East Notes: Fitz, Wilkerson, Cousins, Cowboys

The Jets’ Todd Bowles indicated Tuesday that there’s no deadline to sign free agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, but the head coach backtracked on that today, reports Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. “If it’s Week 4 in training camp and he’s not here, you know who your starter is going to be Week 1,” Bowles said, implying that Geno Smith would be the Jets’ No. 1 signal-caller in such an extreme scenario. “You have time until you don’t have time,” continued Bowles, who added that the Jets will consider signing a veteran to compete for a backup role with rookie Christian Hackenberg and second-year man Bryce Petty if Gang Green doesn’t re-up Fitzpatrick.

More from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins is content to play this season under the $19.95MM franchise tag if he and the club don’t reach a long-term agreement by the July 15 deadline, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. One reason the 27-year-old is fine with operating under the tag is because he knows his price will continue rising if the Redskins franchise him again next offseason, relays Florio. Indeed, it would cost Washington $23.94MM to tag Cousins in 2017 and $34.47MM to do the same in 2018.
  • Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson – who skipped OTAs and is sitting out minicamp (and could hold out of training camp) – will not settle for less than the $103MM extension the Eagles gave Fletcher Cox on his next deal, writes Brian Costello of the New York Post. Although Wilkerson has a star-level track record, the Jets don’t regard the two-time second-team All-Pro highly enough to pay him Cox-type of money and already have a pair of other stud D-linemen in Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams. Thus, Wilkerson is likely to eventually sign his $15.7MM franchise tag, play 2016 under that and then bolt in free agency, per Costello.
  • The Cowboys have named Lionel Vital their director of college scouting, tweets Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. Dallas hired Vital as a senior personnel executive in March, but the team has now clarified his role. Vital was previously the personnel director for the Falcons, who parted ways with him in January.
  • After a mini-holdout, standout Dolphins safety Reshad Jones reported to minicamp earlier today.
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