New York Jets Debate Club: The Rex-tension

In our last meeting, the New York Jets Debate Club went back and forth on wether or not Rex Ryan is the man to lead the Jets going forward. Now, just over a month later, the Jets have extended Ryan. The deal tacks two years on to Rex’s remaining one, giving him three years (through 2016) to continue the work he began in ’09. The deal is “based heavily on incentives for post-season wins“.  If Rex does not meet these incentives, he can be let go with minimal loss. If he does meet them, the team has him locked up for the near future. With this information in hand, we at Turn On the Jets present the New York Jets Debate Club, an argument/counter-argument format, to best expound the various cases. Dalbin Osorio will argue in favor of the Rex-tension and Cole Patterson will argue its pitfalls.

The Failings of the Rex-tension

Cole: The deal essentially rewards mediocrity. Three years of no playoffs and a middling win/loss record (22-26 since last playoff win) does not warrant an extension.

Dalbin: The last three seasons under Rex may have produced no playoff appearances, but you need to dig a little deeper to really understand why Rex deserved an extension. During Rex’s third season, he had the Jets at 8-5 and in prime position for their third straight playoff appearance. However, locker room turmoil coupled with terrible play from Mark Sanchez doomed the Jets. Year four marked Rex’s lowest point as the Jets were done in by a lack of talent and arguably the worst QB play in the history of the NFL. However, Rex still had the Jets playing for the post season going into their week 15 matchup with Tennessee. Rex was able to bounce back this season with a second round QB and lead the Jets to an 8-8 record. The team appears to be ascending and a big part of that is thanks to the job done by Rex this year.

Cole: The extension provides only a façade of security and only masks the lame duck label. Rex will have the same issues with job security that he would have had without a new deal.

Dalbin: Rex’s contract locks him in until at least 2015. The extension allows Rex and Idzik to sell their collaborative vision to free agents. With no new deal, free agents may have questioned their job security if and when Rex left the team following the season.

Cole: The incentives in the deal again put Rex into a “win-now” mindset. In order to keep his job, he likely must make the playoffs next season. For a rebuilding team with so many holes, that is a lot to ask.

Dalbin: Rex is betting on himself. The Jets are in a better position to make the playoffs in 2014 than they were in 2013, with a kings ransom in cap space and draft picks. Putting Rex in a win-now mindset is for the best, he won’t survive four years of no playoff appearances either way. What’s not being talked about is that Rex is also betting on Idzik being able to get him some the right pieces to build his team.

The Benefits of the Rex-tension

Dalbin: The head coaching options this year weren’t worth pursuing and extending Rex was the best case scenario.

Cole: It is true that the coaching pool was not deeply talented, and one team (the Browns) has yet to find a man for the head job. That being said, why keep a coach who has proven to be inconsistent in the first place? If he is let go after this season than all the Jets have done is waist a year in finding the answer at head coach. They may not seem overly qualified but a coach the Jets may have considered could very well end up being the real deal.

Dalbin: This provides Geno Smith with continuity at both  Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator. He is not forced to learn a new offensive system in his 2nd year in the league.

Cole: If Geno Smith is the answer and if Mornhinweg were to be letgo along with Rex, than this is valid. However, despite a four game surge to end the season, Smith has yet to prove his validity as the long term answer. If he is not the answer, than maintaining the coaching staff around him (on potential alone) is a short sighted move. Finding a capable coach and coordinator is paramount as they are the one’s who develop the quarterback. Keeping a head coach and offensive coordinator with established tendencies of under-preparedness is irresponsible.

Dalbin: Key players (Mo Wilkerson, Austin Howard, and Jeremy Kerley) are in line for contract extensions. Keeping Rex makes them more likely to stay because there’s a good chance they would’ve left had Rex not been retained.

Cole: It is important to find a balance between the right coach and the right personnel. Again, similar to the previous argument, sacrificing coaching acumen for the sake of personnel is short sighted. If the head coach cannot use his players correctly and get the most out of them, than that talent can go to waste. Yes, these three players are keys to what success the Jets have had in the past few seasons. However, there are other draws to playing in New York and, though not easily, they are replaceable.