Second guesses are pointless. There's nothing less constructive you can ever do than look back at the past and complain about something that didn't happen. You can always make the right moves with hindsight. Hitting 100% of your decisions is impossible. With that said, today we're going to look back at the five most questionable roster moves or non moves the Jets have made this decade. Who ever said fans have to be rationale or spend time productively?
On this list, I have only included moves that have hurt the team that frustrated me at the time.
5. The Vilma trade:
I know the talking points. People say Jonathan Vilma is better in the 4-3. I think the team gave up on him in the 3-4 too soon. Part of his problem was the lack of supporting talent. It's tough to play linebacker when linemen are blowing Dewayne Robertson off the ball and getting to you easily. Vilma would have had much more room to operate if he ever got the chance to play behind Kris Jenkins. I get that David Harris is a better inside linebacker in the 3-4, but there are two inside linebackers in the scheme. Jon's life would have been easier next to Harris. Opponents would have had to make Harris the focal point instead of Vilma. Look at how successful opposing tight ends were against the Jets in 2008. Do you mean to tell me the Jets wouldn't have been better with Vilma and his cover skills in the lineup instead of Eric Barton? Barton wasn't the reason Gang Green was so good against the run.
4. The Pete Kendall fiasco:
The offensive line was one of the biggest question marks entering the 2006 season. It ended up being one of the team's primary strengths and one of the foremost reasons Gang Green had a surprising 10 win Playoff season. Kendall was a source of stability starting between a pair of rookies. During the offseason, the Jets had plenty of cap room. Kendall asked for a $1 million raise. A year earlier, Kendall reworked his deal when the Jets were in trouble with the cap. Instead of rewarding Pete by quietly giving him a raise, the team took a hard line and turned it into a public standoff. Kendall kept taking shots at the front office in the media. Eric Mangini stripped him of his starting spot and made him stay in the rookie dorms at training camp. Eventually, the Jets traded Pete to Washington for a fifth round pick. The team had no replacement at left guard. Adrien Clarke took over the slot and played brutally. He was out of the league the next year. The line took a major step back. The team went 4-12 and had to give Alan Faneca a megadeal during the offseason to address the position. If only the Jets had been willing to pay that $1 million, they could have avoided this.
3. The Justin McCareins trade:
The Jets needed a starting wide receiver. Terry Bradway gave up a second round pick for a guy who couldn't catch a cold and got progressively worse in each of his four seasons in New York. The same offseason, Baltimore was willing to part with a second round pick for Terrell Owens.
2. Bryan Thomas over Ed Reed:
It's tough to go crazy over misses in the Draft. Great players get passed over by a lot of teams. It's impossible to tell who will turn into a great player and who will be a bust. The Jets' first round pick in 2002 made no sense at the time, though. Gang Green had struggled to find quality safety play for years. The front office tried everything from signing a proven veteran like Steve Atwater and even trying to convert a college quarterback, Scott Frost. Nothing worked. Reed was the top rated safety in the Draft and fell to 22. I would understand it if the Jets looked to address another positon, but they took a defensive end, Thomas, even though they already had a pair of promising young defensive ends starting for them, Shaun Ellis and John Abraham. I think drafting by need is usually a mistake, but this was a case where best player met need. The Jets went instead to a position at which they were sent. Reed has a Defensive Player of the Year Award and five All Pro selections. Would he have been as good developing with the Jets instead of with the surrounding talent on the Ravens? Maybe not but how great would it have be to see Reed and Kerry Rhodes lining up next to each other?
1. Not trading for Randy Moss:
Nobody ever thinks of this, but the Jets were a very logical fit for Randy Moss after the 2006 season. They were an up and coming team after a surprising Playoff run. It looked like they were emerging as a legitimate challenger in the AFC East after an upset win in Foxborough in the regular season and a competitive showing up there in the Playoffs. What the Jets lacked was a gamebreaking player on offense. The Raiders were ready to give Randy Moss away. Moss wanted to go to a contender. The Jets had a ton of cap space. Moss played with Chad Pennington in college. Talk all you want about Chad's arm strength. He can get the ball 40 yards down the field. It doesn't matter how badly the ball is thrown. Moss can readjust and outleap anybody on a jump ball. Gang Green had a stable locker room after a Playoff year. The Jets could have annouced to the league they were contenders by making the bold splash of trading for Randy. Instead, the team traded for Thomas Jones and picked up assorted journeymen to fill out the roster. There was no bold move that offseason. The coaching staff and front office seemed to get arrogant. The Jets didn't have a ton of talent in 2006, and the men in charge thought the surprising run was due to coaching, not a ridiculously soft schedule. They thought they could turn any group into a winner. They were wrong. Moss went to New England and blew the gap between the teams wide open once again. The Jets gave up a fourth round pick for Kevan Barlow but wouldn't for Randy Moss.
What move or non move since 2000 frustrates you most? Have I missed something that should be here? Am I being too hard on the front office on some of these?