While many onlookers jump all over Ryan Fitzpatrick for holding true to his demands, they fail to see just what the New York Jets are doing.
By not offering a somewhat solid contract, Mike Maccagnan and company are basically projecting the idea that they don’t think the 33-year old journeyman QB can duplicate his 31 touchdown performance in 2015.
They are challenging the very essence of Fitzpatrick’s football manhood.
From the Harvard graduate’s point of view, he finally found a home. Upon IK Enemkpali‘s punch heard round the world, Fitz assumed the most important position in all of sports. And he did so to the tune of 31 touchdowns – the most in franchise history.
While he did collect a decent payday in Buffalo once upon a time, in Fitzpatrick’s mind this was it. After stints in St. Louis, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Tennessee, and Houston, he’d finally be able to cash in with the team he’s supposed to be with: the New York Jets.
Mikey Mac had other ideas.
Mikey Mac is looking at reality. He’s looking at how soft the schedule was a season ago. He’s looking at Fitz’s shaky history.
The Jets second-year GM is basically saying “we don’t think you can do it again.”
The offers that are coming forth reflect that mindset.
The first reported contract laid out on the table had the numbers of 3-years and $24 million (with the possibility of $36 million in very questionable incentives). This first report came from Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post.
Next came word from Gary Myers of the New York Daily News that Fitz was willing to take a 1-year deal worth $12 million in guaranteed money. It was clear Myers was funneling Fitz’s message to the public – something that the public failed to hear prior to the Cannizzaro report. Before it, everything was kept behind closed doors.
Then, Manish Mehta of the News fired back with the Jets point of view of why they would be unwilling to offer Fitz a simple one-year offer. The main crux of the reasoning comes down the fact that Fitz’s request of a one-year deal would essentially hurt the Jets salary cap in 2016. The hit would be much larger, making it much more difficult to maneuver around shedding salary to fit him in.
After all, Maccagnan has just $3,089,456 in cap space to play with at the moment. There are a myriad of ways to go – as it relates to shedding salary – but, of course, the lighter cap hit for Fitz in 2016, the better the roster will be come August.
— Elite Sports NY (@EliteSportsNY) June 4, 2016
So, here we sit, four months into an ugly, now very public contract negotiation. Jimmy Sexton (Fitz’s agent) on one side and Mikey Mac on the other.
We now know the Jets could have Fitz back if they just eliminated years two and three of the reported 3-year deal. We also know the Jets will not do it because it’ll crush the cap right now.
Fitz, much like the rest of reasonable Jets fandom, knows that the 3-year reported deal offered is a slap in the face to a guy who just broke the Jets single-season record for touchdowns in a season. $12 million is reasonable for the first year. A total of $12 million for the following two seasons isn’t.
It was that total of $12 million for years two and three coupled with the fact the Jets are daring the Harvard grad to bolt for another franchise is what’s really the headline here.
Not only are the Jets offering too little for a guy they desperately need, but they’re challenging his football manhood.
Fitzpatrick was around all of 2015. He understands the level for which the Jets believe in Geno Smith. He realizes how raw Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg are. He knows his value is great to the organization.
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All he’s asking for is respect. He’s not receiving it.
Look around at the salaries other starting quarterbacks are raking in at the moment. The reported 3-year deal is a slap in the face. Call it business at the National Football League level. Call it whatever you may.
The easy solution is a 3-year deal worth $36 million with about $18-$24 guaranteed. Maccagnan and the Jets aren’t there yet.
And because they’re not there yet, they continue to challenge Ryan Fitzpatrick’s football manhood.
Will he ever make good on that threat to sign for less elsewhere? Well, so far he’s stuck around in the big city.
Stay tuned. Only time will tell how this ugliness ends up.