The Jets want Ryan Fitzpatrick to return and Ryan Fitzpatrick wants to stay a Jet. And one of the top passers in franchise history believes the pairing works on all levels.
"When you look at the Jets' situation, they are in a perfect scenario," said Chad Pennington during the latest installment of his self-named podcast. "I think the organization needs to understand what they have in Ryan Fitzpatrick, the stability he brought to the organization in a time during training camp that the situation could have gone completely south."
Fitzpatrick, who broke his leg last December and was acquired in a trade from Houston last March, gradually had his workload ramped up and took over the team's starting position in the second week of training camp. He went on to lead the Jets to a 10-6 mark while establishing a franchise-high/career-best with 31 TDs, adding a personal-best 3,905 yards passing and leading an offense that set a franchise mark with 5,925 yards.
"To go out and test the market – yeah he can find more money probably somewhere else. But I think he really wants to look at - and if I were him I would - look at the situation I'm in to be successful," Pennington said.
After eight seasons with the Jets, Pennington recalls signing with the Dolphins in 2008. Bill Parcells, who drafted Pennington with the 18th overall pick in 2000 when he was director of football operations for the Jets, was the Dolphins' vice president at the time.
"It was similar to when I went to Miami," Pennington said of Fitzpatrick's current scenario. "Bill Parcells was very up front with me and said, 'Look, we have a young quarterback who we believe can be our future. We want you to come in, hold down the fort, teach him, do what you do as a veteran and let's see what happens.' Very up front with me about that and I trusted that and it worked out. So I think that's the situation that Fitz is in."
While Fitzpatrick already has a prolific year under his belt with the Jets, Pennington was starting anew in South Florida. But both synced up with respected play-callers in Chan Gailey and Dan Henning respectively. And while the Dolphins had just drafted Chad Henne in 2008, the Jets have a pair of young signal callers on their roster in Geno Smith (25) and Bryce Petty (24).
"I think you're in a good situation where you have two young quarterbacks that you can continue to take another year to get a feel for and then be able to move on while you still have a Ryan Fitzpatrick there," Pennington said.