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

t including at receiver, where the players campaigned for Fitzpatrick all offseason. The spring- and summerlong drama created a narrative that the quarterback position was going to make or break this. 

The regime that general manager Mike Maccagnan and coach Todd Bowles replaced made a big soap opera out of this, too: Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez. Those days were supposed to be behind this franchise.

Yes and no, apparently. The Jets’ big bet says they think that last season, pretty good overall in that intangible way, won’t be the outlier. That Fitzpatrick's career won’t plateau at the level it’s always reached at his previous five stops — most notably in Buffalo, where he last cashed a Mega Millions ticket for $59 million in 2011.

He was closing in on his 28th birthday then. He’s 33 now.

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So here is $12 Million Fitz. Also, here is Geno Smith, no longer needed as leverage, useless as someone the Jets are willing and able to turn to if Fitzpatrick turns them down or walks away.

His future as a Jet is over. He’s Nick Foles now, except at least Foles was getting squeezed out for a long-term plan.

The Rams freed Foles earlier Wednesday. If the Jets go a day longer than necessary to free Geno, they’re no better than I.K. Enemkpali.

Maybe the Jets will do right by Smith. Eventually, though, we’ll all find out if they did right by themselves.

Not just by Fitzpatrick and his bank account.