The drama is building. We're only 12 days away from the NFL draft, and there are two major storylines with the New York Jets -- Ryan Fitzpatrick and Muhammad Wilkerson. This week's mailbag question addresses both (kind of).
@RichCimini: My hunch is the Jets still would want Fitzpatrick, but would he want them? I'd have serious reservations about that. He'd be boxed into a corner, his leverage gone. Judging by the way he's been holding firm the last several weeks, I have a hard time believing he'd accept an offer to baby sit Carson Wentz or Jared Goff.
Let's examine this from a practical standpoint.
If the Jets make a bold move into the top 10 for Goff or Wentz, they're basically handing him the keys to the franchise. When a team invests a high pick in a quarterback, it doesn't keep him on the bench for long, if at all. That's the conventional wisdom.
Maybe the Jets would take an unconventional approach.
Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles strike me as patient men, so I don't think they'd feel pressure to rush the rookie into the starting lineup. That's why you'd love to have a veteran like Fitzpatrick, someone to help groom the kid and keep the seat warm, if necessary. Thing is, teams usually don't pay more than $4 million or $5 million for that kind of quarterback. Right now, the Jets are offering Fitzpatrick more than $8 million, I'm told.
That's a lot of coin for a temporary starter, but not prohibitive.
Let's say the Jets make a trade with the San Francisco 49ers, moving up to No. 7 to grab Goff or Wentz. The first-year cap charge in that slot is $3.2 million -- hardly outrageous. The total contract would be about $17 million guaranteed. Again, not outrageous. They could dump Geno Smith, saving $1.1 million on the cap, and go with a Fitzpatrick-rookie tandem for $11 million or so on the cap. There would be enough cap room because they'd recoup $15.7 million by dealing Mo Wilkerson and his franchise tag.
Financially, it's feasible, but I'm having trouble envisioning it. I suppose the Jets could slow-play it, waiting until training camp to see if Fitzpatrick caves. If not, they keep Smith or pick up Josh McCown or someone of that ilk.
Like I said, the drama is building.