New York Jets' Coach Rex Ryan Still Has Appeal to NFL Players

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New York Jets' Coach Rex Ryan Still Has Appeal to NFL Players
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In a quiet but important transaction, the New York Jets filled a critical gap on defense by signing strong safety Dawan Landry as reported by the Associated Press (h/t Yahoo! Sports). A seven-year veteran and winner of the 2009 Ed Block Courage Award, Landry is expected to compete for a starting job in New York right away.

But wait? What happened to the Rex-odus? Jets head coach Rex Ryan's unpopularity with the national media was supposed to have scared off NFL players, right?

Brian Bassett of TheJetsBlog.com reports that this explanation might not represent the whole truth:

This is a good signing by the Jets.  [Dawan Landry] helped to convince [LaRon Landry] to sign in New York last season, so it’s obvious that he liked playing for Rex Ryan [in Baltimore]... Landry is a good in the box safety and is known for his willingness and hard-hitting style against the run.  At present it is fair to say that he would be the current starter at strong safety alongside Josh Bush who would likely play free.  The Jets might address one or both of the safety spots in the draft, but this signing releases the urgency of drafting a safety and gives them at an absolute minimum, a good special teamer and Big Nickel who can start as necessary.

Like his brother LaRon Landry one year ago, Dawan appears to have targeted Rex Ryan as a coach he wants to play for. Having played for three years (2006-2008) under Ryan's tutelage in Baltimore previously, Dawan was likely influenced by that experience.

Geoff Burke/Getty Images
Dawan Landry with the Baltimore Ravens

Loyal readers of mine know that since the end of the regular season I have been advocating the Jets letting LaRon Landry go and replacing him with his brother Dawan. This is neither a move that will generate headlines nor a move that will be franchise-altering.

It is, however, the type of quiet, low-risk move that smart general managers make several times per year. At virtually no cost (contract details are pending, but players like Dawan Landry rarely sign for much more than the minimum), the Jets have filled a gaping hole with a competent starter and veteran leader who likes Rex Ryan and wants to be in New York.

General Manager John Idzik (via Brian Spurlock of USA Today Sports).

These type of quiet, low-risk moves were the staple of the Seattle Seahawks as they rebuilt their franchise over the past few years. New general manager John Idzik (who came from Seattle) is a man who is often associated with those moves.

While no one can say for certain whether or not the Landry pick-up was entirely due to Idzik (as opposed to a move Mike Tannenbaum planned all along), there is a growing sense that Idzik is going to continue the trend of aiming for low-risk, low-cost acquisitions that do not hinder salary cap flexibility.

This latest signing brings into question the narrative about Ryan's draw as a head coach. Recent events may be evidence that actual NFL players, who are perhaps less influenced by the national media than some might think, continue to view Ryan as a coach who can benefit their careers. In recent weeks, multiple veteran free agents have come to New York on relatively cheap contracts, including Antonio Garay and Willie Colon.

Harry How/Getty Images
Antonio Garay during his time in San Diego.

Has the Jets' decision making been different under John Idzik than it was under Mike Tannenbaum?

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If John Idzik and Rex Ryan continue to draw low-risk, low-cost, high-reward veterans to New York and fill holes on the roster, the narrative that had surrounded the Jets under former general manager Mike Tannenbaum might have to change.

For now, the one thing that is certain is that the Jets have added a very much needed veteran at safety. Fans of the Jets should welcome Dawan Landry and hope that this is a sign of more to come.

 

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