In late March of 2015, Arian Foster visited the Miami Dolphins. I said on April 1st that the Dolphins brass were foolish for not offering him a contract and locking him up right then and there. Apparently, just a few months later, they agreed.
The Jets would also benefit from getting Ryan Fitzpatrick under contract, but the problem is, they can’t even find him.
I have said it quite a few times, but Miami is a perfect landing zone for Arian Foster. Foster needed to go to a back field where he didn’t have to shoulder the load, where he could still find a lot of work, yet limit his chance of injury. You know, those pesky injuries that have essentially been the only thing standing in Foster’s way of Canton.
It is reciprocal, however, as Foster is more valuable to Miami than his skill set brings to the field. Miami is heading into the 2016 without Lamar Miller — who swapped uniforms with Foster in Houston — and has a relatively unknown and inexperienced backfield in Jay Ajayi and third rounder Kenyan Drake. Sure, you have the other misfits like fumblin’ Daniel Thomas or top bust-worthy candidate Isaiah Pead, but Foster’s signing may make their roster spots difficult to maintain.
But if anyone knows anything about being unknown and inexperienced it is Foster. Undrafted out of Tennessee, Foster went on to become the best running back in the NFL for a three-year span in which he accumulated just under 7,000 total yards and 47 touchdowns. He can provide the veteran leadership these two young backs need to flourish once Foster’s time passes.
He also has Adam Gase calling the shots. Gase’s offense in Chicago was led by a two-headed backfield in Matt Forte and Jeremy Langford and he got the most out of both of them. He also enjoys the passing game out of the backfield, and you can argue that at this point in his career Foster is more valuable as a pass catching back than a runner as it is. It seems that he would agree.
“Adam (Gase, coach) really knows how to use running backs out of the backfield, which I think is my best quality — route-running and catching the ball,” Foster said to the Detroit News.
Miami gambled that Foster will be healthy for a full season. If he is, he makes them a wild card contender because he could bring this young offense to the next level.
The New York Jets and Ryan Fitzpatrick have gotten so far behind in their contract talks that he has gone MIA.
“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.” (per Pro Football Rumors).
This is getting silly on both sides. The Jets have arguably one of their best teams in place in quite a few seasons. The have a huge advantage with Tom Brady on the sidelines for four games — no matter how positive the reports of Jimmy Garoppolo are right now – and could be primed to make a move in the AFC East. As long as Geno Smith, Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg have nothing to do with their offense.
Equally, this is the best position Fitzpatrick could be in for his entire career. He will 34 by mid-season. He has long been known as one of the best backup quarterbacks in the league who can actually lead a team as a starter when he needs to be. He is likable because of his big beard and that he has Ivy League brains. The true little guy who made it.
But he hasn’t made it all that far. In fact, Fitzpatrick has never seen a playoff game. Brandon Marshall. Eric Decker. Now Matt Forte. If those guys have just an average quarterback, which Fitzpatrick is slightly better than, this team could easily be playoff bound, especially with their defense. If Geno Smith is at the helms however, it’s a different story.
The AFC East could be one of the more competitive conferences in the NFL this season, and these two stories certainly effect that outcome. Stay tuned, as I’m sure the As the Fitz-Magic soap opera will continue this week.