AFC East Notes: Geno, Fitz, Harris, Foster, Pats

The Jets/Ryan Fitzpatrick saga could last well into training camp, according to Ian Rapoport of (Twitter links), who adds that New York’s staff may need to see how Geno Smith performs in preseason contests before deciding if the club can cope without Fitzpatrick. Given that the Jets cleared some cap space by lowering Muhammad Wilkerson‘s 2016 charge (through an extension), some observers believed that Gang Green could now afford to offer Fitzpatrick the deal he’s sought, but it doesn’t sound like an agreement is close.

Meanwhile, while Jason La Canfora of opines that Jets management needs to set a deadline for talks with Fitzpatrick, wide receiver Brandon Marshall says he’s lost communication with the veteran quarterback. “To be honest, me and Fitz talk everyday, all the time, but I texted him the last two weeks three times and there’s no response,” said Marshall, per Ryan Mayer of CBS New York. “The only thing that he can do to make this right is to say he was on vacation, I was out of the country. It’s not like him. It’s scaring me right now.”

Let’s take a look at more from New York and the rest of the AFC East:

  • Although David Harris doesn’t have any guarantees left on his contract in 2017, the Jets figure to hang onto the veteran linebacker through the end of his deal, argues Brian Costello of the New York Post. Harris’ three-year deal, which he signed prior to 2015, contained $15MM guaranteed, but all of that total was made up of base salaries. As such, the club could release him after the upcoming season without any dead money accelerating onto their cap. But as Costello notes, Harris is viewed as a locker room leader, so as long as his play doesn’t fall off completely, it stands to figure that he’ll remain on the roster.
  • “I still feel like I’m a Pro Bowl player and I intend to show that,” said running back Arian Foster after agreeing to terms with the Dolphins earlier today, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Foster inked a one-year, $1.5MM deal that can max out at $3.5MM, and his presence in South Beach further complicates a running back unit that already boasted Jay Ajayi, Damien Williams, and rookie Kenyan Drake. Foster’s pact only contains $400K guaranteed, so if he can’t stay healthy during the preseason, Miami can cut ties without too much of a fiscal penalty.
  • Patriots safety Nate Ebner has been selected for the United States rugby team, agent Sean Stellato tells Adam Schefter of (Twitter link). Head coach Bill Belichick has indicated that he supports Ebner’s Olympic bid, provided that he reports to the New England in shape and ready to go for the upcoming season. This offseason, the Patriots re-signed the special teams standout to a two-year, $2.4MM deal, presumably with the knowledge that he would go out for the U.S. rugby team. Ebner won’t Olympian with NFL experience, as former Lions running back Jahvid Best will be member of Saint Lucia’s track team.
  • Although the Bills used a fourth-round pick on him, rookie quarterback Cardale Jones won’t have much of an impact during the 2016 campaign, writes Joe Buscaglia of WKBW. Jones didn’t look NFL-ready during minicamps, so any hopes of him usurping backup EJ Manuel are no more, and given that Buffalo doesn’t need to keep three quarterbacks active on gameday, Jones figures to spend much of rookie year holding a clipboard.
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