It seems the speculation could be true. New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker did skip OTAs because Ryan Fitzpatrick remains unsigned.
New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker didn’t show up to the team’s first two OTA practices and the reason why might be troubling for Jets fans.
Decker skipped the the first two optional sessions because of his dissatisfaction with the front office’s handling of the Ryan Fitzpatrick situation, according to a report from the New York Post’s Brian Costello.
Fitzpatrick remains unsigned after posting a career year during his first season in the Big Apple. Fitzpatrick threw for 3,905 yards and a single-season franchise record 31 touchdowns, 12 of which were to Decker. The Jets have reportedly offered him a contract in the range of $7 million to $8 million annually, which Fitzpatrick’s representation believes is below market value.
Earlier this week Fitzpatrick told the media he has no plans of retiring, despite threatening to leave the game before accepting the Jets’ offer. He also said he wants to return to New York, which may have generated some optimism regarding the negotiations.
Eric Decker skipped OTAs this week because he is upset the organization has yet to sign Ryan Fitzpatrick, according to a source. #nyj
— Brian Costello (@BrianCoz) May 26, 2016
However, neither side has a ton of leverage. Pretty much every team in the NFL has a starting quarterback in place, barring injury. The market also spoke loudly and clearly to Fitzpatrick earlier in the offseason when no team ran to offer him a contract closer to market value.
On the other side, the Jets would likely turn to the mercurial Geno Smith as the team’s starter if Fitzpatrick didn’t return. Smith has struggled throughout his short NFL career and hasn’t shown much upside in three seasons.
Now, it’s important to note that Decker isn’t breaking any rules. These workouts are voluntary and plenty of veterans don’t show up to them. Fellow veterans Nick Mangold and Brandon Marshall also weren’t in attendance this week. Mangold’s wife delivered a baby Wednesday afternoon, and Marshall’s reason for missing practice is unknown.
But, it’s important to note that Decker has taken a stance in the Fitzpatrick standoff, and it’s not with the organization. This may be a week-long protest, or something that extends deeper into the summer. Granted, Decker’s actions probably won’t change Mike Maccagnan’s view on the journeyman quarterback who had a career revitalization in the Big Apple.
Either way, Decker has drawn his line in the sand.