Now, Ryan Fitzpatrick has to be $12 million good. He has to be truly worth $12 million — and four months of playing chicken and milking every milliliter of leverage they had — to the Jets.
Fitzpatrick had better be the answer.
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There had better be at least one playoff game. Better, a playoff bye. How they manage that, who knows. The Jets still play in the same division as the Patriots. They also play in the same division as the Bills, who intercepted Fitzpatrick five times in two Jets losses last season: losses that can easily be described as the ones that kept 10-6 New York out of the playoffs.
Fitzpatrick got a raise off that , almost quadruple from last year. If nothing else, let's never again hear about "mediocre" Night net players getting paid "too much" and how "the system is broken." Behold this system.
Stats, of course, can be parsed to support this deal or denounce it. Quantifying quarterbacks by win percentage is dangerous. Ask Russell Wilson, who apparently owes all his lifetime wins to Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman.
But Fitzpatrick and the Jets danced for way too long — through flirting with other teams and deadlines and threats of retirement and forced silence — for them now to bump along as a wild-card contender in late December, scoreboard-watching like last season.
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The other pieces are in place, especially on defense, bu