New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick talks to the media as the team clears out their lockers at the team's NFL football training facility, Monday, Jan.4, 2016, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)
Rich Schultz
April 22, 2016

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Ryan Fitzpatrick is still a free agent - and the New York Jets' quarterback situation could remain in limbo for a while longer.

Re-signing Fitzpatrick remains a priority for the Jets, although general manager Mike Maccagnan acknowledged that there's not necessarily a hard deadline for the team to have the quarterback back on the roster.

''We like Ryan very much and we feel we have a very good situation for Ryan here,'' Maccagnan said at the team's predraft news conference Friday, reiterating his comments from earlier this offseason.

''He's a very good fit for us, too. So hopefully at some point in time we can work out some kind of an agreement on a contract.''

Fitzpatrick and the Jets remained in a contract stalemate Friday, six days before the NFL draft begins. The Jets recently worked out free agent Brian Hoyer, cut by Houston earlier this week, as a fallback option, several weeks after they brought in Robert Griffin III.

''Our focus is Ryan, but again, he's a free agent,'' Maccagnan said. ''You never know what happens in free agency.''

Maccagnan, taking a calm and cool approach, said the situation with Fitzpatrick ''will work itself out,'' but also acknowledged it could ''take some time.''

Either way, Maccagnan suggested that Geno Smith and Bryce Petty could see increased snaps when organized team activities begin next month - if Fitzpatrick still isn't back.

''No, I don't feel any pressure to have (a quarterback) by a specified time,'' Maccagnan said.

He said a team would, of course, like all of its players on the field for the offseason program. ''But, I don't really feel like we're locked in on (anything),'' he added, as far as a deadline.

Maccagnan also said that Fitzpatrick's situation wouldn't preclude the Jets from selecting a quarterback in the first round. He also confirmed that the Jets ''inquired'' about obtaining the No. 1 overall pick from Tennessee before the Titans traded it to the Los Angeles Rams.

''I don't want to get into how far along or how close we were,'' he said. ''Once you understand that picks are in play, you have to do your due diligence just so you understand all of your options.''

Memphis' Paxton Lynch might be a target at No. 20 for the Jets, if he lasts that long. While Maccagnan mostly spoke in general terms about the crop of quarterbacks available this year, he said Lynch ''has a degree of skill that is intriguing.''

Lynch's stock appears to be rising, which means New York might have to swing a deal to get into the top 10 if the Jets want him.

Maccagnan said the team is not actively looking to trade defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, who received the franchise tag and wants a long-term deal. But he could be trade bait, especially if the Jets have their sights on Lynch.

''At the end of the day, Mo is a good player, and it's part of the process,'' Maccagnan said. ''We have franchise-tagged players and that gives us a degree of ability to kind of retain them. It's a process that's going to work itself out.''

The Jets GM replied with a flat-out ''no,'' when asked if New York would consider rescinding the franchise tag on Wilkerson - as Carolina did with cornerback Josh Norman - if it can't work out a deal.

''I don't view that as an option,'' Maccagnan said. ''Everybody does things for whatever reason. But, no, at this point in time, that's not something I'm considering, or I think we as an organization are considering - or would consider going forward.''

Wilkerson is recovering from a broken right leg suffered in the season finale at Buffalo. He posted a video Wednesday of himself running on a weight-bearing treadmill, a clear message to the Jets - and possible suitors - that his rehabilitation is going well. Wilkerson, a Pro Bowl pick after a career-high 12 sacks last season, is expected to be ready for the regular season.

Maccagnan said left tackle Ryan Clady, acquired from Denver after D'Brickashaw Ferguson retired, is ''good to go'' after he missed last season with a torn knee ligament.

''I think, from a medical standpoint, he's cleared to play,'' Maccagnan said.

The four-time Pro Bowl pick is being brought along cautiously by the Jets, who are hoping Clady steps right into the starting spot vacated by Ferguson.

''We're just taking our time with him, just to make sure,'' Maccagnan said. ''But he's on schedule and fine for all that stuff. It's probably more us going slow with him.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

You May Like