What We Learned from John Idzik's First Press Conference as New York Jets GM
John Idzik just conducted his first press conference as general manager of the New York Jets.
A broad range of topics were covered, from the Jets salary cap situation to the future of Mark Sanchez to Idzik's background and history as a general manager and a lot in between.
Declaring the hiring a success or failure after one day would be an exercise in idiocy, but Idzik sounded ready to handle many of the most pressing issues facing the Jets headed into 2013.
Here's some of what we learned from the press conference.
Salary Cap Was Not a "Hindrance" To Taking the Job
The Jets are projected to be $19.4 million over the salary cap, and although there are some moves they could make to get on the safe side of the cap sooner than later, it's still going to be a tough job to get the team under the cap while also fielding a competent roster.
Idzik was asked whether he felt hamstrung by the Jets cap situation.
I never saw the cap situation here as a hindrance or anything like that. It's something that you research, you pour through, you evaluate, just like we evaluate our roster, and you make the moves that you think are best for the Jets. I'm fully confident we'll be able to do that, and we'll have a fruitful offseason.
Idzik left the Seahawks in good shape with regards to the cap, set to be a safe $18.6 million under the cap for 2013, and his successes with the Buccaneers, Cardinals and Seahawks should serve as enough evidence to his ability to work some salary cap magic.
But the salary cap is just one of many issues facing the job. In fact, the job is so difficult from an outsider's perspective, reports that the Jets "couldn't give the job away" were believable by most accounts.
Idzik was asked if he took umbrage with that assessment.
Everyone's going to have their opinions, you know, and I don't deal much in perception, to be honest. I deal with reality, and the reality here is I think this is one of the most fabulous football infrastructures anyone could ask for.
Idzik spoke glowingly of the process the Jets went through in terms of finding the general manager, an exhaustive process which included looking at a long list of candidates.
Mark Sanchez's Future is Not Sealed
One of the biggest problems facing the Jets this offseason is how to handle Mark Sanchez, and the $8.25 million guaranteed to him.
Idzik will have to deal with that money either way, and was asked what his approach will be.
Well Mark, obviously with Pete Carroll, we have a little bit of background there with him coming out of school. I can't comment, really. I'm literally hours into the building. Rex had to show me my office, where it is. So I don't want to drill down too deeply. We're going to save that for our evaluation process in the days and weeks to come, but in looking at Mark, and even evaluating him as a draft prospect, he's an athletic guy, he was accomplished at [USC], he's done some nice things here, but I think we just need to take our time and evaluate mark with everybody else on the roster and see how we can move forward and improve.
Smart move. It would be beyond premature to discuss a player's long-term future with the team so soon after getting the job.
The Jets are now running a West Coast offense, which could play into Sanchez's strengths, and will at least call upon his history at USC where he was playing in a West Coast offense.
Regardless of what happens this year, the Jets will be off the hook for Sanchez following the 2013 season.
Darrelle Revis Trade talk "Premature"
Rumors have begun swirling that the Jets could trade cornerback Darrelle Revis.
It's easy to see why they would at least consider it, but considering how long it's been since Idzik took office, it's hard to believe he has already mapped out trade possibilities.
I think it's way premature to say anything specific; again, I haven't even had a chance to sit down and really vet through our roster with Rex and his staff, and the personnel staff, so I think it would be presumptuous to say anything on that.
The Jets would have to get something out of Revis this year, because he can't be franchise tagged in 2013. The problem is he's coming off ACL surgery, and his value may be in question with that in mind.
Put it this way, though: Any GM taking over a team in as poor shape as the Jets from a cap and roster standpoint would be doing a disservice to his team not to explore any available option.
Circus Talk a "Misperception"
For much of the 2012 season, the Jets were described as a circus.
Your thoughts, Idzik?
There seems to be a lot of misperceptions, but once you get to a brief breakfast with the entire building —the entire building showed up to shake my hand. That's pretty impressive, that people go out of their way to introduce themselves to me and make me feel at home. So I sensed that. I don't look at it as "repair," I look at it as fostering what we have here. ...I don't sense dysfunction or anything like that.
It will be interesting to see if the perception changes with Idzik at the helm as GM, but chances are slim considering Rex Ryan is still the head coach.
Player Evaluation vs. Cap Management
Karl Walter/Getty Images
At the end of the press conference, Idzik was asked about his background in scouting and the perception that he is more of a "cap guy" as opposed to a "scout guy."
The Jets just got done with a "cap guy" and from a Jets perspective, the concern is that another "cap guy" could result in the team coming up short in regards to finding and developing talent in the draft.
Idzik rebuked the question:
...as far as the evaluations, that's been—football is at the root of who I am. I've been a football guy, so to speak—I don't know exactly what that means, but—since I was a six-year-old. Once I got into the league, I got into the league purely as a scout. That's always been in the background of what I do, and again, if there are any perceptions or any questions, I would just ask you to—there's plenty of resources out there to ask the people that I've worked with.
So, after so much fuss was made of Idzik's lack of familiarity with the talent evaluation aspect of being a general manager, it turns out talent evaluation is at the very root of his background in the NFL.
Brian Bassett of The Jets Blog summed up this final quote fairly well:
Idzik's last answer, the one about his evaluation skills was basically a mic drop.— Brian Bassett (@Brian_Bassett) January 24, 2013
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.
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