Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn't expect to return to Jets next season; Nick Mangold wants to come back

ByRich Cimini via ESPN logo
Thursday, December 29, 2016

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Dispelling retirement rumors, injured center Nick Mangold said Wednesday he wants to return to the New York Jets for a 12th season. The other half of their center-quarterback tandem, Ryan Fitzpatrick, doesn't expect to be back.

"I think there's probably an obvious reality of the way this year is going to come to a close for me," Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick will be a free agent because his contract automatically voids after the Super Bowl. Chances are, the Jets will look to add a veteran to their young quarterback room, but it almost certainly won't be Fitzpatrick, who bottomed out after a career year in 2015.

Fitzpatrick, 34, has been benched twice, but he's back in the lineup for the season finale against the Bills. He will replace Bryce Petty, who tore the labrum in his left (non-throwing) shoulder last week.

The Jets wanted to re-sign Fitzpatrick so badly last offseason that they held open his starting job during the five-month negotiation. They wound up signing him for $12 million, hoping he could build on last year and get the team into the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

But they've regressed. Their record is 4-11, including a 2-8 mark by Fitzpatrick, who called it the toughest year of his career.

"Yeah, I would say this has been the most difficult, just in terms of the expectations I had for myself, for the team, for all of those things," said Fitzpatrick, who has 17 interceptions, the second-highest total of his career. "For me to not meet some of that stuff definitely has been difficult."

Mangold, on injured reserve with a severe foot/ankle injury that cost him the past seven games, said he will be re-evaluated in a couple of weeks. He acknowledged that surgery is a possibility, but said he doesn't think it'll keep him out of training camp.

Mangold, a seven-time Pro Bowler who turns 33 next month, said he has had no thoughts of retiring.

"I love football. I miss it dearly," he said, speaking to reporters for the first time in more than a month. "I want to keep playing football, and I want to keep doing it here."

The Jets might ask Mangold to take a pay cut. His cap charge in 2017, the final year of his contract, is $9.1 million. That includes $6.075 million in base pay, plus a $600,000 workout bonus.

Asked if he'd agree to a pay cut, Mangold said, "We'll cross that bridge when we get to it."

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