Not everyone will survive the New York Jets' offseason as the team needs to hand out some big contracts that could cause the release of other players. With a lengthy to do list in the coming months, the Jets will have to prioritize some players which means others can test the market in search of different deals. With Ryan Fitzpatrick being the first piece to the 2016 puzzle, will his contract have repercussions elsewhere?
According to the New York Post, a contract is expected between Fitzpatrick and the Jets once negotiations can officially begin. The 31-year-old proved he can still compete at a high level as he was the x-factor for the Jets in Todd Bowles' first year as head coach. The quarterback made $3.25 million this season in the final year of his contract and that number is expected to skyrocket this offseason which will put the Jets in a tough situation when it comes to signing other players to preferred contract prices. Once Fitzpatrick is secured for the future then other dominos will fall.
"I don't want to live with hypotheticals, but I had a lot of fun this year. It's the most fun I've ever had in a season, with the guys in this locker room and the run we had in December. Hopefully, I can be back and can continue to build on that. This is obviously the place I want to be, a place I'm comfortable with, but we'll see how everything goes."
Fitzpatrick does not sound like a guy looking to take a hometown discount, but with Geno Smith and Bryce Petty as the only other two quarterbacks under contract, the Jets cannot afford to lose him. That means other players could be released as a result. According to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, Jeremy Kerley, Antonio Cromartie and Dee Milliner could be the biggest cap casualties to hit the Jets in order to begin freeing up space. All three players had lackluster seasons and could be viewed as expendable to the franchise.
After Fitzpatrick is signed, the next biggest contracts to be looked at will be deals to Damon Harrison, Muhammad Wilkerson, Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell. All four players played critical roles for New York this season and will want to get paid as such. According to the Post, it is likely only two of those players survive. The Jets will have to pick between Harrison and Wilkerson while also looking at Ivory against Powell. Unless someone agrees to less money, New York will simply not be able to keep everyone happy.