Jets not afraid to lose Ryan Fitzpatrick?

Early Tuesday morning in Boca Raton, Fla., New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles made a couple of stunning statements about quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. The free agent quarterback is seeking more money than the Jets are willing to pay, and the coach made it crystal clear he’s not worried if that chasm costs the team its quarterback.

This is cold-blooded.

Fitzpatrick, coming of a career year in which he passed for 3,905 yards with 31 touchdowns, helped the Jets win 10 games last year. Receivers Brandon Marshall (who really, really wants Fitzpatrick back) and Eric Decker combined to catch 189 passes for 2,529 yards and 26 touchdowns.

It’s tough to envision another quarterback walking into the huddle and producing at that same level this upcoming season.

And, as good as the Jets are defensively, it’s almost impossible to imagine the team will be able to duplicate its winning ways without that kind of offense propelling it.

The AFC East is owned by Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. That’s a fact that isn’t going away soon, but the Jets were just two games behind the Pats and have the pieces in place to challenge the mighty franchise for years to come.

But if this team isn’t producing on offense, it has no chance to compete at that same high level.

For what it’s worth, at least one AFC East head coach would love to see Fitzpatrick leave the division.

No doubt Bowles’ comments are meant to encourage Fitzpatrick to realize he isn’t worth whatever he thinks he is worth. That said, he certainly is worth more than the “backup money” the Jets are offering.

The big problem for Fitzpatrick at this time is that other teams seem to have the same opinion of the career journeyman-level quarterback. His 2015 season was somewhat of an aberration, and everyone seems to think it was a product of Chan Gailey’s system in New York.

The Jets should be afraid to lose Fitzpatrick. He was a huge part of the team’s success last year and would be again in 2016, if given a chance.

Alienating him and putting him down in the media isn’t the best strategy for keeping him interested in coming back. With that in mind, this is going to be an interesting story to follow in the coming weeks as the drama continues to play out between the two sides.