By Luciano F. Rapa
Featured writer for Sideline Report covering the Jets
FREE Spenders no more – the Renaissance has begun
Jets crawled their way out of the mini-dark ages last year. The roster was cleansed of big mouths and me first type of players. New GM John Idzik released numerous players that were part of the “Two great playoff run” teams. He also traded the “I always need more than I have” Revis, resulting in the Defensive Rookie of the Year, and another pick this year.
But that was just the first step, in rebuilding the team. Step 2 is ongoing.
Happy to be back from my hiatus to the West Coast. I really missed the site and those that regularly frequent it, especially the Jets Bashers. Life has been boring without reading the numerous attacks directed at Gang Green.
The Jets began the new Football year similarly as they did last year. Gone was the last of the “Me First Players”, Holmes. Also gone were Antonio Cromartie and now Sanchez. The moves created an enormous CAP advantage. However, as I wrote numerous times in this column, Idizk was not going to start spending like Tannenbaum used to. In the past the Jets turned 10M of CAP space into 5-6 100M plus contracts. We paid for those decisions, and I am happy to see that our new GM is not the free spender most “impatient” Jet fans want.
- Releasing Holmes was long overdue. If not for the prohibitive CAP hit, Holmes would have been gone a year ago. In his place, I was surprised to see Idzik go after Decker. Decker is not a #1 WR, but he is better than the no names Geno was throwing to last year. To my surprise, Decker was relatively cheap at the position. Before FA Decker was believed to be asking 9-11M per year. And when you consider the money being thrown around, 7M was a bargain. Excellent move
- Releasing Cromartie was no shock to me. No way the Jets allow him to play and count 15-16M against this year’s CAP. What surprised me was their desire to let him walk without pursuing him. Something is up with Cro that we don’t know. The Jets have a need, and he wanted to be back, got a low 1-year deal with AZ. Clearly the Jets wanted no part of him, regardless of what they said publicly. Our old friend Revis became available just one year after Tampa traded a #1 and 4 for him. Quickly it was reported that the Jets were very interested, and as it turned out none of that was true. Revis’ agent called the Jets to tell them he was going to be available ad he wanted to come back and play for Rex. Again, the Jets showed no interest, especially at that salary. New England made a good move signing him for one year (no way they pay him 20+ M next season). My take on Revis is that we really dodn’t know if he can come back and be the player he was two years ago. The injury may have left him a bit slower. In Tampa, he did not play like the man who got an Island named after his defending skills. The Jets wanted Cro’s cousin, but not at his asking price. Idzik wanted him cheap and for one year. Again, I agree. First of all the Giants over paid, and so far in his career when Cro2 has had a contract he has stunk (especially in Philly after AZ forced them to take him in the Kolb deal). The Jets still have a need for another respectable CB, and my guess is they have already talked to Joseph, and as soon he is released, they will be all over him. Or we will once again draft a CB.
- Mark Sanchez’ career in NY is over. The once Franchise of the team is now free, and more than likely join his old pal Schotty in St. Louis. I have mixed feelings about this. Unlike most Jet fans, I think the Rex/Tannembaum Combo wronged Sanchez. They expected him to be Manning in year 1, and that wasn’t going to happen. In year 2, after a trip to the AFCCG they surrounded him with loud moth me first players, and Sanchez actually delivered, they way a year 2 QB should have, if not better. Sanchez played behind a banged up, and below par OL in year 3 & 4. The team had no running game, and gave him no WR help. Every defense blitzed him knowing that the OL, especially the right side was awful. As a result Mark’s growth expected in year 3 never happened. I blame Rex and Tanny more than I do Mark. This takes us to now, and Michael Vick. I have to admit, there was talk of this all off-season, and I wasn’t totally for it. However, I do realize that Vick maybe the best teacher Geno can get. Vick has had a troubled past to say the least, but he paid his debt, and appears to have grown as a person. His Eagles teammates all said what a great locker room guy he was. Geno is a similar player to Vick, except he may have a bigger upside in the passing game. I really believe that Michael is here to be a mentor and only step in if Geno totally falters. I like the move, and it doesn’t tie up any future CAP space.
- The only player the Jets lost in FA, that mattered was Austin Howard. Howard solidified that right side after it was a mess for so long. He is young and I wanted him back, but not at the price the Free Spending Raiders got him for. I cannot fault Idzik here, except to say that Howard should have been signed prior to him hitting the open market. They did go out and sign a SB winning replacement, Breno Giacomini. There shouldn’t be any drop off at the position.
- All the players I wanted to see back are back: Pace, Cumberland, Douzable, Colon, Walls, Folk, etc. All together they cost around 7M with no long term hits on the CAP. Good job idzik.
Reading the NY papers is never good for a Jet fan’s health, and it’s hard to figure out if the fans are really that dumb and impatient, or the media is, and they blame the fans. We have had a GM that spent money at will, and that mess is only now getting cleared, why do it again?
Idzik learned his business in Seattle, where the draft was the biggest tool used to build a team. In Seattle they drafted QBs, signed FA QBs, traded for others, until the one they liked stuck. I see the same approach here. It would not shock me to see DeSean Jackson reunited with Morty. The Jets are a better team today than they were two weeks ago. The off-season has only just begun; they still have 32M in CAP space. Some of that money will be used to lock up Mo Rich and Kerley. Good job Idzik.
Ps. If you really are a Jet fan, and thought that we should be spending big because this season we will be in the SB, you’re no Jet fan at all. Patience folks, even the Great Roman Empire wasn’t built in two years.