Ryan Fitzpatrick wasn't in the building, but his presence was felt Monday at One Jets Drive.
On the first day of the New York Jets' offseason program, Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall sent video clips of plays from last season to their unsigned quarterback. It was a clever recruiting pitch, a way to let Fitzpatrick know they were thinking about him. As you may have heard, Fitzpatrick and the Jets are locked in a contract stalemate that has lasted longer than anybody anticipated.
"Obviously, we would love to have this conversation figured out so it's not a what-if game," said Decker, speaking to reporters on a conference call. "It's something that we can all give our opinions, but in hindsight, it doesn't matter until the GM and the front office figure out what's going to be best for us going foward."
Decker wouldn't give many details on the content of the video. He said they were "messing" with Fitzpatrick, highlighting areas that need to be improved. It sounds like he and Marshall spliced together some plays; it's unclear if they actually spoke on video to the free-agent quarterback.
If they did -- and if Fitzpatrick re-signs -- maybe the video can be a Best Short Film nominee. Marshall already has an Emmy Award nomination on his résumé.
"Hopefully, at some point, we'll get him in the locker room," said Decker, who has kept in touch with Fitzpatrick throughout the offseason.
It's still early in the offseason -- organized team activities don't start until next month -- but you get the feeling the quarterback uncertainty could start weighing on their minds if it lingers. Linebacker David Harris acknowledged he's concerned about Fitzpatrick's absence, but added that he'll let the front office handle the business of contracts. Decker echoed that sentiment, but the veteran wide receiver also wasn't shy about expressing his affinity for Fitzpatrick.
"I love Fitzpatrick," he said. "I had a good, fun year last year. I'd love to get to work with him if he's going to be the quarterback of this team.
"I think he's the right fit for what we do," Decker added. "He's had experience with coach [Chan] Gailey in the past. He had success in some aspects of the offense last year and hopefully we can continue that. ... I hope it gets resolved at some point so we can focus on football and not the what-ifs."
It's starting to seem like nothing will happen before the draft on April 28. The uncertainty shouldn't affect the Jets' draft strategy too much; either way, they need to find a long-term solution. Even if they draft a quarterback, they'd probably want to keep Fitzpatrick as the short-term starter.
Fitzpatrick, Decker and Marshall built terrific chemistry last season. Now we'll see if it gets squashed by the business side of football.
In terms of the team's psyche, Harris said the crushing, season-ending loss to the Buffalo could serve as a motivational springboard for 2016.
"You think about it here and there," he said. "Obviously, we didn't do enough to win the game and reach the playoffs. It gives you that fuel and motivation coming into this year, knowing how important every game is."