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New York Jets General Manager Candidate: Jerry Angelo

Jonathan Daniel

The Jets have kept their search largely to would be first time NFL general managers. Jerry Angelo is only the second retread on the list. Tom Heckert was the first before he pulled himself out of the running.

Angelo is best known for his time as general manager of the Chicago Bears from 2001 to 2011. Before he landed in Chicago, he was Director of Player Personnel for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1987 to 2000. He scouted for the Giants from 1982 to 1986. Prior to that, he held various coaching positions in the CFL and college in addition to scouting a year for the Cowboys.

For his part, the Bears were 95-81 in Angelo's tenure. They won the NFC Championship in 2006 along with four division titles in eleven years. It is a solid enough record.

As is the case with anybody in a location for over a decade, Angelo made some excellent moves and some really bad ones. He found some very good players in the Draft like Matt Forte, Lance Briggs, and Tommie Harris. He wasn't afraid to make blockbuster acquisitions like Jay Cutler and Julius Peppers. He also missed on moves like drafting Michael Haynes and Chris Williams high.

There seem to be a few themes to Angelo's run with the Bears. The first is the talent on defense was better than the talent on offense. Angelo found good pieces that fit Lovie Smith's system. On the offensive side of the ball, he didn't invest much in the offensive line, using only three picks in the top three rounds. He also could never find a good wide receiver. The Bears didn't have a 1,000 yard receiver in his last eight years. At quarterback, he whiffed on first round pick Rex Grossman, which forced him to sell the ranch for Jay Cutler. Given the way the offense has held the Jets back, that might make him less appealing. That trade does indicate that he is willing to think big to get a quarterback, though.

Applicable to this search, when Angelo was hired with the Bears, there already was a coach in place that he stick with, Dick Jauron. After a few bad years, he fired Jauron and hired Lovie Smith. That was an important decision, and given the success Smith had, I think it was a good one.

Angelo has a decent record. I wouldn't hate the Jets hiring him, but I wouldn't love it either. Under Angelo, the Bears were rarely terrible, sometimes good, but never great. That's a lot like the last regime. He would certainly be better than Scott Cohen or Brian Gaine. At the same time, this search is a chance to make a big, bold move. That's why the search firm was hired. That's why the Jets are interviewing so many candidates. Angelo has a higher floor than a lot of the other candidates, but he has a lower ceiling too. Why make such an effort and then go with the safe choice?