The New York Jets will reportedly have some competition if they hope to re-sign quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network is reporting the quarterback is expected to hit free agency, which is certainly a surprise given all the offseason chatter about him being a shoo-in to return to the Big Apple.

That said, from a business perspective as it relates to Fitzpatrick it does make perfect sense. Rapoport notes the quarterback and the Jets are “far apart” on a deal, and there isn’t a better time to be on the market than right now for starting-caliber NFL quarterbacks.

Fitzpatrick isn’t a savior, by any measure. That said, the Harvard grad best known for his magnificent beard is coming off a career year in which he threw for 3,905 yards with 31 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

Teams like the Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Rams could all potentially make offers for a passer of Fitzpatrick’s ilk, not to mention the aforementioned Jets.

Of course, from New York’s perspective, perhaps Fitzpatrick hitting the market could open the door for a potential deal to land Colin Kaepernick, who has been reported to be interested in joining Gang Green.

It’s also worth mentioning New York does still have Geno Smith on the payroll. And while he certainly fell off the map last year after getting his jaw broken, he could potentially still be a long-term answer for the Jets.

This is just the first of many free agency surprises in store for us as we move into the legal tampering period, which starts today at noon ET and runs through until Wednesday when teams can officially sign players beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

Jesse Reed
Managing Editor at Sportsnaut. Featured on Yardbarker and MSN.com, and formerly was a breaking news writer/NFL analyst for Bleacher Report.