Back end of Jets' offer the hang up in Ryan Fitzpatrick talks

ByRich Cimini ESPN logo
Monday, May 30, 2016

TheNew York Jets' three-year offer to free-agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, which has been on the table for at least two months, includes $12 million in the first year, a league source confirmed Friday night.

The hang up, from the Fitzpatrick perspective, is the second- and third-year payout. The combined salary for 2017 and 2018 is $12 million, making it a three-year $24 million offer. He would earn $6 million in each of the final two years, according to multiple reports. It's not known how much of that, if any, is guaranteed.

Fitzpatrick is thought to be seeking about $15 million per year.

The first-year payout of $12 million, first reported by the New York Post, came at the end of a week in which wide receiver Eric Decker reportedly skipped the first three voluntary practices to send a message to the organization that he's unhappy Fitzpatrick isn't signed.

Decker is a Fitzpatrick supporter. They're also represented by the same agency, CAA. Wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who has also lobbied for Fitzpatrick's return, was a no-show, too. It's unclear if his absence was related to his feelings about the Fitzpatrick situation.

The team and QB have been engaged in a stalemate since February. There's mutual interest, with the Jets saying they'd like Fitzpatrick to return as their starter. Breaking his offseason silence on Monday, Fitzpatrick saidhe'd like to re-sign.

Fitzpatrick, speaking at a charity golf tournament, declined to comment at length, saying he wants to keep the negotiations "behind closed doors."

"Both sides have been doing a good job of not airing their grievances to the public, and I'd like that to continue," he said.

But the tenor of the impasse could be changing, perhaps triggered by the events of the past few days.

The Jets haven't set a deadline, although they've said they'd like a resolution by training camp in late July. This week, coach Todd Bowles saidhe's "hopeful" a deal could be reached, but he wouldn't go so far as to say he's confident.

Failing an agreement with Fitzpatrick, who made $3.25 million last season and enjoyed a career year, the Jets are prepared to go with Geno Smith as the starter, with Bryce Petty and rookie Christian Hackenberg as the backups.

Fitzpatrick has no other known suitors. The only team willing to hand him a starting job is the Jets.

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