As of now, there’s still a “sizable gap” between the two parties and just a few weeks before the start of training camp. The Jets are now faced with the very real possibility that they’ll open camp without their starting quarterback.
According to Costello, there’s a thought that Fitzpatrick could be waiting for another team to sustain an injury at quarterback, which could result in him gaining some leverage in contract talks with the Jets.
However, Costello admits that this could be a long shot, considering that a team is still unlikely to pay him the kind of money he’s seeking from the Jets.
One interesting aspect brought up by Costello is that the Jets may have to consider pulling their offer from Fitzpatrick at some point if they aren’t willing to improve it and Fitzpatrick remains steadfast in his demands.
“At some point, it becomes unfair to Smith, who has worked all offseason as the starter, to hand Fitzpatrick the starting job when he decides to sign,” writes Costello.
The Jets are reportedly offering Fitzpatrick a three-year, $24 million contract with $12 million being paid out in year one, but he’s looking for better compensation in the final two years of the deal. The problem for Fitzpatrick comes down to the simple fact that the Jets are really his only option right now.
Jets HC Todd Bowles admitted closet to a month ago that they’ve discussed the idea of possibly signing a veteran quarterback if they’re unable to re-sign Fitzpatrick.
Although, there hasn’t been any buzz about them considering any quarterbacks since then.
Fitzpatrick, 32, played out the final year of his two-year, $7.5 million contract that included $4 million guaranteed and is currently the best quarterback still available in this year’s market.
In 2015, Fitzpatrick threw for 3,905 yards while completing 59.6 percent of his passes to go along with 31 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Pro Football Focus has Fitzpatrick rated as the No. 27 quarterback out of 37 qualifying players.
We have him featured in our Best Available Free Agents list.