According to several published reports the New York Jets are prepared to hire John Idzik as their new general manager. Idzik was the Vice President of Football Operations for the Seattle Seahawks and had his duties listed as follows on the team’s official website:
“Idzik oversees player negotiations, the team’s compliance with the NFL salary cap, player personnel transactions, all football operations budgets, staff and team contracts, team travel and most aspects of the day-to-day football operations while also remaining active in player evaluations. In addition, he serves as the club’s primary liaison to the NFL Office and represents the club at League meetings.”
The initial reaction to this hire is that the Jets are hiring a cap/contract guy when the team is in desperate need of a personnel guru. There are reports that Idzik took an active role in college scouting last season, which does bring some hope to the hire. At the end of the day none of us will truly know about John Idzik until the team approaches free agency and the draft. As of now the New York Jets are void of talent and handcuffed by a bloated salary cap.
Next steps for the Jets:
1) Hire offensive coordinator: While the Jets were searching for their general manager coaching positions were being filled throughout the NFL. Idzik and Rex Ryan must quickly get a organizational plan in place and put together their offensive coaching staff. The Jets have been interviewing candidates ( a strange move without a gm in place) so it would not be surprising to see some quick hires. The only concern here is that Idzik is force fed a Rex Ryan candidate without having his own say. Update: It appears that the Jets will be hiring Marty Morningweh as their offensive coordinator. Now if Idzik did not have any say in this hire, this is a terrible start to his tenure.
2) Prepare salary cap reduction plan: As of now the Jets are approximately $20 million dollars over the salary cap for the upcoming season. The organization is going to have to make several roster cuts in order to give the team some financial flexibility. For example if Gang Green cuts Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, Eric Smith, Jason Smith, and Sione Pouha the team can reduce the cap # by $34.5 million dollars. Also if the team trades Antonio Cromartie another $8.25 million dollars in cap space would be created.
3) Prepare for free agency and the draft: It is no secret that the Jets are lacking explosive playmakers on both sides of the ball. With limited cap space Gang Green will have to be very creative in terms of acquiring legitimate talent. It is going to be very interesting to see how John Idzik and Rex Ryan handle the quarterback position. Do the Jets cut ties with Mark Sanchez? Buy out most of his contract and trade him? Or hire a proven offensive coordinator and make Sanchez his project?
As you can see the hiring of John Idzik is only the first of several steps in the Jets rebuilding process. We will truly not know the quality of this general manager hiring for another 3-4 years as all of the upcoming decisions play themselves out.