The Jets have a small margin for error this offseason.
The New York Jets finally completed an elongated attempt to find the perfect replacement for former general manager Mike Tannenbaum en route to hiring former Seahawks executive John Idzik to man that role on Friday afternoon.
Owner Woody Johnson was ultimately ill-advised in making his final decision, though, but not because Idzik isn’t qualified for the job.
The Jets failed in administering a supposed salary cap guru to lead the team’s effort in restoring respectability to a franchise constantly compared to a circus. New York needed a specialist in player-talent evaluation. Instead, they opted to hire Idzik, who possesses a cap management background similar to Tannenbaum, although Idzik isn't a remote mirror-image of his predecessor.
The team’s befuddling braintrust appears to be self-constrained by the seeming notion that head coach Rex Ryan has substantial power over defunct owner Woody Johnson.
It’s unknown what happens behind closed doors in Florham Park, although it’s become increasingly apparent that Ryan has a mystifying effect over Johnson.
Why else would the Jets hire an expert in contract negotiations three weeks after firing someone who supposedly already fit that bill?
Idzik has never had power in determining personnel decisions; he doesn’t have substantial experience in evaluating talent, but sporadically attended personnel meetings in Seattle.
Idzik's expertise is contrary to what the Jets ideally needed even though he boasts impressive accolades.
It's not entirely illogical that the Jets would seek-out a salary cap guru to assume the role of GM, however. They’re in desperate need of an overhaul and need to reconstruct a roster poisoned with bad contracts and an insufficient talent pool.
Although, it's highly possible that an overriding intrinsic factor was also at play in determining who the Jets decided to hire to oversee all football operations.
Does Rex Ryan command too much power within the Jets' front office? And if he does, is Woody Johnson complicit?
It had been hinted early in the Jets’ GM search that Ryan was supposedly a key contributor in the team's drawn-out process of interviewing candidates, but ProFootballTalk previously reported that he was never involved.
Still, it became apparent when the Jets held an overdue end-of-the-season press conference that Ryan dictated uppity influence over Johnson, who appeared deflective when addressing reporters and also emphatically complemented Ryan’s coaching prowess.
Ryan dubbed next season a "new opportunity," although that doesn’t necessarily mean the boastful head coach plans to actually do things differently next season.
Ryan has always been a defensive-minded authority. His disparate understanding of how to implement an identity on offense and seeming inability to hire coaches capable of infusing offensive production is substandard for head coaches in today’s landscape of the NFL.
It's obvious to this point that the Jets are a franchise is transition, but it remains to be seen if certain changes, like adding Idzik as GM and introducing Marty Mornhinweg as the team’s new offensive coordinator, will subsequently have a positive effect on the team's total win tally in 2013.
The Jets’ horrid salary cap situation was dictated by a so-called expert in cap management. Now, the team’s new money-management guru is being asked to fix the books and compile the roster, despite minor experience in evaluating talent.
The Jets are expected to have just ten starters under contract for next season after clearing house and cutting ties with overpaid veterans Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, Eric Smith and Jason Smith.
Does Rex Ryan have an overbearing impact on Jets' personnel decisions?
The corresponding transactions mean that Idzik needs to add a lofty number of players to the 53-man roster—including 12 starters—with roughly $30.7 million, forcing Idzik to critically think outside-the-box.
Ryan won’t be a bystander in the process; he'll play second fiddle to his new boss.
Idzik was responsible for overseeing players’ contract negotiations with the Seahawks. He’ll be forced to be stingy in the negotiation process this offseason in New York, a process that could be heavily influenced by Ryan, who will surely have significant impact in determining which players earn a contract with the Jets next season.
It’s been like that ever since Ryan exploded on the scene in January 2009 and it won’t stop just because there’s a new boss in town.
The Jets arguably already had their personnel decision-maker in place before their three week venture for a new GM ever happened, and now, they’re expecting Idzik to crunch numbers and contracts under marginal cap space to make it work.