The free agent quarterback market was thin again this year, as evidenced by the contract the Houston Texans and Brock Osweiler agreed to based on seven career starts. Ryan Fitzpatrick has a longer track record, to say nothing of coming off the best season of his career with the New York Jets, but any significant market for his services has never materialized.
The Jets and Fitzpatrick have remained far apart in contract talks, with no real end in sight based on what’s being reported. ESPN’s Adam Schefter added another layer to the story on Thursday, with a report that Fitzpatrick would “rather not play football” than play for the Jets and their latest contract offer. The team has reportedly offered Fitzpatrick $7-8 million annually, with the quarterback possibly looking for double that.
At 33 years old with 11 seasons in the NFL, Fitzpatrick is presumably just fine financially. So it’s hard to see his stance being strictly money-driven, and it comes off as a negotiating line in the sand to get things moving. Unless the Jets take a quarterback during the second day of the draft on Friday, or a surprising trade for a veteran happens, they will still have a need at the position. Brian Hoyer could become a viable option after the draft, but it goes without saying that Fitzpatrick is the better quarterback.
It’s easy to envision the Jets and Fitzpatrick working things out, since there doesn’t appear to be a lot of animosity from either side. It might not happen until next week, when the dust settles after the draft and any interest in other available veteran signal-callers can be completely dismissed, but Fitzpatrick should be under center for the Jets come Week 1.