Mike Tannenbaum’s Career As New York Jets GM: Part 2, The Ryan Years

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New York Jets General Manger Mike Tannenbaum deserves a large share of the credit for the New York Jets being a playoff team in 2006, 2009 and 2010. He also deserves a large share of the credit for the Jets missing the playoffs in 2007, 2008, and 2011. Since taking over as GM, the Jets have been a .500 or better team in 5 of 6 seasons but have only made the playoffs half of the time. Basically, you are getting a 8-8 to 10-6 team who could sneak into the playoffs depending on how strong the rest of the conference is. Mike Tannenbaum is going to field a competitive team but he hasn’t shown the ability to put together a roster good enough to be one of the NFL’s elite.

Zero division titles. Zero 12 win seasons yet three playoff berths and four playoff wins. Tannenbaum’s resume is an inconsistent one, as a closer look at this history reveals, a history that should provide some insight into what the Jets will do in the coming months:

READ PART 1: THE MANGINI YEARS

2009

Primary Additions

Draft Class – Mark Sanchez, Shonn Greene, Matt Slauson

Free Agency Bart Scott, Jim Leonhard, Marques Douglas, Donald Strickland, Ben Hartsock, Howard Green

Trade Lito Sheppard, Braylon Edwards

Primary Subtractions

Released Laveranues Coles, Mike Nugent, Chris Baker, Bubba Franks, CJ Mosley, Eric Barton, David Bowens, David Barrett, Hank Poteat, Ty Law

Traded Chansi Stuckey, Jason Trusnik, Kenyon Coleman, Brett Ratliff, Abram Elam

Mike Tannenbaum hired a new coach in Rex Ryan and spent the entire off-season rebuilding the roster to fit his new coach’s identity. He succeeded in giving him the necessary pieces to help create the league’s top defense in 2009 but made his biggest splash in the draft by trading up for quarterback Mark Sanchez and then supplementing it by trading up for Shonn Greene. If you look at the list of players the Jets parted ways with this off-season, it is encouraging especially when you consider how many of the players brought in contributed to two teams that made the AFC Championship Game. Ultimately this off-season really can’t be judged until we see what happens with Sanchez and to a much lesser extent, Greene in the coming years.

2010

Primary Additions

Draft Class – Kyle Wilson, Vladimir Ducasse, Joe McKnight, John Conner

Free Agency Nick Folk, Brodney Pool, LaDainian Tomlinson, Lance Laury, Jason Taylor, Mark Brunell, Trevor Pryce

Trade Antonio Cromartie, Santonio Holmes

Primary Subtractions

Released Donald Strickland, Howard Green, Thomas Jones, Alan Faneca, Jay Feely, Lito Sheppard

Traded Kerry Rhodes, Leon Washington

There were plenty of controversial moves this off-season, notably releasing Thomas Jones and Alan Faneca, along with trading Leon Washington. Fortunately for Tannenbaum, the team improved from 9-7 to 11-5 and returned to the AFC Championship Game for the second straight year. However, he did continue a damaging trend of walking away from the draft with four or less players. He also selected his second major bust by taking Vladimir Ducasse in the second round. Kyle Wilson has been average for a first round pick as well. If Santonio Holmes doesn’t get his head on straight, this off-season is going to look very ugly a few years from now.

2011

Primary Additions

Draft Class – Muhammad Wilkerson, Kenrick Ellis, Bilal Powell, Jeremy Kerley, Greg McElroy, Scotty McKnight

Free Agency Donald Strickland, Plaxico Burress, Derrick Mason, Aaron Maybin

Trade Caleb Schlauderaff

Primary Subtractions

Released Damien Woody, Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Jason Taylor, Kris Jenkins, Shaun Ellis, Tony Richardson, Trevor Pryce, Brad Smith, Drew Coleman

Traded Dwight Lowery, Derrick Mason

One of the Tannenbaum’s worst off-seasons, if not his worst. He went for names over needs by focusing the team’s effort on chasing Nnamdi Asomugha in free agency and came up empty. He then replaced Braylon Edwards, the only player Mark Sanchez ever had deep ball chemistry with, by signing Plaxico Burress. The Jets badly missed Cotchery and Ellis in the locker room and the depth Lowery provided at safety. The Mason signing was a disaster and he was traded in the middle of the season. The best move ended up being finding Aaron Maybin on the scrap heap and then giving him a second chance after initially cutting him. It is too soon to clearly evaluate the draft but Wilkerson looks like he will be a solid starter and Kerley has very good potential. I believe the Powell selection will turn out to be a major head scratcher.