The New York Jets report to training camp the day after tomorrow and yes Ryan Fitzpatrick is still unsigned.
A Daily News article today gave a headline impression there was recent movement in negotiations. Yet, the body of the article states the Jets have made one other offer outside of their widely reported 3 year, 24 million dollar contract, with no indication that it happened recently. (it apparently did not).
What are internal deadlines to keep an eye on and how could both sides continue to posture?
The Jets next wave of posturing is likely to resemble this: effusive praise for Geno Smith, who practiced well last summer and probably will do the same this year, coupled with leaks of trade interest in Josh McCown or Nick Foles. The day the Jets sign or trade a veteran quarterback this summer is the day you know they have revoked Ryan Fitzpatrick’s contract offer. They aren’t at that point yet but it wouldn’t shock me to see a few “reports” bubbling in the next week or so about them having interest in a few veterans.
On Fitzpatrick’s side, Jimmy Sexton could get his client’s name linked with a few other teams looking for a veteran backup or camp competition. I wouldn’t even put it past him to leak something about Fitzpatrick and New England, even though the Patriots would probably have no interest and FItz would be an inactive third stringer by week 5. They could also opt to be patient and bet that Smith will play poorly in the summer, leading to enough internal and external pressure to budge on Fitzpatrick’s contract.
August 11th is the Jets first pre-season game, The date of walking away from Fitzpatrick negotiations is probably some time right around there. You can say whatever you want about when Fitzpatrick began taking starting reps with the Jets last year, he was still with the team throughout the entire offseason and early weeks of camp in 2015. They aren’t going to bring him in a few days before the second pre-season game, after 10-12 practices and immediately hand him the starting job. And make no mistake, if they pay Fitzpatrick 24M+ dollars, it isn’t to compete. It is to start.We saw from the Mo Wilkerson deal, the Jets can get things done up against a deadline. Training camp is two days away. The first practice is three days away. Once we get past that? Each passing day he isn’t signed, the likelihood of it occurring radically begins dropping off. Smith isn’t going to tank in practices or pre-season action and internally the push to move forward will eventually win out.
This Fitzpatrick contract can still happen and it is fair to argue it is still more than 50% likely to get done but nobody around this team thought this would be unresolved as of July 25th…
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com