New York Jets – Embrace The Rebuild

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The New York Jets current level of roster talent and salary cap situation makes rebuilding an inevitable necessity. Rebuilding is the type of word people don’t hesitate to throw around when they are watching their team get Butt-Fumbled on National Television to their “biggest rivals” but when it comes to the actual practice, teams and fans get squeamish about it. Make no mistake, the New York Jets best approach to building a sustainable long term contender is cleaning house and making roster decisions with an eye towards 2014 and beyond, not 2013.

There has been chatter this off-season about restructuring Mark Sanchez’s contract. For some reason, this chatter intensified yesterday when reports came out about Tom Brady restructuring his contract despite the two situations being completely different and unrelated. Brady took an overall raise and a ton of long term guaranteed money to redo his deal. Tom Brady is a first ballot Hall of Fame player who New England is happy to have spend the next five seasons on their team despite him being over 40 years old at the end of the contract. When you get past trying to make a snarky Tweet, there is no comparison at all between the two situations.

The Jets shouldn’t guarantee Mark Sanchez 1 cent of 2014 salary in order to save money this upcoming season, which is what a restructure would require. One of the few positives about Sanchez’s contract extension is that it was set-up as basically a 2 year audition. He flagrantly failed in the first year of that audition and now the Jets are on pace for a clean financial break after this upcoming season. They’d be beyond foolish and shortsighted to mess with that clean break, particularly right now when Sanchez hasn’t shown a thing on the field to make you think he will turn around his play. Don’t jeopardize your 2014 financial and positional flexibility to improve your 2013 roster.

At linebacker, many were suggesting the Jets should bring back either Calvin Pace or Bart Scott at a reduced rate after releasing them. Why? You drafted Demario Davis in the third round last year to take over the inside linebacker position for Scott. Let him take over the position. He has all the veteran mentorship (in the form of an overpriced 2-down linebacker) he needs from David Harris. Find out if he can be a starting linebacker by letting him be a starting linebacker. He had his one year apprenticeship under Scott. At outside linebacker, it’d be wise to assume the Jets will be drafting multiple players at the position and likely one in the first or second round. Let the draft pick play. Let him take his lumps and make sure he is ready to hit the ground running in 2014. Muhammad Wilkerson started immediately as a rookie and look how he performed in his second year. If you want a veteran at outside linebacker, you can find an equally efficient player to Pace at a similar price tag in free agency. There isn’t even that much of a fall off if you when with Garret McIntyre and you’d be saving money.

Wide receiver is another position under the microscope with Santonio Holmes recently approached for a restructure, which he has apparently balked at. The fact that the Jets are even thinking of restructuring his deal instead of cutting him outright shows they believe he could have a future with the team beyond 2013 and he might. Holmes is less likely to be a lost cause than Sanchez and plays at a less consequential position that will require less of a financial commitment long term. Yet, if Holmes won’t budge on the restructure and there is a feeling they can’t work with him beyond 2013. Cut him now. If he isn’t going to be here in 2014, there is no reason for a hobbled Holmes coming back from injury to take reps from Jeremy Kerley, Stephen Hill, Jordan White and whatever draft picks the Jets add. If you want a veteran around, sign Braylon Edwards back on a  minimum contract. He’ll take it. Who cares if your depth chart looks weaker on paper in 2013? For 2014 and beyond, your roster will be better for it.

This thinking needs to go across every position, including how the Jets handle Darrelle Revis. If you cannot sign Revis long term, he must be traded before he walks for nothing in free agency. You need return for your roster in 2014 and beyond. This is a harsh reality and it doesn’t mean the Jets should be actively trying to lose games next year or should just throw in the towel but perspective is necessary. Are you building your long term offense around Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes, Shonn Greene and Dustin Keller or have we seen that movie and know how it ends? If you are moving on, move on and give the reps to the next guy. On defense, you are ready to build around Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples, Demario Davis and hopefully Darrelle Revis if you can sign him…if you can’t, then you are using what you receive back and Antonio Cromartie to build around.

Every decision John Idzik makes should be with the following question in mind – “Is this going to make us more competitive from 2014-2017?” – He shouldn’t be scheming on how to pinch together enough pennies for the 2013 roster that will cost the Jets long term. No future guaranteed money to Mark Sanchez. No hesitance to trade Darrelle Revis if you can’t sign him long term. No hesitance to cut Santonio Holmes if you know he won’t stay after this season. Rebuild the roster for the long term. Acquire draft picks, build depth and start a new day for this organization.

8 thoughts on “New York Jets – Embrace The Rebuild

  1. wouldn’t a trade of sanchez and reavis to sf for smith and their first round pick clean up a lot of the problems. they bear sanchez for only one year and don’t need the first round pick or reavis. In fact, we could throw in holmes for a second round or third round pick if they pick up his salary.

  2. I agree Joe, I will embrace it (as long as 2013 draft evokes optimism)

    Todd no way SF would take on Sanchez, he’s untradeable. Alex Smith would only lead us down the road to mediocrity anyway.

  3. Yes let’s look ahead beyond 2013. However, if Sanchez is Sanchez in 2013 just what are the implications for 2014? Do we draft and start a rookie QB?

    The QB is the key to the team’s performance. Perhaps some miracle will turn Sanchez around; or else it will be 2016 before we can put out a competitive offense.

  4. i dont think we need to worry about Idzik being hesitant to trade or cut players. It wasn’t his decision to bring any of these players to the Jets and he doesnt have to answer for them. I am looking forward to a concise direction towards rebuilding the Jets’ roster instead of just playing it fast and loose like Mike T.

  5. Joe,

    Once again an excellent article. Well done.
    I have a question regarding Matt Flynn. Why do I keep reading he will be too expensive for the Jets. How much could he possible cost. What about trading Revis to Seattle for Flynn and a #1 pick. I think that sound sfair all the way around. Let’s face it without a decent QB any team is toast. I bet if we get Flynn and a few other pieces through the draft we can be competitive. I think they should forget about drafting a QB until at least round 5 or 6. What are your thoughts?

  6. i can’t believe how quickly the fan base and jets writers are coming around on the idea of trading revis. to me it’s a betrayal of epic proportions to unload one of the best players in the league for a draft pick (for those who aren’t aware, the jets draft record is pretty awful, and idzik is untested).
    it would be especially bad because it basically means that at the start of 2014 we’d have a new qb, a new head coach, and coordinators in their second years. does that seem like a recipe for success to anyone?
    pay your best player, build an offense that simply doesn’t turn the ball over, and the jets can compete in this coming season. i’m not saying we shouldn’t rebuild, i’m just saying we shouldn’t demolish. there’s a difference.

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