Jets GM Mike Maccagnan had the leverage in contract negotiations with Ryan Fitzpatrick, sure it was obvious to everyone the Jets want Fitzpatrick to be their quarterback next year but Fitzpatrick doesn't really have any other choices but the Jets. Fitzpatrick wants Sam Bradford money, the Jets want to give him Chase Daniel money and no other team has shown a willingness to even give Fitzpatrick that much money.
At this point Fitzpatrick and his agent are waiting and hoping the Jets will want him to come back so bad that they will essentially be bidding against themselves. Most of the media that covers the Jets has been saying the two sides need to find a middle ground, but if no one else is offering him more money why would the Jets need to offer anymore than they have? The Jets had the leverage, Fitzpatrick doesn't really have any other options to get paid and start next year, the Jets have other options. Bad options but they have options. So, why would Maccagnan toss that leverage in the sewer?
"We like Ryan. We'd like very much to get Ryan back in the fold," Maccagnan said. "Like every free agency there's two camps, and you have to work through this. Eventually, hopefully we'll find a middle ground at some point in time. We'll see."
That right there is a reasonable quote and one we all expect Maccagnan would say behind closed doors at One Jets Drive, but to say it to the media? He literally just said, 'Hey, Ryan I know we haven't budged off of our original offer yet but we will. We got some more money to to give you. It won't be $18 million but let's work on a middle ground.'
So, why would Maccagnan say that? Maccagnan has played this poker stare down perfectly so far, why blink now? The most logical explanation is not just that Maccagnan wanted to let Fitzpatrick now he'll up the offer but to show Fitzpatrick he would making a public declaration of just how much they want him back. Fitzpatrick has felt insulted by the Jets original offer, so by coming out publicly and saying this - when he could have very easily conveyed this message to Fitzpatrick and his agent in private - Maccagnan hopes this olive branch can get Fitzpatrick back to the table. At this point Fitzpatrick has to know his dreams of getting $18 million per year are completely over, but if the Jets will meet him in the middle he'll get far more from them then anyone else will give him and he'll be in the best possible spot for him.
Maccagnan even admitted that meeting with Robert Griffin III was essentially just a backup plan incase Fitzpatrick did get an offer from someone else. Maccagnan said they were just doing their "due diligence" which, again, we all knew was the case but your not supposed to actually say that. It's fair to wonder why Maccagnan would throw this leverage away but it seems obvious that he's tired of playing this game and he just wants to get his quarterback back and figure out how much money he has to free up to do so.
"He's a very good fit for us," Maccagnan said yesterday. "Our goal is to eventually get him under contract."
And now Maccagnan has put himself out there, the ball is in Fitzpatrick's court. Come get this money Fitzpatrick, the Jets just publicly told you their willing to give you more even though no one else is.
Chris Nimbley is the Editor-in-Chief of JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)