The Jets are still locked in negotiations, with free-agent QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, and those negotiations are casting a dark cloud over the team. The standoff, between the team and the QB, has lasted so long that when it began even Matt Harvey was considered to be a reliable starter.
The negotiations got quite a bit more interesting when wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker skipped OTAs. Although these sessions are voluntary, it does seem a little odd that the two hardest working members of the Jets team, and two of the most vocal supporters of Ryan Fitzpatrick, both decided to skip OTAs.
Sources close to Eric Decker, say that it is indeed a message that he personally wants Fitzpatrick back. But, sources close to Marshall say his absence is not Fitz related. Many still find it highly suspicious.
Whether or not the GM is getting the message, or even if the absences are even being seen by him as a protest, it still remains widely known around One Jets Drive that everyone wants Fitzpatrick back, as the team’s starting QB. Many players proudly voice their opinion about wanting him back. Even HC Todd Bowles is hopeful that the two sides can get a deal done, but in the meantime, Geno Smith is taking first team snaps.
A popular notion is that Fitzpatrick should take whatever is offered to him that he has no leverage, that he has nowhere else to go, and that he is nothing but a career backup that no one is interested in because he brought nothing worthy of a new contract to the table last year. His teammates beg to differ. The loyalty and the belief in him by his teammates is his leverage, and that should be enough. Fitzpatrick united the team last season, and his teammates love his playing style: The hunger he shows in making the extra effort and the way he leads a team. Many players on the team feel that his absence would bring down the mood in the locker room, as his leadership qualities were highly valued by his fellow teammates. These are qualities a Jets Quarterback has not had since Chad Pennington.
So the bottom line is, Fitzpatrick is a perfect fit for this team, especially since the team is built around veterans players like; Matt Forte, Eric Decker, Brandon Marshall, Nick Mangold, and Ryan Clady. The players on this team that are reaching their 8th and 9th years in the NFL, do not want to take a step backwards especially after taking so many steps forward. It’s understandable that the Jets want to look towards the future with their QBs, but in order to be successful, there has to be a common ground, and right now it seems that common ground amongst the team players, is the want of Fitzpatrick.