The Jets have voided Fitzpatrick's contract, Newsday reports. Fitzpatrick more or less held the Jets hostage last offseason, inking a two-year contract on July 27, with only the first season guaranteed. Immediately confirmed as the starting quarterback over Geno Smith, Fitzpatrick was unable to uphold his standard from 2015. One factor in Fitzpatrick's dismal play was Eric Decker's season-ending torn rotator cuff, but with weapons like Brandon Marshall (hip) and Matt Forte (knee) on his side, the graybeard signal-caller was unable to display a modicum of consistency. The first stumbling block was a six-interception performance in Week 2, but Fitzpatrick was also benched twice for the likes of Smith (in Week 7 before the latter suffered a torn ACL in that game) and rookie Bryce Petty (at halftime in Week 13). Poised to hit the free-agent market on March 9, the best-case scenario for Fitzpatrick may be bridging the gap to a younger QB for a season or two.
Fitzpatrick has virtually no chance of re-signing with the Jets this offseason, ESPN's Rich Cimini reports. Fitzpatrick and the Jets took the entirety of last offseason to come to terms on a one-year deal to keep him in New York, contentiously making Fitzpatrick prove his impressive 2015 campaign wasn't an aberration. While it took $12 million and a 5-11 season for the Jets to prevail justified for not meeting Fitzpatrick's long-term desires, both parties enter this offseason essentially back at square one. After just 12 touchdowns and 18 turnovers, Fitzpatrick will likely to required to sign as a backup somewhere this offseason, while the Jets will now aim for a rebound campaign without yet knowing who will be their starting quarterback. Overall, last year's failed experiment finally came to an end with Fitzpatrick's contract expiring Friday, at last allowing the team and player to go their separate ways.
Fitzpatrick completed 20 of 30 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns during Sunday's 30-10 win over the Bills. Fitzpatrick greatly regressed from his excellent 2015 season, so much so that it would be quite surprising if he was brought back to New York next season after signing a one-year, $12 million contract this past summer. Fitzpatrick finished the year with 2,710 yards and 12 touchdowns, but it was his 18 turnovers that ultimately doomed the Jets and will likely force him to find another team to try and reach the postseason for the first time in his career.
Head coach Todd Bowles has named Fitzpatrick the Jets' starting quarterback for Sunday's game versus the Bills, Brian Costello of the New York Post reports. Fitzpatrick yielded to both Geno Smith and Bryce Petty under center on separate occasions this season, only for a torn ACL and labrum tear, respectively, to end each quarterback's campaign. Although the Jets can only impact their 2017 draft position at this point, Bowles will stick with the known entity (Fitzpatrick) rather than turn to unproven rookie Christian Hackenburg in Week 17. Fitzpatrick hasn't displayed anything resembling a mastery of the position this season, as evidenced by his last four appearances. During that run, he's completed just 53.3 percent of his passes (40-for-75) for 517 yards and two touchdowns versus four interceptions.
Fitzpatrick is poised to start Sunday's game against the Bills following Bryce Petty's (shoulder) placement on injured reserve, Eric Allen of the Jets' official site reports. Fitzpatrick has appeared in all but two games this season, 10 of them starts, but he's already accumulated the second-most interceptions (17) in a given campaign of his 12-year career. Playing out the string of a one-year, $12 million contract, it'll be interesting to see if he'll indeed take the reins from Petty, especially with nothing but pride (and draft position) to play for in the regular season finale. If head coach Todd Bowles opts to look toward the future, as he has with Petty down the stretch, Christian Hackenburg could earn his first live NFL reps this weekend.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
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