I had planned for this to be my last post of the series, but there's no way to condense it all, so it will take a few more posts. In them I will try to show that Tanny has some basic flaws in his approach to building a roster, that he has made a string of errors both in players he took and those he didn't, and how that affected future roster decisions. Also as a result of those mistakes, he has had to change his basic cap approach or has made some mistakes in how he has handled the cap in order to remedy some of the problems he created through his drafting and FA approach. As a result, in 2011 when the Jets should have been peaking and finally making that long-overdue Super Bowl appearance, they laid an egg. Then here we are in 2012, trying to figure out why there were so many problems in 2011, how things could have fallen apart so, and trying to figure out how to fill all the glaring holes and solve all the problems the Jets have. Was it inevitable that the Jets be in this shape in 2012? No, far from it. I believe that the disaster that was 2011, and thus the mess that we have now can mostly be laid at the feet of Mike Tannenbaum.
The initial premise that prompted this series is:
I think he has become more and more exposed as a GM who is too aggressive, really doesn't understand how to get maximum value from the draft and FA, understand how to build a roster, and one who has to make a big splash to satisfy his ego.
First, I'll quickly summarize the mistakes made in each offseason and draft.
* Traded their 4th round pick in the 2007 draft to SF for Kevan Barlow. Epic Failure.
* Drafting a QB in a very poor draft for QBs instead of signing a FA
Choices That Could Have Been Better
* Took Nick Mangold instead of Demeco Ryans
* Took Kellen Clemens instead of Andrew Whitworth associated with taking Ferguson instead of Ngata, and could have possibly signed Drew Brees as their "QB of the future" or signed Jeff Garcia or Jon Kitna as a backup/insurance in case Chad got hurt
* Thought Anthony Clement would be the answer at RT
The Jets only had 5 draft picks. They traded their 4th round pick to SF in 2006 for Kevan Barlow. Their 7th round pick went to Dallas for TE Sean Ryan.
Choices That Could Have Been Better
* Marques Tuiasosopo was a bad QB. If the Jets had signed Jeff Garcia in 2006, that money could have gone elsewhere.
* With Chad having shown that he couldn't stay healthy and on the field, and had a limited arm, the Jets had drafted their "QB of the Future" in Clemens in 2006. That shows they wre planning to move on from Chad in the near future. If they had signed Garcia, reaching for Clemens wouldn't have been necessary. Earlier, I mentioned that the Jets could have traded for Matt Schaub. To beat Houston's offer, they would have had to swap their first round pick (25) with Atlanta (10), given up their 2nd AND 3rd round picks in 2007 and possibly their 1st round pick in 2008. That's not too steep a price to get a real franchise caliber QB. Had they made that move, I think their offense would have been better without question, and we wouldn't be in the situation we're in with Sanchez. That said, they wouldn't have been able to trade up for Revis. I think most Jets fans would prefer Revis over Schaub. I would too, so I have changed my mind on that trade; however Garcia would have been serviceable for another year at QB.
* Trading up for David Harris wouldn't have been necessary if the Jets had taken DeMeco Ryans in 2006. They could have added WR James Jones, RB Michael Bush or NT Paul Soliai. Pouha hadn't really emerged at that point, so I think Soliai perhaps might have been the better option. They knew Dwayne Robertson wasn't the answer.
* Trading for Thomas Jones - while they needed a new starter with CuMar retiring, Jones was not a top tier RB, most of his career had been mediocre. He was a solid player, but not fast or flashy. RB is the easiest position in the NFL for a rookie to come in start, and play very well. It wasn't a great draft for RBs. Marshawn Lynch was the best and he went before the Jets could have taken him. There were some grunts like Kenny Irons, Tony Hunt, Brandon Jackson, and Garrett Wolfe, but also Brian Leonard who was a good prospect and Ahmad Bradshaw. With their own 2nd round pick, if things fell roughly as they did, the Jets could have taken Eric Weddle, an upgrade over either Kerry Rhodes or Erik Coleman. Alternatively, they could have taken Chris Houston, or Lamarr Woodley. Houston would have been a big upgrade over either David Barrett or Andre Dyson and would have prevented the Jets from having to trade a 2nd round pick for Cro a few seasons later. Woodley would have been a big upgrade over Victor Hobson, and would have prevented the Jets from having to overpay Calvin Pace in a couple of years. They couldn't have gone wrong with any of those three choices. With NT and OLB the two most important positions in a 3-4 alignment, and with NT being set for the future with Soliai and Pouha, then probably the best choice would have been Woodley.
With their 3rd round pick, they could have taken Tony Hunt or Garrett Wolfe, QB Trent Edwards, or DE Ray McDonald Hunt Wolfe or Edwards would probably have been eventually upgraded, but McDonald could have been great depth behind Shaun Ellis and Ngata.
Even with a lesser rushing attack, their D would have been infinitely better, as would the team.