My aplogies for blogging so much in rapid fire succession, but this is a big deal to me, and one that I truly care about. The Jets re-signed Mark Sanchez and I'm sure it will be all over this site and many more in the near future. In my simple minded opinion this was the right call, at the right time, and it reaffirms all that is right and just in football.
Rex Ryan said in a press conference and several other times, that as long as he is the coach of the NY Jets, Mark Sanchez would be his quarterback. He even went as far as to say once, "Mark will be the quarterback until they fire me". I took that to heart, because this is a league where alot of media, fans, analysts, and whoever else want to flip flop on a player or a coach at the drop of a dime. Loyalty, and the balls to make a statement and stand on your word show what type of coach you are, and what kind of person you are. Rex I salute you for that.
Mike Tannenbaum is another guy who people turned on at the drop of a dime. We all applauded him when he picked up Darelle Revis and David Harrisin the draft. We all loved him when he kept churning out gems like Dwight Lowery, Ferguson, Mangold, among other players. We were reaching fever pitch when he brought in players like Braylon Edwards for a 2nd round draft pick and the thievery of Santonio Holmes for a 5th rounder. Then again, the short memory and attention span of all the believers waned when he swung and missed on Brett Favre, Gholston, and most recently Plexico Buress, and Derick Mason. People said he needs to be released if the Jets can't put together a winner, and Rex needs to be axed as well, and Sanchez needs to be traded or released. Well tonight, I witnessed something that brought me back to something I haven't seen since the 80's or 90's when I was a kid. I saw a team stand up and be a team. From the GM to the coach, and I hope down to the players.
I have feuded with alot of you on this site about the Manning vs Sanchez move, and I don't want to write about that because I am too happy to bring in any type of negativity. I just want to talk about the positives that I see. We were in a pinch at the beginning of the off season. 2 million from the cap ceiling, a quarterback with reportedly shaky confidence, and a hall of famer on the market. Some said to dump one for the other. We had a locker room in disarray from some players with crappy attitudes.
They didn't panic, and try to sign Randy Moss for Plexico Buress when he ran a 4.3 on youtube. Tannenbaum, made what is in my mind multiple great calls. First he restructured D'brickashaw Ferguson's contract so that he would receive the same money, and wouldn't offset any salary into next years cap. That was win #1. Next, people were clamoring that Sanchez's 14 million dollar deal was too much money. OK. Tannenbaum kicked the tires on Manning, which I agree every GM should do. That's his job. He then ripped up Sanchez's final 2 years, and signed him to a 5 year deal (or a 3 year extention, depending on which website) This is great on 2 levels. First it shows that the Jets are committed to Sanchez, and he is the quarterback in NY. Second, it may free up some cap room from the 14 million he was guaranteed this year. I believe 20 million is guaranteed, but don't quote me, so his number may go from 14million to 10 million, while Manning will probably still get a 20 million per year deal.
If, in fact it does free up some cap room, maybe the Jets can go out and do something they have never done. Draft a receiver. I don't mean a 4th round Cotchery, or Brad Smith, or a 5th round Kerley. They have the opportunity to get Sanchez a legitimate weapon to throw to in the 1st or 2nd round. The last time the Jets got a receiver in the 1st round was 2001 with Santana Moss. The last time they got a receiver in the 2nd round was further back than that. Your talking over a decade for a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd round receiver.
A team is not built through free agency, big names, and large contracts. There's only so many 40 and 50 million dollar deals to go around. A team, and a successful franchise is built by drafting well and retaining talent, year after year. This team already has potential hall of fame players in Mangold and Revis which it drafted. It has potential pro bowl players in Sanchez, Brandon Moore, Dustin Keller, and David Harris. It's important to me, and I hope to others to see them try to hold on to the great players and on down to the average players. The more you can keep your own players, the more cohesive your team is. Brett Favre mentioned he came in and barely spoke to anyone outside of practice or games, and he was the quarterback!
I can't speak for everyone, but sometimes I think we have a tendency to see people in only one light, and that is how we first viewed them. We will always see Rex Ryan as a blowhard, cocky guy, because he spoke his mind so freely when he burst on the scene. We will always see Tannenbaum as a guy who trades 10 picks to get 3 players he thinks are great. The same way we will always think of Manning as the 50 touchdown quarterback, calling audibles every snap, king of the NFL.
Times are changing though. No one stays the same. Rex is calming down the super bowl guarantees. Tannenbaum is looking like he might want to build more through drafting than free agency, and maybe the days of signing Plexico Buress and Randy Moss's are over. I'm not psychic, but I'm going to say I hope times are changing for Sanchez as well.You never heard a word from him trashing the team, the players, the coordinators when the locker room was falling apart. He was professional through all the crap said about him, and the public displays of we want Peyton. Maybe this is his time now to show you who the maturing and improving leader of this Jets team is.
Here's to you Mike T. for keeping your own players. Here's to you Rex for not going back on your word. Here's to you Mark Sanchez for weathering the storm, and being a true pro. I hope the Dolphinsdo sign Manning. The AFC East will be back to where it should be as the toughest division in football. It will also prove the worth of the 2012 Jets when they come out on top as AFC champs.