Under the Microscope: Ryan Fitzpatrick
What a year it was for the career journeyman out of Harvard University. If I told every Jets fan before the season started that Ryan Fitzpatrick would be the opening day starter, get you 10 wins, and break the single season franchise record for TD passes thrown, I think many would have signed up for that. Even so, a decent amount of fans are still unhappy with the play from the quarterback position. The old saying “beggars can’t be choosers” fits perfectly with the current Qb situation for the New York Jets. Here’s three reason why bringing back Ryan Fitzpatrick is a no brainer for Gang Green:
He’s getting better with age: Fitzpatrick produced a 95.3 quarterback rating in 12 games during the 2014 season, and an 88.0 rating this past year. Both were career highs for Fitz. His TD to INT ratio in 2014 was 2.12 and in 2015, 2.06 (both also career highs). Fitzpatrick has been known his entire career as the gunslinger who turns the football over too much. It seems that Fitz has corrected his turnover problem in these last two seasons. In addition, an interesting note to make for Fitz is that this New York Jet team is the most talented he has ever been apart of. Whether surrounding talent is the reason for Fitzpatrick’s increase in efficiency or the fact that his arm is finally on the same page as his Harvard brain, he seems to be getting better with age.
33 isn’t old: The average age for the top ten passing quarterbacks last season (sorted by quarterback rating) was 30.4 years of age. This list did not include Eli Manning (35) and Aaron Rodgers (32) who had very productive seasons but just missed cracking the top ten in qb rating. To the crowd who thinks that Ryan Fitzpatrick (33) is getting too old to play the position: the league does not agree with your sentiment. I do not believe that the quarterback position is a “young mans game”, but rather one that takes many years to learn and master and experience only helps. When the Jets begin to open up contract discussions with Fitz, which according to nj.com is in the near future, they should not be hesitant to give him a 2-3 year deal because of his age.
There’s no one else: Has anyone taken a look at the 2016 free agent class for quarterbacks? It is a barren wasteland full of below average signal callers. Not including Kirk Cousins because Washington is already in contract discussions with him according to the Washington Post, the best free agent available is Sam Bradford. Sam is coming off a mediocre season at best where he threw for 19 TD’s and 14 INT’s. He is also extremely injury prone. Fitzpatrick is the clear cut better option at quarterback over Sam Bradford from a numbers, and health perspective. The Jets could look to draft another Qb but that seems unlikely in the first round at the 20th position. They can also look to further develop Bryce Petty, whom they drafted last year in the 4th round. Another year or two behind Fitzpatrick could do him some good as he possesses all the physical tools to start in the league, but needs to be able to read defenses before he can take the next step.
All things considered, it is a no brainer to bring back Ryan Fitzpatrick. Everyone saw the chemistry that he developed with Eric Decker, and Brandon Marshall in such short time. Imagine what these guys can do with a full offseason under their belt?