There’s a reason the Jets played hardball with Ryan Fitzpatrick over the offseason, and through four games this season, Fitzpatrick has reminded everyone willing to listen, why.
If a quarterback sets the franchise record for touchdown passes in a season and then is in line to become a free agent, it’s commonplace for that team to do anything and everything possible to ensure that quarterback doesn’t get away. Fitzpatrick is not a normal circumstance.
The Jets were more than right to be wary of dolling out a long-term contract for a guy who’s never played in the postseason and who fell flat on his face the last time a team made a major investment in him.
During the middle of the 2011 season, the Bills inked Fitzpatrick to a six-year contract worth $59 million and $24 million in guarantees. He was released following the 2012 season. Red-flag city.
As great as the 2015 season was for Fitzpatrick statistically, he came up egregiously small when it mattered the most, most notably in the final game of the season in a win-and-in scenario when he threw not one, not two but three fourth quarter interceptions to seal the Jets’ fate. He’s carried that careless style of play into the 2016 season, much to the Jets’ dismay.
Through four games, Fitzpatrick has thrown the most interceptions in the league with 10, including nine in his last two games and just five less than he threw all of last season, has the worst passer rating among qualified quarterbacks and has the second worst completion percentage. Since the start of the 2015 season, Fitzpatrick leads all quarterbacks with 16 fourth quarter interceptions.
Translation: Fitzpatrick has far and away been the worst quarterback in the NFL in 2016 and continuously fails to come through when games are on the line.
It’s more than understandable why the fan base was so insistent on bringing Fitzpatrick back especially when you consider how anemic the quarterback position has been since Joe Namath retired, but that doesn’t mean the Jets shouldn’t have seen Fitzpatrick’s mediocre play coming from a mile away.