What a rush! Two seasons of a wild roller coaster packed with excitement and dynamite at the end.
Hindsight: The Jets traded for Ryan Fitzpatrick in March of 2015. He was never intended to be the starter (they gave up a conditional 7th rounder) but merely brought in to challenge the challenged Geno Smith in Chan Gailey’s offense. Then…
Ow: Fitz became the defacto starter because Geno ran his face into I.K. Enemkpali’s fist. The team was average at best for the first 10 weeks – he never threw for more than 2 TD’s, more that 300 yards and the team was 5-5 – before cratering out to his old team the Texans.
London called & the bridge was falling: The Jets stomped on the Dolphins, Fitz threw 4 TD’s and he got hot the rest of the year throwing a total of 15 TD’s in the final six weeks. Then Fitz was Fitz in Buffalo and the Jets playoffs hopes were dashed.
2016: Fitz wants a BIG contract. Fitz wants to cash out the rest of his career. Fitz wants the Jets to pay. Big Mac isn’t buying it – Mike Maccagnan has always intended to rebuild the team, Fitz won’t fit into that plan. However, there are still a bunch of high priced veterans on the team that want to win and think they can win it all if Fitz is under Nick Mangold’s butt. Those players would be Mangold, Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and presumably many others.
Poison Pill: Fitz and his agent tried every trick in the book from drumming up false interest from other teams (Broncos weren’t buying), getting Decker and Marshall to sit out in mini-camp (white noise) to possibly retiring (No one believed it). In late May, after tensions started to rise, the Jets leaked they had an offer of 3 years, $24 million [$12 million in the first year] out to Fitz. Two long months later, Fitz finally signed the deal, for $12 million in one year. Mac won the battle, but everyone lost the war.
It wasn’t meant to be: Fitz let the contract negotiations poison the good will well and the bad blood finally surfaced after a win over the Ravens. Fitzpatrick never recognized that Mac didn’t see him and the other veterans as part of the long term solution for the team. He could have signed a smart deal for both sides, made good decisions on the field (those turnovers) and cashed out in 2017 with a long term deal elsewhere – after all, he would have strung together two straight good seasons in a league that pays Mike Glennon and Brock Osweiler monopoly money.
Greener Pastures: The Jets had two average QBs on the roster who could be streaky, but neither were in the long term view of Maccagnan’s plans… Part 2.