It’s OK to chose sides in the saga of Ryan Fitzpatrick and the New York Jets. What’s not OK is to disrespect either side.
By Robby Sabo
So much anger. So little justification for this anger.
As it pertains to the dealings of Ryan Fitzpatrick and the New York Jets, anger is an emotion fully entrenched.
The problem is, all of the anger is coming from the outside.
Anybody who can conduct a rational thought understands one very important thing: Fitzpatrick and the Jets are in love with each other. These two are already married (without the ring).
After 10 journeyman-like seasons in the National Football League, the Harvard product finally found a home. This bearded one threw for a Jets single-season record 31 touchdown passes a season ago – easily the best mark of his career.
From a Jets point of view, Fitz essentially saved their season. Fitzpatrick stepped in seamlessly upon news that IK Enemkpali broke the jaw of New York’s starting quarterback last August, making the front office’s feeling about Geno Smith a moot point.
The Jets needed a guy to hold the bag until a real, bonafide franchise quarterback was discovered, and Fitzpatrick needed a real home.
It couldn’t have been more perfect for both parties.
Now, thanks to a drawn-out, well publicized contract negotiation between both sides, onlookers have allowed fury to build behind their eyes.
They sit there, behind computers, judging. Some feel anger towards the Jets due to the fact the man who rescued a season is still a free agent. Most, however, become outraged that a 33-year old borderline starting quarterback in the NFL actually asked for $15 million-plus per season.
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This is the question.
Why so angry?
What Ryan Fitzpatrick and the New York Jets are both doing is conducting business. They are conducting big-boy NFL business at the moment.
The Jets know – thanks to the market that has spoken very firmly to the QB in question – that Fitz needs the Jets. By the same token, Fitz knows – thanks to his experience in the locker room in 2015 – that the Jets desperately need him.
Fitzpatrick was closer to the situation than any of us. He knows how ready, or completely raw Bryce Petty is. He knows the Jets don’t have any faith in Geno. If he thought there was a chance they’d say “get lost” and go with Geno, he wouldn’t be playing this game right now.
A deal hasn’t gotten done yet simply because it hasn’t had to get done yet.
A recent article titled “Ryan Fitzpatrick too ignorant to see opportunity” came to my attention the other day.
Honestly, there are no words.
To call a man “ignorant,” is to basically make the claim that he doesn’t fully understand or grasp the situation in front of him. Now how could somebody make that claim?
Perhaps Fitz is comfortable with the situation. Perhaps Fitz, with that brilliant Harvard degree he carries around in his back-pocket, is a terrific business man. I mean, he’s already collected a big contract once in his career (thank you Buffalo). Why not try again?
This guy, who’s coming off a 31/15 season in a quarterback crazed league, is asking for a bundle of money. He’s also doing it thanks to the likes of Brock Osweiler, Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel cashing in ridiculous paychecks this offseason. Three quarterbacks who can’t sniff the resume Fitzpatrick has.
If you want to have the opinion that Fitz is overselling himself in the market, you may certainly think that way. Hell, the market has spoken, he did oversell himself.
But to call the man “ignorant” goes way beyond fandom or journalism.
In fact, what Fitzpatrick and the Jets have managed to do (in keeping it strictly business), this writer in question (who used the “ignorant” word) couldn’t do.
This writer made it very personal.
For all we know, Mike Maccagnan and Fitzpatrick already have a wink-wink deal in place. For all we know, Fitz is essentially on the 2016 roster, with the trimming of the salary-cap as the only roadblock.
Patience, young ones. The Fitz-Jets marriage is exactly what you think it is. It’s still a marriage. The back-and-forth in the media is simply two veteran parties playing the grownup game that is the NFL negotiating table.
It will get done. If it doesn’t, that’s business in the NFL, and Fitzpatrick is willing to take that gamble.
He’s willing, not ignorant.
Fitzpatrick has been around the block long enough to earn a seat at the big-boy table. If you don’t like what he asked for, so be it. But don’t disrespect the man, he doesn’t deserve that.