When the Jets swooped in at the eleventh hour and signed franchise-tagged defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson to a long-term deal just before the deadline for doing so, many interpreted the move as a sign that, eventually, the Jets would do the same thing with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The only problem? There’s no clear, obvious, pinch-or-get-off-the-pot deadline when it comes to Fitzpatrick.
And so the two sides remain hunkered down, not disengaging completely but not attempting in earnest to bridge the gap between their differences. Via Ed Werder of ESPN.com, the two sides haven’t talked recently, they remain far apart, and no resolution is expected soon.
Clearly, the Jets remain interested in signing Fitzpatrick. They recently leaked to the media the notion that several different options have been presented to Fitzpatrick, in an obvious effort to make the Jets look reasonable and Fitzpatrick to look unreasonable. Still, it’s extremely unreasonable for the Jets to continue to let the situation linger; either they want him or they don’t. If they want him, they need to sign him. If they don’t want him, they need to cut the cord.
Having Fitzpatrick’s situation unresolved as camp opens is good for no one. It will be a distraction for the team, an annoyance for those who are repeatedly asked about it, and a constant source of uncertainty for Geno Smith, who will be the starter unless and until Fitzpatrick returns.
Could Fitzpatrick return and not be the starter? In theory, yes. But if they pay him the kind of money they’ve offered him, it would be ludicrous to not play him.
It’s even more ludicrous to allow this situation to hover over the franchise. Unless the Jets think a thickly-bearded cloud will help it in some way when the regular season begin (if they do, I’d love to know why), they should get the deal done or tell Fitzpatrick that they’re moving on without him. Whatever money they’re trying to save by waiting him out simply isn’t worth it.