Over the past couple of seasons, the New York Jets' front office has become something of a running joke, as bad personnel decision after bad personnel decision gave the impression that it can't get out of its own way.
New general manager John Idzik is now under fire in the media for how the team is handling the contract situation of star cornerback Darrelle Revis. What appears to be yet another bumbling move by the Jets at first glance may actually be Idzik simply trying to play the cards he's been dealt as best he can.
The 27-year-old Revis, who played in only two games last year before tearing his ACL, is entering the final year of his four-year, $46 million contract. As Gary Myers of The New York Daily News reports, the Jets were "actively shopping" Revis at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, but the fact that Idzik didn't also reach out to Revis in Indy drew harsh criticism, according to one of Myers' colleagues.
OK, let's dial back the hyperbole a second and try to look at the situation from Idzik's perspective.
First, as Myers points out, at this point in negotiations, the only members of the New York front office that are involved in the Revis situation are Idzik and team owner Woody Johnson.
At this point, those are the only two people who know if Johnson has any intention of signing off on what would probably be the biggest contract in Jets' history. It's very possible that even they aren't sure yet, given Revis' injury.
Granted, Idzik told reporters at the combine, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN, that the team's priority is to "make sure Revis gets back to being Revis," but at this point we haven't seen any evidence of that taking place on an actual football field.
What we have seen evidence of, at least in the past, is Revis and his camp aren't gun-shy when it comes to getting testy where contract negotiations are concerned. According to Mark Cannizzaro of The New York Post, Revis is seeking a contract that would make him the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history.
That's a lot of scratch for a cap-strapped team to pay a player coming off a serious injury. What some have construed as Idzik blowing off Revis and his camp may be an effort to tread lightly before making a call that could send the Jets down a very treacherous path and potentially down a hole financially.
It may sound catty but, at this point, Idzik doesn't owe Revis a call. It's still awfully early, Revis is still under contract to the Jets and it's not like Revis' contract is the only problem staring Idzik in the face as he tries to dig out from under the Mike Tannenbaum era.
That's one hole that may take quite a bit of shoveling to emerge from.
Finally, there's the matter of what "actively shopping" Revis at the combine actually means.
Sure, it could, in theory, mean that the team was ironing out the parameters of a blockbuster trade, as the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers apparently did with the Alex Smith deal this year (via Yahoo! Sports).
However, it's far more likely that Idzik was simply putting out feelers at an event that gathers front office personnel from across the NFL in one place.
The reason for that is simple. Yes, it's possible that the Jets could deal Revis before this year's draft if the right offer comes along, but the odds of a team making a fat offer for an injured Revis before at least seeing him on the practice field are slim to none.
The organization must start somewhere, though, and Idzik was likely trying to get a feel for what the market for Revis looks like right now.
I'm not going to get into whether New York will or should trade Revis. Like I said, at this point it's so early that that's not the most important aspect of what the Jets are doing right now.
What is important is that the Jets proceed with care and caution where Revis is concerned as, regardless of their final decision in this matter, it's one that will all but certainly have a huge impact on the franchise for several seasons to come.
The Jets got into the mess they're in by rushing headlong into poor decisions.
It appears that when making a decision on what to do with Revis, Idzik is going to take his time and weigh his options, even if that means media criticism or rubbing some people the wrong way.
He should be commended for that; not excoriated.
Now he just has to make the right call.
No pressure. Not like it's New York or anything.