Fitzpatrick, still recovering from a broken left leg, will be limited throughout the Jets' offseason practices, general manager Mike Maccagnan said Thursday. Fitzpatrick is expected to be ready for training camp.
Maccagnan said Fitzpatrick will be "involved in some of the offseason stuff," but added that the 32-year-old quarterback "may be limited to a certain degree in the OTAs [organized team activities]."
Incumbent Geno Smith, who likely will battle Fitzpatrick for the starting job, and third-stringer Matt Simms will receive the bulk of the practice reps in organized team activities. The Jets have a voluntary minicamp that begins April 28.
Fitzpatrick continues to rehab his leg, which he broke last Dec. 14 while scrambling against the Indianapolis Colts.
Hoping to create competition at their perennially weak quarterback position, the Jets acquired Fitzpatrick from the Houston Texans for a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2016. Last season's backup, Michael Vick, is a free agent and won't be re-signed.
Maccagnan declined to call it an open competition between Fitzpatrick and Smith, but he did say it "will be a competitive environment and we'll see how it plays out." Neither Maccagnan nor new coach Todd Bowles has publicly endorsed Smith for the job.
The Jets, picking sixth in the draft, have been linked to quarterback Marcus Mariota. In fact, they have a private workout scheduled for March 28 in Oregon. Maccagnan and Bowles are scheduled to attend.
Maccagnan wasn't about to tip his hand on his draft plans, saying only that the addition of Fitzpatrick wouldn't preclude him from picking Mariota.
"I would say simply, I don't think any player is either on or off our board in terms of what we would do, based on our current roster," he said.
Maccagnan also plans to attend Jameis Winston's pro day at the end of the month.
The Jets decided to trade for Fitzpatrick in large part because of his background with offensive coordinator Chan Gailey. He was the Buffalo Bills' starting quarterback during Gailey's head-coaching tenure, 2010 to 2012.
Maccagnan, formerly the Texans' director of college scouting, got a chance to observe Fitzpatrick last season.
"I was very impressed with him -- his work ethic, his approach, his personality and definitely from a leadership standpoint," Maccagnan said. "I thought he played well for us prior to getting injured."
Fitzpatrick went 6-6 as the starter and finished with a 95.3 passer rating, but he was benched at midseason in favor of Ryan Mallett, who eventually got hurt. Maccagnan also addressed the Jets' aggressive offseason, saying he's "very happy with how it's played out. But it doesn't equate to wins and losses. There's still a lot we have to do."
The Jets have been one of the NFL's most active teams, trading for Fitzpatrick and wide receiver Brandon Marshall and doling out $168 million in contracts to sign five free agents.
The biggest prize was cornerback Darrelle Revis, whom Maccagnan called "one of the better players in the league." He also said he wants to sign defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson to a contract extension, but he declined to put a timetable on it.