Eric Decker Surprised Jets Drafted Hackenberg, Support for Fitzpatrick Builds

 Bill Wippert/Associated Press

Bill Wippert/Associated Press
All offseason, Eric Decker has heavily lobbied for the return of Ryan Fitzpatrick to the New York Jets. He has recently admitted he was surprised the team took quarterback Christian Hackenberg in the second round. “I was a little surprised, to be honest with you,” Decker. “But Mike (Maccagnan, Jets GM) and his scouts do their research and homework for a reason and they saw something special with him. I guess they wanted him earlier than later.”.

The selection of Hackenberg made the quarterback situation even more complicated for the Jets. The Jets and Ryan Fitzpatrick have been stuck at an impasse over a contract extension, many teammates have publicly supported Fitzpatrick. Decker said Fitzpatrick is the right man for the job. “Just because of the camaraderie I built and the relationship we had last year, and what we can build upon, I think he definitely is the right man for the type of team we have now,” Decker said, “It’s a team that’s ready to win now, and we need someone with a veteran presence at the quarterback position. My job is to catch the ball, but obviously, I want what’s best for the team — and that relationship I want as well.”.

 

The Jets are an older team, especially on offense. The unit is led by Decker, 29, and fellow receiver Brandon Marshall, 32. Fitzpatrick, 33, who galvanized the offense after replacing the injured Geno Smith in the preseason, is coming off a career year. The front office says it wants to re-sign him as the starter, but the two sides remain far apart.

According to Jets owner Woody Johnson, the team is in no rush to resolve the conflict. “By training camp, you’ve really got to have your quarterback in there,” he said earlier Tuesday. “We’ve got some time here. Training camp is not for another couple of months. I don’t think there’s any real urgency at this point.”. For now, Smith is the No. 1 quarterback, followed by Bryce Petty, who was a fourth-round pick last year, and Hackenberg.

Hall of Famer Joe Namath, the only quarterback in Jets history to win a Super Bowl, threw his support to Fitzpatrick. “Yeah, because the team wants him,” Namath said. “They did well last year. They respect him, the way he carries himself and puts them in good situations. Fitz, if he improves a little bit with his passing, they can be a quality, defensive (led) playoff team. But he has to improve, and the rest of the team has to improve.”. There is strong support for Fitzpatrick  should the Jets resign him?

 

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