Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that Fitzpatrick and the Jets are “far apart” in contract talks and the 33-year-old is expected to test free agency.
Teams can begin talking to other teams’ free agents Monday at noon.
Fitzpatrick guided the Jets to their first winning season since 2010 while setting a franchise record with 31 touchdown passes this past season.
General manager Mike Maccagnan has made it clear on numerous occasions that signing Fitzpatrick is a priority, perhaps the Jets’ top priority. It appears everyone in the Jets’ front office wants Fitzpatrick back, however the market for quarterbacks has shifted somewhat since the last time the Jets really spoke on the matter.
As both Sean Wagner-McGough and I have explored, Fitzpatrick is simply not a starting-caliber quarterback – his numbers this season belied sub-average play overall, and that sub-average play is far more in line with the rest of his career.
New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) and New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) warmup for their game against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium.
The key to the negotiation could be what type of interest Fitzpatrick garners on the open market. Jets wide receiver Eric Decker has already envisioned what 2016 will look like with Fitzpatrick back.
This situation is incredibly similar to the one the Denver Broncos are now facing as they had to tag Von Miller but had assumed they could get a deal done with Osweiler at the very least in the short term.
If the Jets lose Fitzpatrick, they would be in the starting quarterback market, which is shallow.