Fitzpatrick Signs $12 Million Contract with Jets

The final notable free agent remaining is finally off the market with the Jets agreeing to a one year, $12 million contract with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who will retake his spot as the starter with the Jets. This was a contract situation that dragged on for months seemingly for no reason. Fitzpatrick has, more or less, zero options by April besides returning to New York and the Jets had Geno Smith as their other option. Reportedly the Jets had been offering a $24 million contract over three years with $12 million guaranteed so it seems the compromise was to keep the guarantee the same but on just a one year contract. I would think this contract could have been signed by April but both sides dug in and it carried to the start of camp.

I am sure the first thought is that the Jets end up the losers in this since a $12M annual value is worse than the $8 million they wanted. There may be some merit to that but from the Jets perspective things could work out the same despite the bigger price. The Jets have been cautious with Fitzpatrick because Fitzpatrick has all the makings of a one season wonder. You dont want to get locked into this type of player for any length of time as it will normally end badly as Fitzpatricks run with the Buffalo Bills did.  The Jets contract offer was representative of offers made to the highest quality backup quarterbacks which is probably the role the Jets envisioned long term for Fitzpatrick.

Assuming the clock does strike midnight on Fitzpatrick this season it would not be impossible to imagine the Jets bringing Fitzpatrick back as a backup behind 2nd round pick Christian Hackenberg.  The price for Fitzpatrick at that stage would be around $4 million. That would also be around the price that the Jets would pay any other veteran backup. So at the end of the day they still are likely to allot $16 million to veteran quarterbacks over the next two years. If Fitzpatrick defies the odds and plays well the Jets will be more than happy to have forked over the extra few dollars and then go through this dance again next year. Thats why this deal, in my opinion, makes sense for the Jets to do even if the concept of Ryan Fitzpatrick, $12 million man, sounds crazy. They either end up in the same place they would have ended up or they win and dont care so much about the cost.

While it would be better to have the extra years under control, given the Jets other options on the roster the compromise makes sense. For Fitzpatrick it gave him an APY that would match that of Nick Foles (who was coincidentally released today), the current low end starter in the NFL and the chance to hit again in free agency next season. Again I cant see why it took so long to agree to this deal a few months back but it is what it is.

From a cap perspective the Jets do not have the cap space needed to fit a $12 million cap charge on the books this season. That means they will either have to restructure a contract to create cap space of use a voidable contract structure to push cap charges into years where Fitzpartick is not actually under contract. Given that the Jets may look to bring Fitzpartick back next season it would make sense for both sides to have wanted the void structure. For Fitzpatrick it would force the Jets hand by March and for the Jets it keeps them from going deeper on other players, such as Darrelle Revis, where the future can be compromised. If the Jets do go the restructure route they will need to create about $7 million in room to fit in Fitzpatrick and then have space to function during the season when the accouting expands to the full roster.

One way that they can, and probably should, create some cap room would be to trade or release Smith from his contract. Smith is in the final year of his contract and it is clear that he no longer fits into the Jets plans. They drafted Hackenberg and opted for this contract rather than giving Smith a chance to start, despite the lip service from the coaching staff this offseason. Smith’s tenure with the Jets showed some promise at times, but he seemed to lack the discipline needed for the position, missing a team meeting because he went to the movies and having his jaw broken by a teammate last year in an off field issue. Cutting or trading Smith would save the Jets $1.089 million on the cap.  If they do not release Smith releasing Bryce Petty would make sense, though that will only save $525,000.

  • McGeorge

    As a Jets fan, I want to officially go on record and state that Mike Maccagnan is not a good GM. The Jets got a mediocre GM, and will struggle for years to rebuild.
    I enjoyed watching the Jets last year, but in general they have been poor over 5 years and will be a mediocre team this year. They will not improve and become a good team under Maccagna, they will be a 8-8 or 9-7 team under him.

    1. Maccagan blew the huge surplus he got from Idzik, spending it poorly and in fact over spending, as he is short this year. I don’t like how he manages the cap.

    2. I don’t like how he dealt with DBrickshaw Ferguson

    3. The jury is still out on his drafting. No credit for Leonard Williams, as he fell into their lap.

    4. The Jets need to rebuild and he’s wasting money on one shot, short term deals.

    5. He’s thrown away later round draft picks on crap.

    What had Maccagnan done well? What good moves did he make?
    Maybe some of this is Woody Johnson.

    As for Bowles – I don’t like his half time adjustments, and I’m not convinced he’s any good as a HC. But he’s only had 1 year, so in fairness, he needs 2 more years to evaluate him.
    I hope the Jets come in behind the Dolphins and Bills, so Maccagnan (and Bowles) can get fired sooner rather than later. The Jets need to tank so as to get a reasonable QB prospect, instead of wasting 2nd round picks on players like Hackenberg.

    As long as the Patriots don’t win the super bowl, I don’t care who does.
    The Jets under Woody Johnson aren’t a good organization. They drafted well for a few years a long time ago, I guess they just got lucky.

    Woody, please sell the team to a hedge fund manager who will hire a real GM and run it properly (I hoep).

    • Skeptable

      How about trade for Marshall for a 5th, or Fitzpatrick for a 6th?, Pick up Ivory, Quit bitchin… has he made mistakes, yes… but saying he is not good is just dumb.

      • McGeorge

        Maccagan is not a good GM, its a fact.
        I will admit the Marshall trade has worked out great so far.
        As for the Fitzpatrick trade, that was more luck.
        Geno got his jaw broken or else he’d probably have been the starter.

        He didn’t pick up Ivory, that was Idzik. Don’t give him credit for someone elses trade.

    • eddiea

      As you’re tge Jets fan i won’t deny any of your points,but i will admit that Maccagnan screwed up the re-signing of Mo. Idzik/Jets were going to sign him to a deal w/$20M guaranteed but when he got hired he nixed it. Costing Jets $30+M more in just 2 yrs. Is that forgiveable no,b/c he was then wasting money on lesser talented players

  • McGeorge

    Here is what 2017 will bring.
    Hackenberg will start and be a bust.
    The Jets wont be in an especially good cap situation.
    Will they draft yet another QB in 2017?
    Or wait for Hackenberg to be a bust and tank and get a better prospect in 2018?

  • Peterv81

    I don’t see the logic in cutting Geno as suggested above. If you do that, where will you get an experienced backup? Do you think Petty would make a viable backup? I understand you feel Geno is not worthy of a spot on the team considering the direction they are heading but to cut the only viable backup to save less than 2 mil is pretty ridiculous!

    • McGeorge

      1. The Jest aren’t going anywhere this year. so if Fitz gets hurt it makes no difference

      2. Give Petty a chance. If he sucks, no big deal, it’s not like a better back up would get them to the play offs. See waht Petty can do.

      3. There is no difference in going 4-12 or 5-11 as opposed to 6-10 or 7-9 with Geno.

      • Ghoston

        Most teams carry 2 QB’s. I can see Petty trying to be snuck through waivers and placed on the practice squad. Geno can be cut but, predicting a 53 man roster with 6 weeks to go is impossible. Really impossible in the NFL with all the injuries. I am sure you are really mad at the voided year. They have their roster lets see what happens. Its football you never know what happens.