FLORHAM PARK, NJ - After months of posturing and negotiating through the media, making fans and even teammates wait and wonder Ryan Fitzpatrick finally signed his contract last night and now the pressure is squarely on Fitzpatrick because anything less than an appearance in the playoffs will be a failure.
"I thought the one (year) for $12 (million) would be a nice compromise," Fitzpatrick said. "Then I'd be able to play here for a year and kind of take the pressure off of them, because they got the deal done for one year, and put it all on me. So I thought that's what a reasonable compromise would be."
But while Fitzpatrick admits the pressure is all on him now he says the pressure he feels is for his teammates, like Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, who so openly supported and campaigned for his return.
"The pressure that I feel, I mean I put a lot of pressure on myself, the pressure that I feel, you know, I've got guys like Brandon and Deck that they stuck their necks out," Fitzpatrick said. "They were in my corner all offseason so for me, I've got to go out and preform for those guys in the locker room. So, for me that's the added pressure, just internally, in this building, that's what it is as a starting quarterback anyway but that would be the main pressure I feel."
With so much uncertainty surrounding Fitzpatrick these past few months he said he remained confident he would re-sign, but he admitted he didn't expect it to take so long.
"Yeah, I was confident it would come," Fitzpatrick said. "I just had no idea it would take this long and then once it took so long I wasn't sure exactly how long it would take. I'm glad we got it done before that first team meeting on Wednesday night."
Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan had informed Fitzpatrick's agent that a deadline was set for 7 pm yesterday, the time of the first team meeting of camp, and Fitzpatrick was so eager to make that deadline he decided to go for a drive. It just so happened that drive would be a loop around the Jets practice facilities.
"I was circling around in my truck waiting for my agent to be like 'okay, you can go in.' I had expressed to him that it was really important for me to be in the 7 O'clock meeting," Fitzpatrick said. " I wanted to be there for my guys, I didn't want to miss anything, so finally I got the go ahead. I had like six minutes to get in the building, I pulled up and the guys at the (security) gate kind of looked at me funny but they waved me right through. And then I didn't have the door code, so I had to text Brandon (Marshall) and get his door code, which I don't know if he's allowed to give to me but he did, then ran into the meeting and I made it with a couple of seconds to spare."
Fitzpatrick wanted more money than he ultimately got and almost assuredly thought he deserved more than he got, but he held firm on his decision to bet on himself with the one-year deal and insists there's no hard feelings over the negotiations.
"It wasn't insulting. Fitzpatrick said. "I mean, none of this is personal."
Now the business end is over, it's time to get back to football and the Jets better make the playoffs or all that pressure will collapse on Fitzpatrick's shoulders.
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)