"DOES JOHN IDZIK KNOW WHAT HE IS DOING!?!?"
This seems to be the growing theme amongst a large contingent of New York Jets fans. As we are less than a month into free agency, most fans are hitting the panic button. We were all excited about the prospect of being around 30 million dollars under the salary cap. A lot of Jets fans, myself included, thought Mr. Idzik was going to make the Jets a force to be reckoned with in free agency. So far the force has been more like a toy train than a freight train.
Is this Idzik’s plan? Does he not want to improve the team?
I believe he has a plan and it would be silly and irresponsible to think he does not want to improve the team. I get the sense that some fans think they could manage the team better. So for argument’s sake let’s compare what the fans would have done so far this offseason with what Idzik has done up to this point. The following is just a consensus of what I have observed on twitter since March 11th. Let’s see who comes out on top.
Here are the moves that transpired in the days leading up to the 11th.
March 8-Jets resign TE Jeff Cumberland to a 3 year, 5.7 million dollar contract with 1 million guaranteed.
March 9- Jets release CB Antonio Cromartie and save 9.5 million dollars
March 10- Jets release WR Santonio Holmes and save 10.75 million dollars.
Ok so now the fun begins and with 39.6 million dollars in cap room, let’s see Idzik vs. the fans play out.
*Fan GM contracts reflect the actual contract player signed with another team
First there were three different cornerback scenarios that took place amongst the fan GMs:
CB Alterraun Verner, Darrelle Revis, Dominque Rodgers Cromartie
With the anticipated release of Antonio Cromartie, fans(myself included) were clamoring for the Jets to make a run at Verner. He is an up and coming player who intercepted two passes last season when he faced the Jets. There were rumors that the Jets had already reached out to Verner. Truth is, we actually don’t know if Idzik ever did. There was a stronger rumor that Idzik had offered a contract to Colts CB Vontae Davis, who then decided to resign with Indy.
It was rumored Tampa Bay was looking to trade Revis in the days leading up to free agency. Unwilling to find a partner Revis was released right before the Jets would have received a 3rd round pick for him from the Buccaneers. While a Jets reunion was speculated about, Revis decided to sign with New England. Apparently Idzik never even phoned Revis’s camp to see what his asking price might have been.
Now panic and frustration is beginning to set in among Jets fans. Especially after Revis signed with New England and Antonio Cromartie was visiting the Cardinals. What now ? Oh Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is available? Being the best remaining FA CB on the market the Jets bring DRC in for a visit, he spends all day at the Jets facility only to leave without a deal and on his way to visit the Giants. DRC signs with the Giants the next day.
John Idzik moves: Signs: K Nick Folk(4 years,12 million), WR Eric Decker(5 year, 36.25 million), RT Breno Giacomini(4 year, 18 million), Leger Douzable(1 year, 1 million), Willie Colon(1 year, 2 million), Calvin Pace(2 years, 5 million)
Cap number after: 23.875 million
Fan GM signs: In addition to all of the signings Idzik made (the majority agreed with these signings so counting them in), Revis is signed for 1 year, 12 million(Cap hit is 7 million for 2014).
Cap number after: 23.875-7 = 16.875 million
WR James Jones, Emmanuel Sanders, DeSean Jackson
With Decker in the fold it was reported the Jets were looking to add another free agent WR. They reportedly had reached out to Jones and were planning on visiting with Sanders. Jones was never brought in and a scheduling conflict prevented Sanders from ever making it to Florham Park. Jones ultimately signed with the Raiders and Sanders with the Broncos.
There were rumblings Jackson may have been on the trading block at the end of the season. Turns out there was some truth to it, and most Jets fans (myself included), were excited about the possibility of adding Jackson. The Eagles ended up releasing DJax and it seems like the Jets never made an offer to trade for him, and as of this writing have not even reached out to him.
The fans on twitter seemed like they wanted all of these players at one point or another. Most seem more than happy to trade a 3rd rounder in this year’s draft for Jackson. The fan GM signing will reflect this trade and inherit Jackson’s salary with the Eagles.
John Idzik moves: Releases QB Mark Sanchez(8.5 million cap savings), signs QB Michael Vick(1 year, 4 million), signs CB Dmitri Patterson(1 year, 3 million) and WR Jacoby Ford(1 year, 740 thousand)
Cap Number After: 23.875 + 8.5 = 31.875 –7.3 = 24.6 million
Fan GM trade: Jets 2014 3rd rd. draft pick for WR DeSean Jackson(inherit his 10.5 million salary)
Cap Number After: 16.875 + 8.5 = 24.875 – 10.5 – 4 =10.875 million
As you can see, if the fans have their way there won’t be much cap room left to spend for the rest of the season and to carry into next season. Also don’t forget the draft which will cost an estimated 3 million dollars. Would you rather enter next year with 23 million dollars or 6 million? The Jets should want to enter next year will plenty of cap space. Why would the Jets want to position themselves comfortably under the cap next year? First, they will undoubtedly want to sign Wilkerson to a new contract. Of course, he won’t take up all of the cap space. There are some big players hitting the FA market next year, if they don’t get franchised or resigned by their current teams. These players include CB Richard Sherman, FS Earl Thomas, WR Demaryius Thomas, WR Dez Bryant, TE Jimmy Graham, and OLB Justin Houston. Those are some pretty talented players to not have any flexibility in cap room to play with.
John Idzik was hired to build this team in his own way. We don’t know what that way is yet, nor do we know what the true definition of an "Idzik Move" is. What we do know is that Idzik doesn’t let the fan or media criticism get to him. He had a plan when he accepted this job and he is sticking to it. He has stated that the draft will be the "lifeline" of the team and that they would be "judicious" in free agency. All of these factors point to building a team that will have sustainable success. A perennial playoff team and division winner, not a team that spends its money foolishly and has nothing to show for it. Idzik is a man of his word and he is always going to put the team’s success in front of his. Could you really want anything more from your General Manager?