The New York Jets quarterback situation remains unsettled heading into the first round of the 2016 NFL draft on Thursday night.
As of right now, it would be Geno Smith and Bryce Petty competing for the starting job in training camp. That’s obviously a less-than-ideal scenario for a team that won 10 games a season ago.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was one of the primary reasons for the Jets’ surprising 2015 season, still remains unsigned.
The free agent has balked at New York’s “low-ball” offer to him and has remained steadfast in his desire to maximize his earning potential on the open market.
Now comes this report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter suggesting that Fitzpatrick has told those around him that he’d rather not play football than play for the Jets at their current offer:
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) April 28, 2016
That’s definitely a surprising stance for Fitzpatrick to take.
A mediocre starter and high-quality backup throughout his career, Fitzpatrick had never posted more than 24 touchdowns in any of his previous 10 NFL seasons prior to a breakout 2015 campaign for the Jets.
All said, the former seventh-round pick put up 3,905 yards with 31 touchdowns last season, both career highs.
Thinking he has some leverage with the Jets due to their quarterback situation without him in the mix, Fitzpatrick may very well be over-playing his hand here.
Picking 20th overall on Thursday night, the Jets could be in position to draft former Memphis standout Paxton Lynch.
There are also a few different options on the trade block, including Cleveland Browns starter Josh McCown and embattled San Francisco 49ers signal caller Colin Kaepernick.
At this point in the offseason, Fitzpatrick himself doesn’t have a ton of leverage. Once Day 1 of the draft concludes on Thursday, even more teams will have their quarterback situations settled.
The Jets are said to be offering Fitzpatrick in excess of $7-$8 million per season, a number that represents high-end backup cash. He’s likely demanding north of $13 million per. In this, there remains a huge gap between the two sides.