By Tyson Rauch
With the hiring of Rex Ryan, the New York Jets are now on their fourth coach since 2000. Ryan, like his predecessors, comes to Gang Green without any NFL head coaching experience. Having an inexperienced head coach puts the onus on the front office when it comes to talent evaluation and roster development. Granted the head coach submits a list of needs, but the general manager and his staff have the final say.
In 2008 the Jets front office spent over $140 million dollars in the off-season to upgrade their roster. Included in those moves was the acquisition of two Pro-Bowl players as well as a legendary quarterback, Brett Favre. The results were mixed as the Jets fell just short of the playoffs.
Now in 2009 the Jets are back to the drawing board. Recently Gang Green made some questionable moves that could be a sign that another spending spree is in order on February 27th, the start of free agency. There are differing reports, but the Jets available cap space is anywhere from $20-30+ million dollars, meaning several players could be signed. While this is exciting news for Jets fans, is this the correct approach to take?
Teams have failed with this strategy in the past. Throughout the past decade teams like the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys were always quick to make big splashes in free agency. Money was spent hand over fist to acquire any player they felt would help them get to the next level. The result? A roster full of overpriced players, continuous personnel moves due to salary cap problems, and zero Super Bowl appearances.
What approach should be taken? Since 2000, the Jets have had 7 different players start at the quarterback position. Every team at some point should be able to acquire a franchise quarterback. As of this point, the Jets have failed to do that. In the past 10 years the Jets have drafted only 7 Pro-Bowl players. Keep in mind that 3 of those 7 players made the team this year. What exactly have the Jets been accomplishing in their drafts?
At some point Gang Green needs to step back and analyze why they have not won a Super Bowl since 1969. From the poor draft selections, to questionable coaching hires, to the overpaying of players that have proved next to nothing in the NFL, everything should be reviewed.
Why have the Jets been unable to find a franchise quarterback? Why do the Jets continue to hire inexperienced head coaches? How could the Jets release, and not trade, quarterback Chad Pennington knowing that their division rival would quickly sign him?
In order to answer these questions I think it is time for the Jets to hire a consultant like Ron Wolf for management assistance. Mr. Wolf, who understands what it takes to build a Super Bowl team, needs to review the practices of the front office and figure out where things are going wrong. From the general manager, to the scouting department, to the training staff, every group should be scrutinized. Could it be that Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum and his staff are in over their heads when it comes to building a Super Bowl caliber organization? Or could it be that the scouting department is lacking the tools necessary to identity NFL talent? Are the Jets forced to spend an abundance of money on free agents to cover up these problems?
The Jets are a team without an identity with a pocket full of money. You make the call. My call is going to a proven NFL executive to help straighten out a front office that appears to be heading in the wrong direction.