FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- After resolving his contract dispute with the New York Jets, Ryan Fitzpatrick pulled up to the team facility Wednesday night, eager to attend the first meeting of training camp.
One problem: He couldn't get in. His door code no longer worked.
"Woody completely shut him out of the facility," wide receiver Brandon Marshall joked Thursday, referring to owner Woody Johnson.
It was a fitting end to the six-month stalemate -- one last obstacle to cap an ordeal that lasted longer than both sides expected.
Fitzpatrick was able to laugh about it after his first practice, a rusty performance in which he threw two interceptions, but the Jets' starting quarterback indicated he wasn't too happy at the start of the negotiations. He declined to use the word "insulting," but he was taken aback by the team's first offer in February -- three years, $24 million.
"I made clear to them I would never accept an offer like that," Fitzpatrick said.
"That was a deal that basically said, 'We want you here, and then we want you to stay here as the backup,'" he added. "That's not how I view myself. I'd much rather pass up on some of that guaranteed money and just sign a one-year deal and bet on myself and see what happens."
Fitzpatrick wagered on himself by signing a contract that will pay him $12 million this season. Technically, it's a two-year deal, but the second year will void five days after the Super Bowl, he said. The second year was added for the purpose of spreading his signing bonus ($10 million) over two years. As a result, his cap hit is only $7 million for 2016. There will be a $5 million dead charge in 2017.
Fitzpatrick called it "a compromise" that helps both sides, adding that he figured months ago it would take a deal like this to end the impasse. He was confident a deal would happen at some point, but he wanted no part of the original offer.
"I mean, I would almost not want them to sign a guy [to that contract]," he said. "How could I look myself in the mirror every morning and say, 'Yeah, I'll try to play good this year, and next year, I'll collect checks and teach the young guys.' That's not who I am, that's not my nature."
The young guys are Bryce Petty and rookie Christian Hackenberg, neither of whom is ready to compete for playing time. The No. 2 is Geno Smith, who would have been the starter if Fitzpatrick hadn't re-signed.
The Jets never wavered with their plan, saying Fitzpatrick always had dibs on the starting job, so Smith wasn't blindsided by the demotion. He handled it well, although he admitted some frustration.
"I'm not disappointed. I'm kind of pissed off," Smith said. "It's not a detrimental thing. It's not something where I'm pissed off at anyone, because we all want to be out there. This just adds fuel to the fire, but not in a negative way.
"I don't want it to be a headline, because it's not what I'm trying to say. It's more as a competitor, as a quarterback, knowing what I'm capable of and always believing in myself and knowing the work I put in in the offseason. You want to be out there."
Coach Todd Bowles reiterated that Fitzpatrick is the starter, saying only an injury would prevent him from being the Week 1 quarterback.
"It's his job," Bowles said. "I told you that in the spring. It's OK to have two quarterbacks. It's a good problem to have. Based off what he did last year, he's earned it."
Bowles said the team gave Fitzpatrick a 7 p.m. ET Wednesday deadline because "we had to move on." He also said it was "good for some players in the locker room to have clarity."
The drama ended at 6:59 p.m., when Fitzpatrick walked into the team meeting. He used Marshall's door code to get in the building and apologized to Bowles for being almost late.
"That's a $12 million fine," Bowles said in front of the team, drawing laughs.