Inside the NFL  


Ryan Fitzpatrick proving to be perfect fit for New York Jets


The following item is excerpted from the Week 15 edition of Albert Breer's exclusive Inside the NFL Notebook:

Todd Bowles telling the New York Daily News last week that he would "definitely" want to hang on to Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is set to be a free agent this offseason, after 2015 should hardly come as a surprise. The veteran quarterback was good in Houston last year and he's been better in New York this year, while the other quarterbacks on the Jets' roster either have shown little in the opportunities they've gotten (Geno Smith) or are still in need of time to develop (Bryce Petty).

But there are things you don't see that are considered just as important internally, things that make Fitzpatrick an ideal piece to the puzzle Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan are putting together as they continue rebuilding and flushing out some of the problems they found when they arrived on the job in January. Most of it goes back to the 33-year-old's self-assuredness in who he is and where he's at in his career. Rather than look over his shoulder at his 25- and 24-year-old backups and cordon off territory the way an old dog does when his family gets a new puppy, Fitzpatrick has been good for both Smith and Petty, as the former tries to pump life back into his career and the latter works to jumpstart his.

And with an eye toward the future, there's no question that both parts of that equation matter. The fact that Fitzpatrick can still play gives the team flexibility, so they won't be pushed into drafting the wrong young quarterback. That he's been good for Smith and Petty indicates that he'd be accepting of the next guy the bosses bring in. Both sides know where the other stands, and while there's no rush to get something done for now -- there are a few other players the Jets need to think about for 2016 first -- there's a good chance a deal could be worked out between the end of the season and the start of the league year. And no, Fitzpatrick isn't suddenly the long-term answer. But most quarterback-needy teams are looking for a guy they can tread water with, and the Jets have a pretty good one.

Follow Albert Breer on Twitter @AlbertBreer.



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