Sometimes, it takes something really stupid to convince smart people to do the smart thing.
Take Ryan Fitzpatrick and the New York Jets, a journeyman quarterback and the team he led to the verge of the playoffs last year. Fitzpatrick and the Jets brought out the best in each other in 2015. They work better together than Fitzpatrick has ever worked with another team or the Jets with any recent quarterback. But pride, principle and a little bit of money kept them apart from the start of free agency through the first day of training camp.
Nothing could bring them together. Not an icy free agent market for Fitzpatrick’s services, and not a shallow draft class that left the Jets scraping the bottom of the prospect barrel. The Jets spent the offseason with the three worst Friends episodes on their quarterback depth chart: The One Who Gets Punched by Teammates, The One Who Can Barely Play Madden and The One Who Couldn’t Beat Northwestern. Fitzpatrick spent the offseason in limbo.
It got so bad that Fitzpatrick bestie and team leader Brandon Marshall even got involved, offering strong endorsements and even leading a micro-holdout on Fitzpatrick’s behalf. Not only did the protest fail, but Fitzpatrick stopped responding to Marshall’s messages for a while, “scaring” his wide receiver pal, as he said on the I AM RAPAPORT podcast (h/t New York Daily News). That’s what happens when a buddy gets stuck in the middle of a lover’s tiff.
No one would budge. The Jets penciled literal organizational punching bag Geno Smith in as the starter. Fitzpatrick, who eventually checked in with Marshall for an Instagram session, prepared to do whatever bearded Harvard alums do when not playing football—haunt flea markets or something. Jets camp opened on Wednesday with no Fitzpatrick in sight and reports from all the insiders that he would not arrive any time soon.
Then, something stupid happened.
The Rams cut Nick Foles, former prized acquisition turned overpaid catastrophe. There was suddenly another quarterback with starting experience on the open market.
Within hours, Fitzpatrick signed a one-year, $12-million contract, as Adam Schefter of ESPN first reported.
Months of speculation and negotiation, passionate lobbying by Marshall and other veterans, the threat of Bryce Petty walking on the field with a PS4 controller he can barely operate in relief of Smith and universal appeals to common sense all failed, but the threat of Nick Foles as a Fitzpatrick surrogate succeeded?
The Foles-as-leverage story feels too simplistic and reductive to be true. But the thrifty one-year deal Fitzpatrick signed suggests that he knew he was out of alternatives. Fitzpatrick and agent Jimmy Sexton may not have …
continue reading in source www.bleacherreport.com