An Open Letter to John Idzik and the New York Jets' Front Office
Dear Mr. Idzik,
Let me just first say that you could not be taking over the reins at a better time. Any fan with reasonable expectations does not foresee the New York Jets advancing to the playoffs next season, at least not without radical roster improvement.
Please do not make radical roster moves. Off back-to-back AFC Championship appearances, the Jets ideology was "win now" and they made win-now moves, like trading for WR Santonio Holmes. Even a year removed from the sweet taste of near-Super Bowl-ness, the team made personnel moves to bolster the roster of a playoff-ready team (see free-agent signings of LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell—both great moves.)
To make some of the moves, the team offered some horrendous contracts (see Mark Sanchez) to create immediate cap flexibility, with little regard for the long-term consequences.
Now after a second consecutive season at or below .500, fans have come to terms with the reality that this team needs work. There are legitimate concerns that need to be addressed before the Jets can return to NFL prominence...or even relevance. We, or at least I, would much rather see the team commit to making foundation-setting improvements, which will pay long-term dividends, rather than seeing the team continue to tread water somewhere between 6-10 and 8-8.
While some of these "foundation-setting improvements" include valuing draft picks and doing a better job of evaluating talent (something you've already addressed), they also involve the team avoiding the toxic contracts that have proven inflexible in the past. As appealing as a flashy free-agent signing might be, don't feel obligated to make any.
What I'm saying is, it is okay to lose in 2013. I wouldn't mind seeing the team go 4-12 or 5-11 next season and be poised to rebuild with another solid draft position and cap flexibility for free-agent acquisitions. That is far preferable to consistently wallowing in mediocrity and missing the playoffs year after year.
As for specific personnel issues:
Marty Mornhinweg was a great hire. Now make sure he stays on staff for more than one season. It doesn't matter who is playing quarterback, a carousel of offensive coordinators will make consistent play nearly unattainable.
Which naturally leads me to the issue under center. You can't enter the season with both Tebow and Sanchez on the roster. Pick one and get rid of the other (though let's be honest, Sanchez's contract makes him untradeable, forcing your hand here.)
I doubt Greg McElroy is "the guy," but he deserves his roster spot. With two young quarterbacks on the depth chart, I think it only makes sense to bring in a capable veteran to mentor them—think Mark Brunell, only slightly more functional.
It seems almost a foregone conclusion that the team will cut Bart Scott, Calvin Pace and Jason Smith. Please follow through on that. A cap space savings of $27.7 million doesn't come around every day, and as much as I love Scott, his production has tapered off.
You've got some tough choices to make with the team's free-agent pool.
Shonn Greene went over 1000 yards each of the past two seasons, but I wonder if his production can't be replaced by the up-and-coming Bilal Powell, or possibly by a third- or fourth-round pick in the upcoming draft.
Dustin Keller is the most reliable receiver on the roster and has been Sanchez's favorite target. Letting Keller walk would signal to Sanchez that the front office may not be making No. 6's best interests a priority. Just a thought.
If you can compete with what the market will offer Bell and Landry, you should make an effort to bring them back. I'd love to see them in green again next season, as I thought they were great signings originally. And it would be nice to have some stability in the secondary with Revis returning from the ACL tear.
It was nice to see Braylon Edwards back in a Jet uniform at the end of last season. He should be inexpensive to keep, and he would add experience to an otherwise very young receiving corps.
Well, I know you're probably busy. I hope I didn't take up too much of your time.
P.S. Please don't trade Darrelle Revis. He wants to stay in New York, and the fans—at least this fan—want him there too.
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