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The Jets are making a smart decision not to give in to Ryan Fitzpatrick

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They hold all the leverage in this negotiation.

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

With the start of training camp less than two months away, it would be easy for the New York Jets to give in to Ryan Fitzpatrick. But instead, they're holding their ground.

The Jets and Fitzpatrick are still mired in a multi-month standstill, with neither side willing to budge. Ever since the start of free agency in March, the Jets have reportedly had a standing three-year, $24 million offer to the veteran quarterback. The deal would pay Fitzpatrick $12 million in year one and $6 million over each of the following two seasons. Newsday reports the contract comes with $15 million guaranteed and could be worth as much as $36 million with incentives.

Fitzpatrick's issue probably isn't with his proposed $12 million salary for 2016, which would place him 21st in the league among quarterbacks according to Spotrac -- right between Russell Wilson and Andy Dalton. His problem appears to be with years two and three, in which he'll be paid like a backup quarterback.

And that's exactly how he should be viewed at this stage in his career.

There's no denying the impact Fitzpatrick, 33, had on the Jets last year. He was named the starting quarterback after little-known linebacker IK Enemkpali broke Geno Smith's jaw in a locker room altercation, and the Jets quickly rallied around Fitzpatrick in his first season with the team. The Jets started off the season with two straight wins, which led to head coach Todd Bowles declaring Fitzpatrick would be the starting quarterback for the rest of the year.

His counting stats were impressive in 2015, too, as he threw for a career-high 3,905 yards and 31 touchdowns. The Jets narrowly missed the playoffs with a 10-6 record.

But those numbers are an anomaly. Nothing about his career stats suggests that he'll join the ranks of Tom Brady and Drew Brees, quarterbacks who somehow defy the odds and put up huge numbers even after they've reached their mid-30s.

Fitzpatrick's career QB rating is 80.8, which would've placed him dead last among all 26 quarterbacks who attempted 350 or more passes last season (Fitzpatrick's 88 rating, the second-highest of his career, was 23rd). It's fair to expect Fitzpatrick to regress as soon as next season.

The 11-year veteran has also been a turnover machine throughout his career, which is probably why he's played for six teams. Since 2008, Fitzpatrick has averaged 14 interceptions and 417 pass attempts per season, which averages to about one pick per 30 throws -- or in other words, roughly one per game.

One of the biggest reasons why the New England Patriots have sustained their run of dominance over the last 15 years has been Bill Belichick's steadfast refusal to give into players. The Jets are taking a page out of his playbook here, and there's no reason for them to budge. They are, after all, believed to be the only team bidding for Fitzpatrick's services.

It would be underwhelming for the Jets to start their season with Smith as their starting quarterback and with Bryce Petty and rookie Christian Hackenberg backing him up. But it would be debilitating for New York to take a lofty cap charge for Fitzpatrick this season -- as he's reportedly suggested a one-year, $12 million counteroffer -- or pay him like a starter for each of the next three years. A happy medium is paying Fitzpatrick starter money for 2016 but being able to spread that cap hit out. Considering the Jets have only roughly $3.5 million in cap space, it's the only way they can do it.

Over the last decade, the Jets have addressed their quarterback vacancies through panic instead of prudence. All of those moves, from bringing aboard Brett Favre in 2008 to re-signing Mark Sanchez for three years, have blown up in their face.

For once, the Jets are taking the disciplined approach -- and it's the smart move.