So the Jason Taylor saga is finally over.
The truth is, however you look at it, Jason Taylor was forced to sign with the Jets by Miami's indifference towards him.
And the legendary number 99 deserved better.
Jason Taylor has enjoyed 12 of his 13 seasons in Miami. He has given his all for the franchise, and showed Miami’s fans the love and respect that they showed him. Yet, Bill Parcells and the Miami Dolphins’ regime refused to offer Taylor a contract before the draft, and even refused to guarantee an offer after the draft.
Rumor has it that Bill Parcells scrawled a contract offer on a post-it note for Taylor earlier in the season, in the hope of doing a deal without involving his agent. Taylor decided that he would like to run the contract past his agent first, and Miami withdrew the offer.
Since then, Jason Taylor has been left in limbo, and the only team interested in signing him was the New York Jets.
Taylor delayed his decision a couple of weeks, (presumably hoping for an offer from Miami, or anyone other than New York Jets) however, with no contract on the table in Miami, and the lure of NFL football for at least another season, Taylor opted to join the Jets.
There was no guarantee the Jets’ offer would be on the table following the draft this week, and with no guarantee of an offer from Miami, Taylor believed he had no choice but to sign for the Jets to ensure he could prolong his NFL career.
However, the move must have been a tough one for JT.
He loved Miami. More than anything he wanted to stay in Miami.
However, the Dolphins regime showed no effort or interest in keeping him in Florida, and even cancelled a meeting with Taylor late last week.
The Dolphins reluctance to pay Taylor any sort of attention or interest meant that if JT didn’t sign with New York, then next year he might not have been playing football. It was as simple as this, and that is why Taylor has chosen to sign with his former rivals, the Jets.
However, the move to the Jets won’t be an easy one for Jason Taylor. His history with the Jets suggests he may not be all that happy joining them. He might not be welcome in New York either.
His press conferences following his decision have stated that he had no choice but to join the Jets. He was effectively forced into signing with them due to his lack of options. Jason Taylor is not that happy that he is joining the Jets at all.
In the past, he has called their “J-E-T-S!” chant dumb, and stated that it is the only word their fans are capable of spelling. He said Jets fans were ignorant. He argued that they took the “cl- out of class”, and that the New York Giants fans were “a different type of people”. Presumably by different, Jason meant preferable.
Only last season he scored a touchdown in New York against his old rivals, and celebrated by hurling the ball against the Jets logo on a wall behind the end zone.
Following the match, he said: “To score a touchdown in New York against the Jets in the last time I’ll be in the hellhole they call a stadium up there…it was outstanding”.
For good value, Taylor also stated that they could turn the old Meadowlands Stadium “into a parking lot for all I care”.
Yet Taylor will be playing at the New Meadowlands as a Jet.
Perhaps his 2009 quote goes some way to explain this. Having been linked with the Jets in the previous offseason, Taylor said on playing for the Jets: “It’d be very, very, very, difficult. At the end of the day, if I couldn’t find a job anywhere else and the Jets called, I guess I’d have to retire or go play…”
And that appears to be what has happened.
The last time his agent mentioned the Jets to Taylor, he simply stated “Hell no” , and hung up the phone. But things have changed this year, and Taylor needed a job. Only one team was offering him one.
Taylor didn’t have a lot of choice in the matter short of retiring. If he wanted to play football, it had to be in New York.
So, Dolphins fans who have now turned on Taylor should understand how he feels about Miami, and the whole situation.
Fighting back tears during yesterday’s press conference, Taylor said:
“I wanted to retire here. I came back home last year and felt good about it. The fans felt good about it. I wanted to be here. The love I have for the fans down here and the people down here… my heart will still be with them”.
Jason Taylor is very disappointed that he cannot stay in Miami. As are many Dolphins fans. However, why did Parcells, Ireland, and Sparano not resign a man who has given his all for their team for 12 years?
Was it Taylor’s productivity?
The simple answer is no. Even at 35, he registered seven sacks, three forced fumbles, an interception, and a fumble return for a touchdown.
If not productivity, then was it because Miami was looking to the future?
Possibly. The Dolphins are known to be admirers of several linebackers in this year’s draft class. However, will the likes of Sergio Kindle, Derrick Morgan, Brandon Graham, and Eric Norwood be able to produce on the field like Taylor did last season? Probably not.
Miami will have to use an early round draft pick on the best linebacker available, because they let the best linebacker available to them at this current time go.
In addition to this, Taylor offers valuable experience and professionalism that Miami has just thrown away. Who better to teach a rookie linebacker the ins and outs of the game, as well as how to behave off the field.
Taylor has never had any problems away from the field. He has never been arrested, never done drugs, never given the Dolphins a bad name. With the NFL so desperate for role models like Taylor, why was Miami so happy to let him leave? Taylor was a leader, on and off the field, but now he will bring all of these positives to the Jets.
Why has Miami allowed that to happen?
Maybe Miami made a business decision. After all, Taylor is 35 years old and coming to the end of his illustrious career.
If it’s a business decision, then why resign Jason Ferguson and not Jason Taylor? Ferguson is 36 years old. The draft is full of top talent at nose tackle—possibly even more so than at outside linebacker. Ferguson is even suspended for the first half of the season due to violating the NFL’s drugs policy. Furthermore, he will earn more money than Taylor would.
There is no logic in resigning Ferguson, but not Taylor. JT has even given 12 of his 13 years to Miami, and loves the club arguably more than any other player in Miami’s history. His loyalty should have been rewarded, and he should never have been treated the way he was.
Why should Taylor put up with being ignored, left in the dark, and have meetings on his future cancelled for no apparent reason?
The whole situation is farcical and embarrassing. The decision is inconsistent, incomprehensible. and illogical.
The Miami regime should take a long hard look at themselves, and the way they treat professional veterans of the game. The lack of respect they showed Taylor was shocking.
Now, Taylor has left Miami. He never wanted to, but the Dolphins backroom forced him to make that decision. Hopefully, Miami fans will accept these cold, hard truths, and give Taylor the great reception he deserves when he returns to Miami. Unfortunately, that is unlikely. JT will be treated just like any other Jet.
But the truth is that Jason Taylor is a very reluctant Jet. He is a Miami Dolphin in Jets’ uniform. He wants to be in Miami, and no amount of success in New York will ever be able to change that. His loyalty and heart remains in Miami, even if Taylor himself is in New York.