The Jets are done.
Fold up the tents kids. Destroy Florham Park. Burn the training facility to the ground and sow the ground with salt so nothing will ever be grown again.
At least, that's how it sounds if you listen to the media and a segment of "running off the cliff" Jets fans. Newly minted GM John Idzik is a failure or at least having a terrible offseason.
To which I say, nonsense.
Sure, anonymous scouts will tell ESPN the Jets failed to do their due diligence on Mike Goodson, but what were the Jets supposed to find?
Nothing, because until he was arrested this May there was nothing to find.
Goodson hasn't been in trouble off the field in any notable way since entering the league in 2009.
So according to this anonymous source Idzik was supposed to do what? Hop in his DeLorean and travel Back to the Future? Fire up his TARDIS and see what the future holds?
We can say the Jets overpaid for a decent but unproven running back and it's not untrue. A three-year, $6.9 million contract is a bit hefty for Goodson, even if only $1.925 is guaranteed (numbers via Spotrac.com).
But there is no way Idzik was going to know anything about the coming arrest.
Some people have pointed to red flags Goodson had pre-draft about not being able to coexist with his coaches at Texas A&M, but I have a few issues with that.
First, how does that translate to an arrest for weapons possession and drug/alcohol issues?
Second, at what point does a minor red flag from a 2009 scouting profile stop being relevant to a guy? I mean, we're four years later without an incident. If you have to reach back that far for an issue, then you're working too hard.
It's not just the issue with Goodson either. Idzik has taken some hits because David Garrard retired due to continuing issues with his knee.
Now in some respects I don't disagree with the criticism. We all knew Garrard had issues and I've said more than once that betting on a guy two years removed from his last football game is dicey.
That said, how the heck can you lose signing a guy for one year at $1.1 million? You know what the hit was when Garrard retired, according to Spotrac? $100,000 in dead cap.
What the heck was Idzik thinking, right?
Darrelle Revis is costing the Jets more in dead cap.
So what really happened was the Jets gave a reasonable contract with very low risk to a guy who was cleared by the team doctors as ready to go.
Yeah, that's the other thing. Idzik was apparently supposed to know the knee wasn't going to last through workouts, forget a game.
Now, I didn't have a ton of faith in Garrard long term, but as far as anyone knew while his knee wasn't awesome, it was good enough to go.
Is Idzik supposed to tell his team doctors "Yeah I know you're our guys and professional and all, but I think we need another opinion" and send Garrard off to some other facility?
No, he's not. He gets paid to make personnel decisions and the doctors get paid to give medical evaluations. Maybe they biffed it badly, or maybe Garrard has the mental fortitude of a Twinkie.
Reports say he struggled with longer passes and driving the ball, so he might have decided he couldn't compete with Geno Smith and Mark Sanchez. Maybe it was just too hard after all the time off.
But you can't fault Idzik for rolling the dice on a guy for very little money, who cleared medical checks and said he could do the job.
Keep in mind, the Jets cap situation was not great when free agency began. Idzik and the team didn't exactly have the room to chase a better option.
Both the Goodson and the Garrard moves didn't pan out well, sure.
However, what about the moves that have looked good so far?
Moving Darrelle Revis was painful for fans, but we've now gone through him clamoring for a new contract quite a few times. While maybe the Jets could have rolled with Revis another year as he came off his ACL injury, the fact was that short of a season where he completely collapsed, Revis was going to ask for a new contract.
The Jets chose to move on and in the process got a first-round pick, which turned into Sheldon Richardson—one of the top defensive lineman in the draft.
Mark my words, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers got a very good deal on their end, and signed Revis to a cap-friendly contract, if he has a great season in 2013, you will see him start asking for more money.
Revis is perhaps the best cover corner to come along for a long time—arguably ever. You don't just replace a guy like that.
But the Jets are rebuilding and couldn't afford to pay as much as Revis has and will want for a cornerback.
I mentioned Sheldon Richardson a moment ago, so let's talk about how Idzik did in the NFL draft.
Richardson was a surprising pick at the time considering how deep the defensive line is, but I was told by one source that Richardson not only shined on tape but in interviews as well.
Reportedly, the team was very interesting in Geno Smith, even at No. 13. However, they would have preferred to sit him if possible (this was before the Garrard retirement of course) and didn't feel they wanted to draft a quarterback that high and then sit on him.
Meanwhile, Richardson had walked into interviews with the staff, wowed them at the chalk board, showed great energy and personality and made Rex Ryan (as well as the other coaches) fall in love.
My source said, that with Richardson sitting there, they ultimately couldn't pass up on him.
Richardson is the type of player teams love right now: Versatile, quick, strong and with a high-motor. He's already stood out in practice, which—while given it's spring is to be taken with a grain of salt—is good.
Chris Nimbley @Cnimbley
Richardson is lightning quick, ball was snapped & one move & a split second later & Richardson was right in the QBs face #jets5/22/2013, 5:35:33 PM
Chris Nimbley @Cnimbley
Both, but mostly Mangold & 1st stringers from what I saw RT “@DrewfromJersey: Was Shel going against Mangold or the 2nd team OL?”5/22/2013, 5:38:07 PM
Fellow rookie Dee Milliner isn't Darrelle Revis, but he is very, very good and an excellent tackler. He could have gone anywhere in the top ten and he was a good value at No. 9.
Ditto Geno Smith. The Jets gambled their guy would be there in the second and he was. Smith was my favorite quarterback in what was a shaky class this year. Getting him in the second round is perfect value for him and if he fails, you can cut a second-round quarterback with minimal drama and financial issues.
The rest of the draft was solid, though unspectacular at first glance: A trio of offensive lineman to provide at least depth and a very good fullback in the seventh.
Perhaps the best move the Jets made during the draft could be acquiring Chris Ivory for a fourth-round pick.
As with Garrard, there is a certain amount of injury risk here—Ivory has never been healthy for a complete NFL season. The upside is pretty large though and like Garrard, the contract he has is pretty reasonable. The total contract is only three years for $6 million, with just $2.5 guaranteed (numbers via Spotrac.com).
Ivory only costs the club $1.5 million this season and $1.75 for 2014 (unless he hits his rushing yards escalator). If he is healthy and playing well, his $2.75 in 2015 is easily digestible and even if he's not, won't remotely break the club.
John Idzik walked into an almost impossible situation. He took a job nobody seemed to want, with a roster full of issues and a potentially lame duck coach—or at the very least a coach he didn't choose.
So far, he has made some very good moves and the ones he "missed" on are not nearly as disastrous as they are made out to be by the often tightly wound fan base and local media.
He's just getting started and once you take a hard look, you'll see that so far he's doing pretty great and has made sure the franchise is protected from missteps and mistakes.
Andrew Garda is the former NFC North Lead Writer and a current NFL analyst and video personality for Bleacher Report. He is also a member of the fantasy football staff at Footballguys and the NFL writer at CheeseheadTV.com. You can follow him at @andrew_garda on Twitter.
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