FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Todd Bowles isn’t the least bit fazed by the Ryan Fitzpatrick saga.
According to the Jets coach, there is no “drop-dead deadline” to get a new deal worked out with their quarterback of choice.
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The contract impasse between Fitzpatrick and the Jets’ front office has been ongoing since March, after the quarterback turned down their three-year, $24-million offer that could rise to $36 million with incentives. The organization’s hope was to re-sign Fitzpatrick by training camp, but with only two more days of mandatory minicamp before a monthlong break, the negotiating window appears to be closing quickly.
Or is it?
Bowles isn’t feeling the pressure, despite an uncertain quarterback situation that has lasted 3 1⁄2 months. Nor does he expect his calm demeanor to change on July 27 if the Fitzpatrick stalemate isn’t resolved by the start of training camp.
“No, it doesn’t change,” said Bowles, “because, like I said before, if he’s injured July 28, and he’s out for the season, I’ve got to have the same demeanor and I’ve got to coach the guys that are ready to play . . . So it’s not going to change.”
Despite his preference to get Fitzpatrick under contract before players return for training camp, Bowles acknowledged, “I don’t have a drop-dead deadline.”
That means the Fitzpatrick saga could drag on another month — and possibly longer.
But the second-year coach insisted that Fitzpatrick’s absence has no bearing on the Jets’ offensive strategy.
“It doesn’t hinder our offensive planning at all,” Bowles said. “We’re going full speed ahead right now.
“Like I said, if he got hurt, Geno [Smith] would be the starter and we would have to play . . . Whether it’s Fitz or whether it’s Geno, we’re doing the same things we need to do. The later [Fitzpatrick] comes in — if he comes in — the more he has to catch up on. Hopefully sooner than later. But you treat it like an injury. If a guy’s not here, you get the other guys ready to play.”
Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey is known for tailoring his offense to the players at his disposal. And the same is true now, even without the Jets’ preferred quarterback on the field this offseason.
“It would have altered [our offense] a year ago, without anybody knowing anything,” Bowles said. “But everybody being in the system a year, it doesn’t alter it at all.”