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
CUT YOUR LOSSES
- Mark Sanchez
- Sione Pouha
- Eric Smith
- Tim Tebow
UP IN THE AIR
- 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)
QUIETLY FLOAT ON TRADING BLOCK
- 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)
TRY TO BRING BACK, MAY NOT BE ABLE TO
- LaRon Landry
- Yeremiah Bell
- Mike DeVito