New York Jets – Off-Season Advice For Woody Johnson

Preliminary off-season advice for New York Jets Owner Woody Johnson


Even though we have an entire off-season to discuss how the New York Jets can dig themselves out of their current mess, it feels appropriate to get into it a little bit today. There is no solution that involves minor changes or a slight “retooling” of the roster. The Jets weren’t a few games away from a playoff spot because Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes didn’t play this year. They have struggled this year because they lack talent, direction and common sense. Here is a collection of steps for Owner Woody Johnson to take this off-season to move away from being a laughingstock and back towards being a competitive football team –

1 – Fire Mike Tannenbaum and Terry Bradway – No demotions. No re-assigning Mike Tannenbaum to “cap guru” position as many fans have suggested. Newsflash: Mike Tannenbaum isn’t a cap guru. Look at Mark Sanchez’s contract! Beyond that, look at how he guaranteed money to Santonio Holmes, Calvin Pace and Bart Scott among others. Terry Bradway shouldn’t be employed by this organization either. In case you forget, he is the guy who traded a first round pick for Doug Jolley, took Mike Nugent with a 2nd round draft pick, and traded away a 2nd round pick for Justin McCariens. The entire personnel department needs to be revamped so this garbage roster can be looked at with the proper scrutiny and that starts with these two being let go.

2 – GM/Rex Dynamic – The new GM must be given full autonomy on how to handle the head coaching position. Personally, I think it would be wise to bring Rex Ryan back but the GM must be comfortable with him. If Rex does stay on, it must be under the condition that the entire offensive coaching is fired, obviously starting with coordinator Tony Sparano and quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh. Sparano has been an unmitigated disaster in his first season calling the Jets plays and Cavanaugh should have been fired after last season.

3 – Cut Your Losses On Sanchez – Eat the dead money if necessary but Mark Sanchez has to go. It is best for the team and best for him, as he is clearly checked out as a quarterback in this market. Maybe he restructures to help facilitate his release or a trade where he can be a developmental backup somewhere else. Maybe he doesn’t, either way he cannot continue on with this team. Start Greg McElroy the final two games and hope he shows enough to be a competent backup in 2013. Cut Tim Tebow. Look to add a low to mid-cost veteran via free agency or trade, maybe add a mid-round pick (this is a shaky year at QB in the Draft) and take it from there. A few names to kick around – Matt Moore, Matt Flynn, Kirk Cousins (Redskins might not let him go, unless for a King’s Ransom at this point), and Brian Hoyer.

4 – All Options On The Table – When you are so deep into salary cap hell and have so many needs, all options are on the table and that includes working the phones to see if you could swing a productive trade for anybody from Darrelle Revis to Antonio Cromartie, all the way through to David Harris. People naturally recoil at the thought of trading a Revis or Cromartie but here is the reality: you don’t have the luxury to have two elite, high-paid cornerbacks when you have gaping holes all over your roster.

5- Draft Heavy/Spend Smart – Load up on draft picks. The team currently has seven picks (one in each round). How about getting that number up towards the 9-12 range via trading current players or trading back on draft day in the necessary spots. When looking at personnel decisions not related to the draft, spend prudently and self-scout properly. Don’t pay Dustin Keller. Let him walk and sign Delanie Walker or Anthony Fasano for half the money. Don’t pay Shonn Greene. Try to sign Chris Ivory to a contract as a restricted free agent. Part ways with Sione Pouha because you have Kenrick Ellis and Damon Harrison. If you are going to spend, make it on enhancing your offensive line and outside linebacker positions which both badly need makeovers.

I even made a cheat sheet for you Woody!


  • Mike Tannenbaum
  • Terry Bradway
  • Tony Sparano
  • Matt Cavanaugh


  • Shonn Greene
  • Dustin Keller
  • Calvin Pace
  • Bryan Thomas
  • Bart Scott
  • Jason Smith


  • Mark Sanchez
  • Sione Pouha
  • Eric Smith
  • Tim Tebow


  • Rex Ryan (Needs to be new GM’s call)
  • Mike Pettine
  • Matt Slauson/Austin Howard (Need to find suitable replacements if letting them walk. Ideally replace at least 1 of 2)


  • Darrelle Revis (More hope to sign him long term if Tannenbaum is gone)
  • Antonio Cromartie (Value will never be higher)
  • David Harris (Good luck with that contract)
  • Santonio Holmes (Good luck with that contract)


  • Muhammad Wilkerson
  • Nick Mangold
  • Quinton Coples
  • D’Brickashaw Ferguson
  • Kenrick Ellis
  • Demario Davis
  • Jeremy Kerley
  • Stephen Hill (Because you can’t cut ties with a 2nd round pick this early…not with his size and speed)
  • Bilal Powell (Your hopeful 1B Back)
  • Greg McElroy (Your hopeful backup QB)
  • Joe McKnight (Kick returner/Hopeful can contribute on offense if properly used)


  • LaRon Landry
  • Yeremiah Bell
  • Mike DeVito

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports

  • Mario

    Your assessment is very good except I would start McElroy he may be viable for a starting position, you just don’t know until you see him perform in the games. Make Sanchez the back up this way you don’t need to sign any new qb’s.

    In addition I think Eric Mangini would make a good GM. He is really good at assessing talent.

  • mike

    personally i think shonn greene gets a bum rap. the team is undefeated this year when he has 20 or more carries, and although his season totals won’t be eye-popping, i’d argue that has more to do with playcalling (unbelievable, inexplicable, and just plain stupid playcalling) than talent. i’d also argue that his low season totals bring his asking price down to the point of being a steal.

    he shouldn’t be the only real option in the running game, because he’s not adrian peterson and we all know it. but i absolutely think he can carry the power running duties on this offense while the roster is upgraded.

  • bds

    they ought to try and re-sign keller. after an injury plagued and statistically mediocre year, and with other mid-tier tight ends entering free agency, he’s not likely to command a big payday.

    i’ve always had a soft spot for greene, although it’s likely unwarranted. i agree he does get a bum rap, but he just doesn’t have enough burst, nor adequate vision to compensate for it. powell looks to be coming into his own and, while he will never be an adrian peterson type back, he’s good enough when paired with a chance of pace back. so i agree with your recommendation to let him walk.

    austin howard can be had for cheap and has picked up his game over the last half of the season. i don’t see why you would let him walk–certainly bring in some other bodies to compete with him in training camp. at the very least he should be retained due to his familiarity with the OL and his experience. you can never have too much depth.

    bell and landry have been nice additions to the secondary. however, given that the team is officially over, i’d like to see rex play bush and allen at the safety spots to assess what they have in those players. ideally the team gets younger, faster and cheaper at a number of key positions next season. this should be one of them.

    i like the idea of dangling cromartie. as you mentioned, his value has never been higher. however, you don’t trade a darrelle revis. he’s a once in a generation type player who, if he stays healthy, may end up as the best CB to play the game. i agree that having two elite cornerbacks is a luxury the jets cant afford–take what they can get for cromartie. it’s clear that even if they had four elite CBs, opposing quarterbacks would still find a way to exploit the defense. they need to find a truly disruptive pass-rusher. teams can scheme around a great CB, but it’s much more difficult to do that against a dominant DE/OLB.

    those are my two cents.

  • Chris C

    If we’re being honest, I think the Jets almost HAVE to trade either Cromartie or Revis – Cromartie makes the most sense because his value will never be higher. As Joe said, it makes zero sense to have two shutdown corners on your roster when there are so many other holes on the team, especially on offense. Look at some of the top teams in the league and who they employ at cornerback. You don’t NEED two great ones. Revis is enough.

    And everything else doesn’t matter until the Jets figure out their QB situation. Don’t count out a dramatic move by the Jets at the QB position as long as Woody Johnson owns this team. Remember before the 2008 season, when the Jets were going to have a competition between Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens? Suddenly Brett Favre was a Jet. After 2008 came crashing down, the Jets were back at square one at QB, and were going to maybe give Clemens one more shot, or bring a veteran in to compete with him (sound familiar?). Boom, they traded up for Sanchez. I know the cap situation is dire, but I just can’t count out the possibility of some sort of big-name move at QB. Like I said, as long as Woody owns this team, it’s a possibility.

    If they don’t make some sort of big splash, you bring in Matt Moore or Jason Campbell or Kyle Orton and they compete with Greg McElroy (provided he plays decent in these last two games).

    P.S. this is not the blueprint for success in the NFL.

  • Willie

    I agree with a lot of what you posted, but I think we need to be realistic with our cap situation and make up of the roster. On the defense side:

    1)D line- I think we need to keep either Devito or Pouha. I’d prefer Pouha, be he will need to take a substantial pay cut to keep him on the team. If we could do that great if not I would cut him and sign devito. With either of those moves, we end up with a very good D Line of Wilk, Coples, Ellis, Harrison, Pouha/Devito, and a late draft pick or rookie free agent.

    2) Linebackers- This is the part of the roster that requires the most work. I would cut Scott immediately. Let Harris and Davis start inside. As bad as he is I think we need to keep Pace on the roster, all be it at a substanially reduced price. We will not be able to find two new starters at OLB with our cap situation and draft needs. I really think one of our first two picks need to be an OLB. This will allow us to start a rookie and Pace outside. I personally would draft two OLB this year. One early and one middle of the draft.

    3) Secondary- I would keep Revis and Cromartie unless I was offered a late one or early second and something else. I would resign Bell and let Landry go. Work out the other saftey spot with Allen, Bush, a draft pick or Kyle Wilson.

  • Martin

    Braylon Edwards should also stay. He was decent yesterday with only one week on his belt. He will play for peanuts and we don’t have depth at all in that position.

  • Will

    Cutting ties with sanchez completley will cost us 17mill against the cap we have to trade him and pay most of his 8mill contract to get rid. Id hope the skins might be interested in dealing us Cousins for sanchez and a 2nd but its a long shot.

  • Ryan

    Agree mostly, front office and offensive staff needs a total shakeup. I like the idea of the assistant GM from Baltimore who is an up and comer, young and energetic and has a relationship with Rex. Rex should stay. The job he has done with this roster to actually have them playing in a game in Week 15 for a possible playoff spot and keeping an old defense with flaws supporting a terrible defense was incredible. He needs to find a way to become a better overall head coach (offense and special teams with Westhoff leaving). Need to address explosive playmakers (Mike Wallace fits the description but will cost a lot and has attitude issues: Tone 2.0). Keep Landry, sign or draft a young rangy safety to complement him. Get speed on the edges (why does it feel like we have being saying this for 4 years, oh yeah, that’s right, they never addressed it). Get an all around TE (Fasano) and a back with speed and elusiveness (I like Ivory a lot).

  • Willie

    On Offense-

    QB- We have to be honest everything has to be blown up. The experiments have all failed. Cut/Trade Tebow and Sanchez. I will assume we cut Sanchez and get a 6th for Tebow. I would sign Matt Moore on a one year deal and draft a mid round prospect.

    RB- Keep Powell ( a decent 1b option) and Mcknight. I would let Greene walk and draft a back with one of our top 3 picks. I would not keep a fullback on the roster. In today’s NFL a pure fullback offers no flexibilty.

    TE- I think Reuland and Baker are decent #3-4 TE’s on a roster. I would let Keller walk. I would sign Delanie Walker and either draft a TE late or sign and UDFA.

    WR- This requires some faith here. I would hope that Hill and Kerley develop. I would keep Holmes since we cut Sanchez and cant take both cap hits in one year. I would sign a veteran WR to a one year deal (braylon) and draft a WR in the middle of draft.

    OL- I would keep Mangold and Brick. I would sign one free agent. At either Guard or RT. Depending on where we sign free agent I would resign either Slauson or Howard and I would fill in with Ducause or draft picks.

    This is not a great offense I design but we have to rebuild the roster and it will take a step back to get moving forward

  • Willie

    Draft, Coach, GM:

    I would fire the GM and the entire front office. I think we need a different prespective on the roster. The only possiblity is keeping Cohen if the owners things he has not been a substanial part of the decision making. But I would prefer a fresh look.

    Coaching- I would let the new GM interview Rex. I would like to hope he could work with him. Rex is an excellent defensive mind who can be an asset to any team. I am hoping he can mature. I would fire the entire offensive staff. Have GM and coach work together to find a coach who runs a pro offense that is aggresive and multiple. But if the new gm wants to go in a different direction I would allow it. Has to be the way to go.

    Draft- Need to target OLB, RB, OL. I would try to adhere to BPA. But I wouldn’t mind seeing a position breakdown like:

    1- OLB
    2- RB
    3- QB
    4- OLB
    5- WR
    6- OL
    6- TE
    7- DL

  • Rob

    Well at least Woody is coming away from this season thinking “mission accomplished”. Check out the top 10 selling jerseys in the NFL ending November:

    RG3, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning, Tom Brady, Andrew Luck, Victor Cruz, Tim Tebow, Troy Polamalu, and Patrick Willis.

  • Rob

    Oh yeah and I should have added, I really like the look of McElroy. Been watching him a while, including the last (2011) pre-season. This kid can play, no matter what the draft “measureables” say. Give him a chance to compete for the starting job (I know he’ll start the next 2 games, but will likely be out back on the bench next season.)

  • Marc

    You included dumping Matt Cavanaugh, so your list is infact complete.

  • Mike Donnelly

    Number 1 needs to happen or else the rest might be rendered meaningless unfortunately

  • I don’t see any scenario where Sanchez is NOT on the team next year. Cutting him triggers a $17MM cap hit – $17MM! That’s nearly 20 percent of the cap with one player – not going to happen. And who in their right mind would trade for him? That’s just wishful thinking. Unless he takes a massive paycut (and really, why would he?), he will be back, probably as a 2nd string QB.

    Trading Cromartie or Revis doesn’t make much sense to me – the secondary is the one strength this team has. You BUILD on that – not take away from that. How do you know what you will get back for one of them will be any good?

    And I don’t think Bilal Powell is your RB1 of the future. He’s solid, but not a game breaker. They need to find that in the draft.

    Agree with all of your other suggestions however. Let’s hope Woody Johnson and the new GM does as well.

  • Dan

    I think trading Revis or Cromartie for something is smart. Yes it’s our best feature and we should build on that. However, we probably won’t be able to afford both easily and this is an offensive league now. It’s great to have amazing CBs but they don’t win Super Bowls. If we can’t resign Revis because of his contract or if we want to trade Cromartie to save cap space, I say we trade him to Washington for Orakpo and a draft pick. I don’t know how their RGIII trade worked out but I know they definitely don’t have a first round pick. That could fill a gap at LB and we wouldn’t have to worry as much during the draft. We can spend that early draft pick on a WR or RB and boost our offense. Of course we’d have to get a CB in the 4th or 5th rounds to replace Revis/Cromartie (of course not perfectly). I would love to keep Revis as a franchise player and want to see him retire as a Jet.

  • Rachel

    If the Jets do all this, whether it works or not I’ll respect Woody for being proactive and for cutting his losses– one of the hardest calls to make in sports management, I think.

  • Huggy

    Woody is a buffoon who is lucky to have been born into his family. If he had any sense he would try to get either polian or the director of scouting from the Texans here and disappear. You don’t know football dude!!