HC Rex Ryan was hired because everyone on the Baltimore staff respected him. SS Jim Leonhard took less money and followed him. Ravens S Ed Reed has stated some loyalty to Rex. DE Trevor Pryce chose to sign with New York instead of returning to Baltimore (although he did make more money by doing so). And ILB Bart Scott would chose Ryan to go with him down a dark alley or something.
OC Brian Schottenheimer stayed on to work for Rex even though he lost the head job to him. A few years before, former OC Mike Heimerdinger wouldn't stay on for former HC Eric Mangini. Former Dolphins exec Bill Parcells has offered advice to Ryan while they were on rival teams. And former coaches like Giants and Bills OL Coach Jim McNally and Colts OC Tom Moore have accepted roles as advisors for the team. Even Patriots HC Bill Belichick shared words with Rex after a game instead of a limp handshake.
More after the jump.
In his first year in New York, Rex was asked time and again about why former SS Kerry Rhodes seemed to be underachieving, and Rex never said anything bad about Hollywood. When DT Howard Green was released, Rex kept quiet. Who knows if Green Bay would have picked him up knowing the reason was because of his weight. And of course, having him take the spot light has taken off some pressure from young QB Mark Sanchez.
In his first minicamp, his message to players was to have some fun. As we've seen in "Hard Knocks", Rex can get upset and let his players know when they're not performing. He doesn't throw his players under the bus. The guy obviously knows how to coach, going to three straight AFC championship games.
According to Cris Collinsworth, free agents want to join Gang Green:
I have talked to so many players who are dying to play for Ryan.
Matt Bowen agrees that "New York is becoming the top spot for free agents":
Here is what I would do if I were still playing in the NFL and testing the free agent market: call up my agent, tell him to work the phones and get Rex Ryan and the Jets on the line.
It wouldn't matter if I were a top-tier free agent or a guy that covered kicks for a living. Because that is the coach I would want to play for...
And talking with current and ex-players for Rex, they will tell you the same thing: you want to go to work when he is running the show.
This is why I believe CB Nnamdi Asomugha might actually end up as a Jet. Might. It certainly is a possibility that his agents are using the Rex factor to get more money out of Houston and San Francisco. But it's interesting that WR Santonio Holmes has left money on the table, and having Nnamdi come to New York is even a possibility.