Just when it was beginning to look like the New York Jets may never fill their opening at general manager, the wait is over.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Thursday that Seahawks executive John Idzik was considered the "clear front-runner" for the job, and on Friday, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported it is a "done deal."
The Jets came out with an announcement shortly afterward:
It's official: Jets have announced John Idzik has been named general manager. Announcement was made by Jets chairman/CEO Woody Johnson.— New York Jets (@nyjets) January 18, 2013
La Canfora added in his report, filed to CBSSports.com:
Idzik was a key member of Seattle's front office and served as a chief negotiator and salary-cap manager and also had a personnel component to his responsibilities. He had been negotiating with the Jets following his second interview there this week.
Of course, it's not official until it's announced by the team, but for now, all signs point to Idzik as the next GM of the NYJ.
What's next for Idzik and the Jets?
Restore Salary Cap Stability
Much like the man in our nation's most prestigious office, the White House, Idzik inherits quite a mess from the previous administration.
While the fates of the middle class do not rest in his hands, the patience of Jets fans certainly does.
Idzik has helped bring balance to the Seahawks checkbooks, leaving them with $18.6 million in space for 2013 (via John Clayton of ESPN), and has done so while helping build a competitive team. The Jets are positioned to be $19.4 million over the salary cap in 2013 before making any roster moves (via ESPN).
We've heard before about the various moves the Jets could make to get closer to cap stability, including cutting:
- LB Calvin Pace ($8.56 million savings)
- LB Bart Scott ($7.15 million)
- OT Jason Smith ($12 million)
- S Eric Smith ($3 million)
Those moves will result in only $4.5 million in dead money. Easy enough, right?
The cuts may seem easy, given that the guys who are making all that money haven't done a lot of good for the team in their roles as starters. The hard part will be putting together a competitive team after all is said and done.
Even after those moves are made, the Jets will still be on the hook for $12.5 million to wide receiver Santonio Holmes (the highest contract for a wide receiver next year) and $8.25 million to quarterback Mark Sanchez.
They're probably not getting rid of either of those guys, but there's another step the Jets can take to help them along the way.
Find a Personnel Guy
In his time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Idzik made it a point to spend time with the coaching staff and watch film to get a firm grasp on the roster.
The New York Daily News also reveals that Idzik has experience playing and coaching the game, having "played college football before coaching two seasons (one as a grad assistant at Duke and another as wide receivers coach at SUNY Buffalo)."
All that being said, Idzik's primary experience has been in a role as a salary cap guru. He could strongly benefit from having a smart personnel man and talent evaluator at his side.
In fact, the delay in the search for the general manager was due in part to their desire to find a strong personnel man to be the GM. They had set their sights on Dave Caldwell, who fits that mold, but he took the GM job with the Jacksonville Jaguars over the Jets opening.
One of the best ways to reach cap stability would be to develop and build a team through the draft. The Jets have all seven of their assigned picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, and if they use them wisely, they could be on the road to recovery sooner than you think.
They have to hit on those picks, though, and to do that, they'll need someone with a high football acumen to do the evaluating.
Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless otherwise specified, all quotes are obtained firsthand or via team press releases.