Let me introduce myself, before you throw eggs at my face. I have been a NY Jets fanatic since 1972. As a resident of Westchester County, and its proximity to New York City, there were two choices to follow in the local market. One, The Giants played at Yankee Stadium, the other, the Jets played home games at Shea Stadium. Although the Giants played only 7-8 miles from my house, I went with the Jets, mostly because there were far too many Giants fans around me to begin with. A decision that cost me years of my life, added scars I will never fully heal, and so many head scratches that I’m shocked I still have hair on my head.
That year, the Jets quarterback was Joe Namath, or I should say, a shadow of the real Joe. He still carried the aura of having predicted the most surprising win in SB history, but his play was very limited due to knees that barely kept him erect. I have seen so many promising QBs come and go, but few really stuck and became the face of the franchise. Richard Todd, Joe’s back up in 1976, became the starter in a controversy, in 1977. The coaches wanted Todd, the fans used to scream for Matt Robinson. Eventually Robinson took over, only to miserably flop. Todd was the starter for all or parts of 8 seasons. He handed the reigns to Ken O’Brien, who solidified the position for the another 8-9 years. Since then, 1993, we have had veterans come in and go (Esiason, Testaverde, Favre) and often injured draft picks like Chad Pennington.
A year ago, this team went into training camp with Geno Smith defending his job against Ryan Fitzpatrick, a journeyman approaching the end of his career. Geno Smith won the job, but a childish incident in the locker room forced him out and the job was handed over to Fitzpatrick. Ryan made the best of the opportunity, and his knowledge of the Chan Gailey system clearly helped the transition, as he led the team from a 4-12 record to 10 wins; missing the playoffs only because Fitzpatrick had a melt down week 17.
Fitzpatrick, a free agent figured his one year revelation deserved a huge raise, so did the Jets, but the two sides had different meaning for the word huge. On one side you have Ryan Fitzpatrick, (last contract, two years 7M total with 4 guaranteed), he figured let me be like every other spoiled brat in America, and asks for what the other guys in the office are making. He thought 16M per year for two years was how he defined huge.
Mike Maccagnan and the Jets on the other hand felt that doubling his salary would have been a better definition. When Ryan laughed at it, they actually increased that bid closer to 10 million. A great raise in pay, especially at 33 and never having made anywhere close to hose numbers. No, Ryan decided to use the Revis approach and expect the numbers to be among the best and highest paid QBs. The problem is simple, Revis was the best, Ryan is not.
With Geno Smith still on the roster, along with the project called Bryce Petty, Maccagnan, who by admission likes to grab a QB in every draft, he went ahead and draft Christian Hackenberg. At this point, Geno is the starter and the two projects are his back ups. But wait! Nobody has given up on signing Fitzpatrick.
First of all let me give you my opinion (and yes, mine matters more than some beat writer in NY that wants to sell papers, because I have suffered longer than most of those writers have lived). Christian had a great freshman year running the Patriots offense. He had a team, good weapons, good OL, good HC. Then the NCAA leveled the school with sanctions, resulted from one of the strangest events in college history, involving one the most recognized and respected college HC ever. Hackenberg had the choice to bolt out of the school, he chose to stay and help rebuild the mess. The school lost so many scholarships and players, that DL bodies were transform into OL overnight. The result was 82 sacks in two seasons. There was no weapons to throw to, basically Hack remained the captain of a ship without a crew, and that ship was sinking. The fact that he had the tools as a freshman, those tools are present, need to be oiled up and polished. His mental strength to put up with that mess all that time, tells me that the NY media will not rattle him. Now we must get him ready, but he is not starting until the earliest 2017.
If we had a better backup, I would tell Ryan Fitzpatrick: Thank you for a great season, we have made you a fair offer, and since we appear so far apart, we are now rescinding it. That leaves Fitz with one option, retire, because the Jets are not competing with anyone for his services. The reality is the two sides will play this game until just before training camp, and then Ryan signs what will be a 7-10 one year guaranteed deal, and Geno gets cut or traded just before start of season.