I would venture and say that General Managers, in the other 3 major sports, are generally given enough time to implement their new regimes and truly initiate a proper rebuild.
The NFL is different though.
With teams going from cellar-dwellers to Super Bowl winning squads over night owners, now more than ever, have a win-now mentality.
And when you are in New York and have to deal with the Giants winning 2 World Championships in 5 years, the pressure to win now increases ten-fold.
John Idzik is in an interesting situation where he has to balance the need to win now in New York, but also ensure his team gets younger and rebuilds the right way, this time by erasing some of Mike Tannenbaum’s past failures.
Idzik Jr., the son of John Idzik who coached in the NFL, has a wealth of football experience (22 years as a personnel man for the Buccaneers, Cardinals and Seahawks) at his disposal and I believe he has the necessary credentials to rebuild the Jets. However, he has a daunting task at hand trying to re-tool a team that is not far off from appearing in back-to-back AFC Championship games in 2009 and 2010.
The Jets have had an offseason of cutting veterans and shedding salary. Gone from a roster barren of talent are: LB Bart Scott, LB Calvin Pace, S Eric Smith, OL Jason Smith, TE Josh Bake and a cast of others.
Adding to that fact, the Jets are grabbing front-page headlines for all the wrong reasons this offseason: Delaying the inevitable release of Tim Tebow as well as the long overdue Darrelle Revis saga, have been distractions for a team that has grown used to them during the Rex Ryan era.
Revis, widely considered the best cornerback in the league (second best in my book) is coming off an ACL injury and reports are, while his rehabilitation is going very well, the Jets are not convinced and are balking at his reported demands of a $16 million contract extension. This is the second contract negotiation in which Revis is complaining about money and asking for a new deal before his current one comes to fruition. Complicating matters worse, is that Revis is required by the Jets to attend offseason works starting next week in order to collect a $3 million roster bonus.
The Jets surely want a birds-eye-view at seeing how Revis’ rehabilitation is progressing and calculating the risk between keeping him for another season, yet risk losing him in 2014 via free-agency or jettisoning him to Tampa Bay for a reported first round pick. Revis also has the option of forcing the Jets’ hand, by simply not showing up for workouts if he feels disdained by the way he has been treated which may pressure New York into a trade to Tampa Bay.
Idzik is in a tough situation with the 4-time Pro Bowler. At one end of the spectrum, Rex Ryan wants him back as Revis and Antonio Cromartie form the type of cornerback tandem that excel in Ryan’s 3-4 blitzing scheme. On the other side of the ledger, Woody Johnson seems wary of dishing out a large chunk of money to a player coming off an ACL injury. This double-edged sword shows that Revis holds all the cards. Force the Jets to trade him to Tampa Bay and he gets a fresh start with a good team who will pay him over $16 million in a long-term deal. Or stay the course with the Jets for one more season, play at his usual pro-bowl caliber level and get free reign on where to go as a free agent in 2014.
The Jets need talent at virtually every position, therefore it makes sense to wait out to get the best deal possible especially if, come draft night, the Bucs are on the clock and are suddenly faced with no players they deem worthy of the 13th overall pick vis-a-vis the prospect of acquiring Revis.
But the scenario of losing a player of Revis’ caliber, for nothing, is one that can cripple a franchise for years to come.
This is why Idzik has to pull the trigger for Revis and take the reported offer from Tampa Bay of a 2013 first-round pick. Such a haul would usher in beautifully his new regime and allow the Jets to fill the abundance of holes that resonate their underachieving squad. Having two first-round picks will allow the Jets to fill needs for a pass-rusher, a quarterback or even replacing Revis in a strong cornerback draft. Of course, trading up to acquire a top 3 pick is a viable option with teams unsure if they truly want to spend a high pick in a draft not considered to be top-heavy.
It is understandable that the Jets want to ensure the best return possible by squeezing the Buccaneers and pressuring them to give up more however, mistreatment of this sensitive situation could ultimately mean Idzik’s downfall and leave the Jets with no Revis and no extra picks.