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Bowles: Jets Have Plan In Place If Fitzpatrick Doesn't Re-Sign

BOCA RATON, Fla. (CBSNewYork) -- Coach Todd Bowles said Tuesday the Jets have a cutoff date in mind for when they need to know if Ryan Fitzpatrick will be their quarterback, or else move on. But he added, "We're not close to that."

Speaking at an AFC coaches brunch, Bowles told reporters the team's preference is to re-sign Fitzpatrick. The Jets and the 33-year-old free agent QB have reported to be millions of dollars per season apart in contract talks.

"We're working through it," Bowles said. "It'll work out for the best. I think I feel pretty good about it. Obviously, we're going to try to sign Fitz back, but we have plans in place just in case it doesn't happen."

Ryan Fitzpatrick
Ryan Fitzpatrick of the New York Jets throws downfield against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on November 22, 2015, in Houston. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Bowles said he wasn't particularly surprised negotiations have dragged on as long as they have.

"It's a business. This takes time," he said. "It's the end of March. Nobody's doing anything right now. We're not playing, we're not practicing, we're not coaching anything. So everybody has a right to be stubborn."

One alternative the Jets have explored is the possibility of signing former Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. They met with the Heisman Trophy winner and former Rookie of the Year earlier this month.

"A bright young guy," Bowles said of RGIII. "Without knowing him before, just meeting and greeting him, I thought it went well."

The coach also discussed the signing of 30-year-old running back Matt Forte to replace Chris Ivory, who joined the Jacksonville Jaguars.

MORE: Keidel: Don't Hate On Fitzpatrick For Trying To Get Paid

Bowles said he was not scared off by Forte's age.

"I don't think 30 years old when I see a running back. I think I see a running back that can play," he said. "We have this mythical number in our head that 30 is over the hill as a football player, and that's not necessarily true. It all depends on how you carry yourself and keep yourself in shape, and there are a lot of guys that can do that, that can play well beyond the so-called age of 30. And it's up to us as coaches to distinguish that, and he's one of those guys."

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