The most drawn-out contract negotiation of the NFL offseason is finally over.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and the New York Jets have finally reached an agreement for the 2016 season. The 33-year-old signal caller will return to the Jets on a one-year, $12 million deal with $3 million in incentives.
Finally: Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jets reach agreement on 1-year, $12 million, fully-guaranteed contract, sources tell ESPN.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 27, 2016
Teams reported to camp this week, and news broke late Wednesday afternoon that the Jets were going to make one final push to sign the quarterback. The push was successful, and ultimately ended a nearly five-month long negotiation battle between the two parties.
Fitzpatrick had a career year in 2015, leading the Jets to a 10-6 record along the way. Fitzpatrick entered free agency this offseason in search of a deal reflective of his breakout year, but the Jets had other ideas. The team initially offered the quarterback a three-year deal for $24 million, but Fitzpatrick was insulted by any offer that promised to pay him less than $12 million annually.
But Fitzpatrick was stung by the team’s contract proposal, telling friends he’d never accept a deal that included a total of $12 million in the second and third years — essentially, backup money. The offer also included up to $12 million in incentives, but he didn’t bite. He made $3.25 million last season.
So that is where the two sides sat for the past four-plus months. Both parties expressed a desire for a reunion in 2016, and Fitzpatrick failed to garner any other offers in free agency, yet the two sides remained at an impasse until the Jets finally had enough and approached Fitzpatrick with their final offer.
Sources told Schefter the Jets increased their offer Wednesday from $8 million to $12 million and gave Fitzpatrick until 7 p.m. ET to take the deal or the team would be “moving on.”
This is certainly welcome news to wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker who publicly campaigned for New York to re-sign Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick is apparently “way behind” where he should be at this point in the preseason, but Head Coach Todd Bowles consistently said throughout the ordeal that Fitzpatrick would be the starter if he re-signed with the Jets. So far, he has made no indication this will not be the case.