INDIANAPOLIS — With one eye toward the draft, the Jets are still focused on the present, starting with re-signing quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
General manager Mike Maccagnan said Wednesday that the team has meetings scheduled this week at the Combine with representatives for Fitzpatrick, defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson and nose tackle Damon Harrison.
Maccagnan, however, refused to “tip our hand” when asked about the organization’s roster plan. When asked about the possibility of placing the franchise tag on Wilkerson, he said, “We have an idea internally of what we’ll potentially do, but at this point in time, we don’t want to show our card.”
Maccagnan also said he didn’t “want to speculate” on negotiations with Fitzpatrick, who helped lead the Jets to a 10-6 finish. “We like Ryan, I think we have a good situation for Ryan,” he said. “We just have to come to an agreement on a cost, in a perfect world, where both sides think is fair.”
Fitzpatrick, 33, is coming off his best season, throwing for 3,905 yards and 31 touchdowns, both career highs. He assumed the starting role Aug. 11 after incumbent Geno Smith suffered a broken jaw in a locker room altercation with then-teammate Ikemefuna Enemkpali. Since then, Fitzpatrick and the Jets haven’t looked back.
Coach Todd Bowles reiterated Wednesday that Smith will remain the backup and if Fitzpatrick returns, he’ll start. Free agency officially begins in less than two weeks.
“There’s a little window, usually before free agency starts, where a lot of deals get done,” Maccagnan said, adding that he doesn’t “necessarily feel any pressure, per se” to get Fitzpatrick under contract sooner than later. “We’d like to get something done, obviously. We’ve been very public about that. But to me, if it eventually gets done, and both sides feel good about it, I’m fine with that.”
Maccagnan also was tight-lipped about his plans for Wilkerson and Harrison. Both are looking for big paydays, and it’s unclear whether the Jets — who have roughly $21 million in salary-cap room, based on a projected $155-million cap — will re-sign them both.
Wilkerson, who has been seeking a long-term extension since 2014, recorded a team- and career-high 12 sacks. He’s also rehabbing from a broken right leg suffered in the Week 17 loss to the Bills. Although the Jets are expected to place the franchise tag on Wilkerson by Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline, Maccagnan said he and Harrison are “both options.”
“I know a lot of people have speculated: Can we keep all of them?” Maccagnan said. “It’s not outside the realm of possibilities. But you know, it would be a very big investment in that area. We like both Mo and Damon. And we’re going to try to figure out a way to, ideally, keep them both.”