Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan’s mission remains the same: re-sign Ryan Fitzpatrick. But to do that, he said, both sides have to find “a middle ground” in negotiations.
“We feel we have a very good situation for Ryan here and he’s a very good fit for us,” he said on a conference call Friday. “Our goal, eventually, is to get Ryan under contract and go forward for that . . . We don’t want to put it in context of: Are we close? Are we far? We’re focused on trying to get the player back and I’d kind of like to leave it at that.”
Negotiations have stretched into Week 2 of free agency, but the Jets and Fitzpatrick’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, seem no closer to an agreement.
It once seemed like a foregone conclusion that Fitzpatrick, 33, would end up back with the Jets. He threw a franchise-record 31 touchdown passes and led the team to a 10-6 record, one win shy of the playoffs.
After the season finale, the sides expressed a desire to reunite. But in free agency, money talks. And Maccagnan apparently isn’t speaking as loudly as Sexton would like.
With no resolution in sight, Jets fans have grown increasingly anxious. But Maccagnan said he’s not surprised that it’s taken this long to strike a deal. “No, not necessarily. I mean, it’s free agency,” he said. “You go through this process with any player. I think both parties are basically trying to look at what they think is fair, and it’s a process you have to work through and we’ll see how it plays itself out.
“We like Ryan, we’d like to have Ryan back. But at the end of the day, it’s free agency . . . At some point in time, hopefully, we can find a middle ground we’re both happy with.” He added that the Jets have a contingency plan in place if Fitzpatrick doesn’t return, but “we don’t necessarily want to tell other teams what we’re going to do.”
The Jets hosted quarterback Robert Griffin IIII last week, but Maccagnan downplayed his interest in him. “It really was more to do our due diligence with him,” he said. “I probably haven’t talked to him or seen him since his Baylor Pro Day four, whatever years ago. . . . Our focus primarily is to get something worked out with Ryan.”
Though Maccagnan was careful not to give specifics about the negotiations with Fitzpatrick or the team’s backup plan, he did say former starter Geno Smith “could definitely be a possibility” as the No. 1 quarterback.
Among other issues addressed by Maccagnan was Darrelle Revis’ wrist surgery. “I honestly became aware of it about a week or so ago,” he said. “I’d have to defer to Darrelle about how it was affecting him or how he felt about it. It really wasn’t on our injury report because we never really treated it during the season. I think the most we probably did with it was tape his wrist up for game day.”
On the possibility of trading defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson: “It’s not something we’re actively pursuing . . . We’ll see how it plays out.”
On left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson: “Right now, I’d say he will be on our roster going forward, but we’ll see how this thing unfolds.’’ Ferguson, 32, has a $14-million cap charge for 2016, but the Jets haven’t approached him about restructuring his contract or taking a pay cut.