Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE
We ask the question of the general manager as the Jets continue to struggle and sit at 3-5 going into the bye week.
He worked under Bill Belichick in Cleveland, was an intern in New Orleans while he attended Law School. He came to the Jets in 1997 as the director of player contract negotiations and held several different positions before suceeeding Terry Bradshaw to be General Manager in 2006. For a long time we adored the agressive nature of this New York natives trade dealings, however now the cracks are starting to show and we must ask ourselves; how much faith do we really have in Mike Tannenbaum?
Some have said that Mike Tannenbaum is a boardroom guy, a man more suited to a legal case than a football war room and his drafting record would suggest this to be true. The Jets have taken 21 players since 2009 and there is a notable absense of any star talent or any real depth due to the small draft classes that Tannenbaum has over-seen. We must give him some credit for the work he did in previous drafts, selecting both Revis and Harris in 2007 can not be overlooked. However by the same reasoning you can't overlook the selection of Gholston in 2008, Sanchez in 2009, Ducasse & Conner in 2010 or Bilal Powell in 2011. Some were busts, some were over-drafted and some have yet to prove themselves worthy of their selection. You also can not fail to notice the distinct lack of any late round talent drafted by the Jets, the depth players that allow you to stay competitive when players like Revis and Holmes go down.
In September Forbes released their list of the most overpaid players in the NFL. The Jets had three players on that list. David Harris at #1 earning a cool $12 million, Santonio Holmes at #5 taking home $9.25 million and Antonio Cromartie at #7 earning a child support busting $8.25 million. The belief that Mike Tannenbaum gives too much to too few is 100% on the money in my mind. We have a very small nucleus of players that earn the lions share of our salary cap. Resulting in our depth being atrociously bad and our talent level not stretching across the board. All teams have 'their guys' but the salary has to reflect actual performance and not perceived performance. I like Harris as a player but is he worth $12 million against the cap? not for me. Santonio Holmes is not a #1 WR but he is being paid like one. Cromartie is a very good player but his inconsistencies make the $8.25 millon look a little inflated. Guys earning around and over the $10 million mark need to be franchise players to build around, I don't think any of those guys are.
We pay the wrong players too much money, how can you justify a Quarterback who is in the bottom 5 in most catergories earning $7.85 million this year. How about a middle linebacker who can't cover earning $5.95 million. We have a chance this off-season to shed some serious cap, however the question is.....do you want Mike Tannenbaum to be the man with the cap space at his disposal? I don't! I'm not doubting that he has made some shrewd trades down the years, however everything he does is a short term fix, I'm sick of being that team who coasts for 5 years and then trades for a couple of veterans to make one push one year; and then it not working out and we float back into coast mode. We need to build for long term success, the introduction of the rookie cap on draft picks makes this a lot easier. However you can have as many draft picks as you like, if you draft the wrong players it doesn't matter.
Mike Tannenbaum has left us with very little cap space, young dynamic players like Revis needing long term security but the money being tied to overpaid mediocrity in Sanchez. He has left us with very little depth and a team incapable of maintaing success or stability from one year to the next. He commented last year that we have a roster full of Victor Cruz's, sorry Mike but we don't. We have a roster of Jason Hill's, Chaz Schilens, Jeff Cumberlands and Caleb Schlauderaffs. We have a roster that went from being 11-5 to 8-8 and likely 5-11 or 6-10. We are going backwards and Mike can't and shouldn't be rewarded the oppurtunity to turn this ship around. The NFL is no longer about aggressive spur of the moment trade, if you want continued success you build from the ground up. The Giants do a great job of next man up, due in part to their ability to locate talent outside the first three rounds of the draft, the 49'ers the same and the Texans the same.
In 2013 it is not beyond the realms of possibility that the Jets will have a top 10 selection and cap space to work with. If we are going to make a change, make it right at the top with Mike Tannenbaum, in time to re-build a team devoid of an identity, devoid of depth and devoid of clear and structured leadership. Sorry Mike, but I've lost my faith in your ability to lead this team to where it hasn't been in over 40 years.....