going to have to be made in order for Fitzpatrick to return to the Jets. However, I don’t see other quarterback needing teams throwing all this money Fitzpatrick’s way. Maccagnan, is making sure that if a deal is reached - it’s on the Jets terms.