The New York Jets fired the majority of their football operations staff on black monday, including head coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik. Neither is particularly surprising, and they certainly aren’t in the enviable position of Jim Harbaugh. However, Rex Ryan will have opportunities in the NFL or in a studio somewhere; Idzik…not so much.
Idzik was set up to fail. The Jets brought in Idzik after firing Mike Tannenbaum and being left in salary cap hell. Idzik came from the Seattle Seahawks as a salary cap guru and New York was hoping he could dig them out. But that involves lots of cuts and lower talent levels than a team that has a properly run cap.
To balance the books, Idzik had to attempt to compete with less and it showed on the field. Idzik cut and cut in order to find the space, including trading one of the best defensive backs in the NFL in Darrelle Revis. The Jets currently have $19 million in dead money on their roster, ranging from players like Greg McElroy to Antonio Cromartie and Mark Sanchez.
This doesn’t mean that Idzik is not to be blamed for the blunders of the Jets however. They may have been on an uphill battle, but when you draft a player like Geno Smith to take over at QB, and condemn a player like Mark Sanchez, who has succeeded in his second stop, you will no engender much faith in your player evaluation skills.
With Idzik gone, Ryan never stood a chance. There was already word that Ryan would be gone regardless of the front office’s fate, so with them gone, Ryan was certain to be let go. Ryan took over in 2009 and his defensive philosophy kicked in immediately, bringing a 16th ranked defense up to number one in the league. His blitz heavy, creative offense will be coveted by someone in the NFL, with teams like Chicago likely showing interest in Ryan as a head coach.
Ryan has never had much of an offensive track record and will need to pair himself with a creative offensive mind that will create an offensive philosophy that can be sustained and passed down, but Ryan will have his opportunities. Adam Schefter has been reporting that Ryan will not be a defensive coordinator this season. Ryan will either find an attractive head coaching opportunity or will take his talents to the studio. We’ve seen how that cushy job can keep head coaches long-term.
Ryan will move on, Idzik will mine his contacts for a salary cap job in the NFL,1 and the Jets will start over…again.
Idzik can likely be a fantastic cap manager again, his lack of success as a GM has little bearing on that ↩