Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t planning on retiring.
Contrary to an ESPN report in late April that the free-agent quarterback would “rather not play football” than accept the Jets’ current offer, Fitzpatrick told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday that he “had a great time with the guys last year and I want to continue doing this. I’m still preparing for the season.”
Fitzpatrick conducted the interview during Willie Colon’s charity golf outing benefiting lupus research in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. He later told reporters he doesn’t plan on sitting out 2016.
“I’m playing,” he said. “I’m playing football next year.”
Although he reiterated his desire to rejoin the Jets, Fitzpatrick didn’t shed any more light on the negotiations. “I would like to be back,” he told ESPN New York and the New York Post.
Fitzpatrick, who will turn 34 in November, declined to comment further. He also wouldn’t put a percentage on his chances of being back in green and white. Still, it’s clear his preference is to return to the Jets. The main issue remains money.
Fitzpatrick made $3.25 million in 2015, his first season with the Jets. Early in free agency, sources indicated the team’s initial offer was about $7 million or $8 million a year — well below the average ($18 million) for quarterbacks who signed free-agent deals this offseason.
“You would drive yourself crazy looking at other contracts around the league,” Fitzpatrick told SiriusXM.
With Fitzpatrick leading the offense, the Jets were 10-6, one win shy of the final AFC wild-card spot. Fitzpatrick threw for a career-high 31 touchdowns (also a Jets record) and 3,905 yards, and receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker also had breakout seasons.
With Fitzpatrick unsigned, Geno Smith is the Jets’ No. 1 quarterback, followed by backup Bryce Petty and second-round pick Christian Hackenberg.
General manager Mike Maccagnan hasn’t ruled out keeping four quarterbacks, but carrying that many on the roster during the regular season is highly unlikely.