Now that defensive leader Darrelle Revis has spoken, Mike Maccagnan and the New York Jets have a huge problem on their hands.
The New York Jets have quite the problem brewing on their hands, and Mike Maccagnan knows it.
This, however, isn’t the problem. Long public contract bouts happen enough to not feel floored by the situation.
The problem for Mikey Mac is that, as long as this summer progresses with Fitz in street clothes, his veteran laced team will start to question exactly what the franchise is doing.
These NFL veterans will start to ask themselves, “what are we doing here? Are we here to win in 2016, or are we here to just barely get by?”
“Are we really serious about winning, or are we a work in progress?”
The message Maccagnan is sending to his team is that winning right now isn’t a complete priority over maintaining full financial flexibility moving forward. It’s a tricky situation. There’s no question about it.
By now every fan of the green and white knows who supports Fitzpatrick. His wide receivers, Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall, have both made their words public about how much they want their guy back. Marshall’s love for his QB has actually crossed into the obsession (while maintaining hilarity) level:
Through it all, however, both WRs have also maintained their confidence in current starting QB Geno Smith. Playing on the offensive side of the ball means a very diplomatic approach must be met when a QB and his contract are involved.
“There’s a thin line between supporting your teammate and being detrimental to the team. … At this point, it’s time for all of us to move forward and try to figure out how we can win some games,” Brandon Marshall said, via Rich Cimini of ESPN New York.
The entire game changed for Maccagnan earlier this week when the face of the franchise spoke out.
“We want him back, we want to see him walk in this locker room,” Revis said in his first public comments since the end of the 2015 season.
“Ryan is a big part of our success. He definitely is,” Revis said. “He came here, he’s broken a bunch of records in the quarterback category. And he was a big part of our offense.
“This has been going on all offseason and we’re waiting for him to come back and play.”
Revis is a guy who’s been around the NFL block. He played with Tom Brady, won a Super Bowl, and four playoff games with Mark Sanchez and Rex Ryan. He’s a guy that garners respect in Jet-land whenever he opens his mouth.
Whether or not the average onlooker believes Maccaganan is doing the right thing with Fitzpatrick isn’t the important thing here. What’s important is realizing how the ongoing situation will affect the Jets 2016 situation.
The Jets aren’t a young team. Look around the field. Marshall is 32; Decker is 29; Forte is 30; Revis is 30; Nick Mangold is 32; the list goes on and on. Should this Fitz situation reach a point of no return this summer, these Jets veterans are going to make some noise and Maccagnan will be backed into a corner.
This is the last thing Maccagnan wants.
Should the outcry continue from Jets veterans, Maccagnan will then feel forced to either get a deal done with Fitzpatrick or create a hard stance in proclaiming Geno the starter. If he takes option B, he better be right, because if he’s not these veterans won’t forgive him.
Marshall, Decker, Revis – these guys were on the 2015 roster. They were around the QBs all season long. They have a firm belief on who provides them with the best chance to win in 2016.
This is just the first blow to Maccagnan (words from Revis). Marshall and Decker can’t take things too far. But if a strong enough grumbling from below the surface starts to boil over in that locker room, the Jets could be facing dysfunction all season long.
That is, unless, Geno Smith actually comes in and throws for 31 touchdowns to just 15 interceptions. Anything short of that and these Jets players will be unhappy campers.
Fans saw Fitzpatrick succeed in 2015. Fitz’s teammates actually felt what it was like to benefit from the QB’s play in 2015.
Be careful Mikey Mac. Time is almost up before your personnel starts to officially grumble collectively.