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Jets’ Latest Offer Fair to Fitzpatrick

Three months out from the start of the regular season, the New York Jets still aren’t set at quarterback. The biggest factor in that pickle is the back-and-forth game being played between New York and its former starter, Ryan Fitzpatrick. But with the details of Gang Green’s latest offer being released, it seems the Jets have given a conservative but fair offer to a man whose time is running out.

The team has offered Fitz a three-year, $24 million deal. The seemingly modest contract is buoyed by a $12 million salary in 2016, followed by two seasons at $6 million apiece, with incentives that could drive the total value up to $36 million. The Fitzpatrick camp still views this as too stingy an offer, but context plays a huge part in determining how reasonable the numbers actually are.

Fitzpatrick is not Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger or Tom Brady. With the team he was on last year, he wasn’t expected to be, but he can’t realistically expect elite quarterback money to be coming his way. Frankly, it doesn’t even matter that Fitzpatrick played quite well last season. He is 33 years old, and understandably keen to maximise the twilight of his career on a team that will pay him adequately.

But the Jets’ inertia is proof enough that not only do they view him as a short-term solution; they might even consider him expendable in time for this upcoming season.

By training camp, the depth chart will be brimming with three quarterbacks who could all conceivably pan out as long-term starters: Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. It wouldn’t be ideal for the Jets to throw either of those last two names into the fire as early as 2016, but they will test Petty’s and Hackenberg’s mettle if faced with no other option.

The one outlier in all of this is Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler. A smattering of showings in 2016 was apparently good enough to net him $18 million per season on a desperate team. At the time, Fitzpatrick probably saw this offer as a sign of things to come, but what Osweiler lacks in experience he makes up for in youth and upside: two highly-coveted talents in today’s quarterback market.

Let’s assume the thrill of competition is no object. If Fitz takes the deal, he gets to earn decent QB money in 2016 with a starter job that is his to lose. Another solid year of production, only to find the young upstart has replaced him, will score Fitz upper-level backup money past his 36th birthday. Not a bad way to bow out of the league.

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