FLORHAM PARK. N.J. — Woody Johnson insisted there was nothing new to report on the Ryan Fitzpatrick front.
Following D’Brickashaw Ferguson’s retirement news conference Thursday morning, the Jets owner was pressed for more insight into the monthslong standoff between the team and Fitzpatrick and he couldn’t provide any.
Asked if it’s imperative that they re-sign the 33-year-old quarterback, Johnson said: “No. I think this is a big team. We’ve made our statements regarding Ryan Fitzpatrick well-known, and I’ll stick with those that we’ve made.”
During last month’s NFL owners meeting in Boca Raton, Florida, Johnson made his feelings for Fitzpatrick well-known, too. In fact, “Come back to the Jets” was his message for the NFL journeyman, who threw a franchise-record 31 touchdowns and helped lead the Jets to a 10-6 record, one game shy of the playoffs.
But Johnson was far more tight-lipped on Thursday about the status of their current negotiations.
“I can’t talk about any of those things, but yeah, we’re working on that,” he said. “I can’t comment on exactly what we’re talking about or even if we’re talking. But no, no real change.”
Last month, however, Johnson said he was still “optimistic” that a deal would be reached. “We’re speaking to Fitzy’s agent, Jimmy [Sexton],” Johnson said on March 21. “I hope we can come up with an agreement. Fitzy had his best year in his career with this coordinator, Chan [Gailey], and did well for the Jets. But the two sides have got to come up with an agreement that, obviously, both sides are happy with. So that’s what we’re working towards.”
Though the Jets and Fitzpatrick made it clear back in January that they’d like to reunite for 2016, the two sides remain at a contract impasse — and neither side appears willing to budge just yet.
Asked if he’s worried about the Jets’ murky quarterback situation, Johnson said: “I always have levels of concern with everything, until we can put the whole team together . . . “I don’t know [who will be the starter]. That will hopefully pan out before the season starts, and we’ll have somebody.”
Ideally, the Jets, who begin voluntary offseason workouts on Monday, would like to know if Fitzpatrick fits into their 2016 plans before the NFL Draft, which begins April 28.
Said Johnson: “You want to have everything as much resolved as you can, as quickly as possible. But not everything works out on the time schedule of what you’d like. Some things just take a little bit longer . . . So here we are. I don’t think it’s disconcerting or concerting. It’s just part of the negotiating process.”