The return of Ryan Fitzpatrick may have hit a snag.
According to an NFL.com report, the 33-year-old quarterback and the Jets are “far apart” on a new deal. That means Fitzpatrick could begin talking to other teams at noon on Monday — the official start of the league’s three-day tampering window — before hitting free agency on Wednesday.
Fitzpatrick guided the Jets to their first winning season since 2010 while setting a franchise record with 31 touchdown passes this past season. But the snag in contract talks doesn’t mean the journeyman quarterback won’t be back in Florham Park in 2016.
Jimmy Sexton, Fitzpatrick’s agent, will likely want his client to test the free-agency market, especially after the Eagles gave Sam Bradford a two-year, $36-million deal. The Jets may not want to commit similar money to Fitzpatrick, who is 43-61-1 as a career starter and has never made the playoffs.
Fitzpatrick has repeatedly said he wants to return to the Jets and general manager Mike Maccagnan has said the same. Head coach Todd Bowles reiterated at the NFL Combine last month that if Fitzpatrick returns, he’ll be the starting quarterback and Geno Smith will be the No. 2.
If Fitzpatrick doesn’t generate the interest (and money) his agent is looking for on the open market, he could wind up back with the Jets anyhow. Jets wide receiver Eric Decker has already envisioned what 2016 will look like with Fitzpatrick back.
“I assume that we’re going to get Fitzpatrick back,” Decker told Newsday and The New York Post at an event last week. “. . . Talking to Brandon [Marshall], we all love Fitz and we expect him to be back and just build off of what we did last year.”