Ryan Fitzpatrick is not impressed with the offer on the table from the Jets.
It’s almost time to wish the Jets a very Happy Silver Anniversary. In just two years, they will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of their only championship season.
In all these years since Super Bowl III, no team has experienced more misery and near-misses at quarterback than the Jets, which explains why their Vince Lombardi Trophy is still sitting by itself.
The contract stalemate between Ryan Fitzpatrick, a journeyman coming off a career year, and GM Mike Maccagnan, who doesn’t want to bid against himself, would be comical if the thought of Geno Smith regaining his starting job wasn’t so frightening and mortifying for Jets Nation.
The Jets should pay Fitz a premium just so Maccagnan doesn’t even have to address questions about Smith being the starter. Of course, Fitz, asking for $ 14 million per year, and the Jets, offering $ 7 million-$ 8 million per year, will eventually compromise and get a deal done. He has no better place to go and the Jets have no better options.
It’s really gut-wrenching how close the Jets have come to drafting Hall of Fame quarterbacks in the last 32 years and all they’ve managed is trading for Brett Favre when he had already played 17 years and then broke down in the final month of his only season with them.
Just once, the Jets deserve a break. Consider all this misfortune:
Dan Marino: He was expected to be the second QB taken in 1983 behind John Elway. But a poor senior year and unfounded drug rumors resulted in him falling almost all the way out of the first round. Jets draftniks at the New York Sheraton were virtually jumping out of the balcony in anticipation with Marino still on the board when it was the Jets’ turn at No. 24. Richard Todd had just thrown five INTs in the AFC title game loss in Miami. When Pete Rozelle stepped up to announce the Jets’ pick, it was indeed a QB: Ken O’Brien of Cal-Davis. Marino went to the Dolphins three picks later. Oops. O’Brien was a good player. Marino is an-all time great.
Brett Favre: The Jets had him as the No. 1 player on their 1991 draft board. Ron Wolf, the assistant Jets GM, loved him, but the Jets didn’t have a first-round pick — they used it in the supplemental draft in 1990 to take wide receiver Rob Moore. But then Favre started falling toward the end of the first round and GM Dick Steinberg frantically tried to trade up. The Jets had the No. 34 pick, seventh overall in the second round. Steinberg knew Falcons GM Ken Herock, a close friend, also loved Favre, even though he passed on him twice in the first round. Atlanta had the No. 33 pick. Steinberg worked out a deal with the Cardinals, who were one spot ahead of the Falcons, to flip spots. The Cards wanted DE Mike Jones and Steinberg assured them the Falcons would take QB Browning Nagle if the Jets took Favre. So it was a no-lose deal for the Cardinals — they would get Jones and an extra draft pick to swap. At the last second, the Cards pulled out of the trade and drafted Jones. Atlanta then took Favre and the Jets were stuck with Nagle. The Cardinals never told Steinberg why they backed out.
Peyton Manning: This one really hurts. Archie Manning twice called Bill Parcells, at the request of Peyton, to see if he was going to take his son with the No. 1 pick in the 1997 draft. Peyton was in the process of trying to decide whether to skip his senior year at Tennessee. He didn’t want to declare for the draft with no option if Parcells traded the choice. He wanted to play for Parcells and the Jets. But Parcells would not commit, the final determining factor that convinced Manning to stay in school.
Tom Brady: The Jets drafted QB Chad Pennington with the third of their record four picks in the first round in 2000. Even so, Jets Midwest scout Jesse Kaye implored Parcells to also take Brady, the skinny QB from Michigan, in the sixth round. Parcells refused to take another QB. He took DB Tony Scott, who lasted two years with the Jets, playing in 23 games with no starts, at No. 19 overall in the sixth round. Twenty spots later, with the 199th pick, Bill Belichick drafted Brady. He was the seventh QB drafted and the seventh player taken by Belichick.
Russell Wilson: Jets scout Terry Bradway loved Wilson so much in the 2012 draft they nicknamed him “Russell” around the office. In the first round, the Jets took Quinton Coples. In the second round, Stephen Hill. Two spots before they drafted Demario Davis in the third round, Seattle took Wilson. The Jets had just given Mark Sanchez a contract extension as a kiss-and-make-up present after flirting with free agent Manning, so chances are they would not have taken Wilson in the third round either.
So, after passing on Marino, losing out on Favre, failing to recruit Manning, passing on Brady and Wilson, the Jets must pay a tariff to bring back Fitzpatrick and keep Smith off the field.
Players are eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame after they’ve been out of the game five seasons. It will be very competitive getting elected to the class of 2021 with the list of players who retired after the 2015 season including Manning, Charles Woodson and Calvin Johnson. Manning and Woodson came into the league together in 1998 — Woodson beat out Manning for the Heisman Trophy in their senior years — and are locks to make it on their first year of eligibility. Johnson was a dominant player on bad teams — just two playoff seasons in his nine years in the league. He walked away early, just like former Lions RB Barry Sanders. He is a HOF receiver, but depending on who else is still on the board in 2021, he may not make it his first year. There were some other big names who retired in the last couple of months: Marshawn Lynch, Justin Tuck, Jared Allen, Heath Miller, Logan Mankins, Matt Hasselbeck, Jon Beason and Jerod Mayo. … The Jets had to bring back Darrelle Revis last year, even if he was then a 30-year cornerback. Revis had to take the offer rather than stay with the Super Bowl champion Patriots because it had $ 39 million guaranteed in the first three years and New England wasn’t even close with its offer. Advantage: Revis. He had a so-so year and now is in a hard cast for 2-3 months after having surgery for torn ligament in his wrist. This is another example of why big money contracts are so dangerous.
MEETING OF MINDS
The league meetings open Sunday in Boca Raton. The concussion crisis and continuing efforts to make a dangerous game safer will be a major topic… Martellus Bennett, a true free spirit, was entertaining in his one season with the Giants in 2012 and they should have made more of an effort to keep him. He played well enough for them with 55 catches — Eli Manning liked throwing to him — to get a four-year $ 20.4 million deal with the Bears. Now after three seasons in Chicago — he had a career-best 90 catches in 2014 — he will play the last year of his contract ($ 5.085 million) teaming with Gronk in New England after Belichick gave up just a fourth-round pick to get him. Gronk is 6-6, 265. Bennett is 6-6, 273. “I think Gronk has always been an awesome tight end and I look forward to learning more about him,” Bennett said. Belichick loves tight ends and now he can return to the plan he had before Aaron Hernandez was thrown in jail for murder. If Bennett doesn’t become brainwashed by the Patriot Way, he should liven up the locker room. Bennett posted a message to Brady on social media: “Hi Tom. I’m Marty. Let’s do this.”… Belichick completed a surprising trade last week when he sent Chandler Jones, his best pass rusher, to the Cardinals for guard Jonathan Cooper, a disappointing former first-round pick, and a second-round pick in next month’s draft. Jones is in the final year of his rookie contract and rather than pay him huge money (read: Olivier Vernon’s 5-year, $ 52.5M guaranteed) next year or lose him for nothing, Belichick traded him knowing there would be a big market for him.
ONE COLD DRAFT
Incredibly, the Giants and Jets each bombed in the 2012 draft, going a combined 0-for 15. Four seasons later, none of the Giants’ seven picks or the Jets’ eight picks are on their rosters… Nice move by Colts owner Jimmy Irsay bringing Peyton Manning back to Indy on Friday and announcing that a statue of him will be built outside Lucas Oil Stadium, and that his No. 18 jersey is retired. Manning’s departure from Indy four years ago was contentious. The setup in football is that players don’t get to pick a team they will represent when they go into the Hall of Fame. Manning played 12 seasons in Indy (not counting 2011 when he was injured and didn’t play at all) and four in Denver. He was 1-1 in the Super Bowl with each team. He became a star in Indy, but will be remembered as a Bronco, too.
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Save The Date: On April 20, eight days before the draft, I will be hosting a football hot stove at Foley’s NY located at 18 West 33 Street in Manhattan from 7-9 p.m. Special guests are Peter King, editor-in-chief of the MMQB, and ESPN’s Rich Cimini, former Jets beat writer for the Daily News. Come and talk Giants, Jets and the NFL in a lively sports bar setting. Admission is free. Sorry, but the food and drinks are not.