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Mr. T's Parting Gift

It seems the Tannenbaum regime did not leave the Jets' cupboards as bare as we may have once thought.

The Star-Ledger-US PRESSWIRE

One of Jets fans favorite scapegoats over the last two years

has been Mike Tannenbaum. He gave us Jets fans ample

reason to be unhappy. He botched the draft three years running,

from 2008-2010, which set the Jets up for their fall from grace

in 2011 and 2012. He traded away too many draft picks for

rent-a-players, expensive veterans who often did not last much

more than a season or two, at inflated prices. And if that wasn't

bad enough, perhaps his most egregious sin was in grossly

mismanaging the team's salary cap, the one area in which he was

supposed to be an expert. It all became too much as the Jets sank

to the depths of a 6-10 record in 2012, and Mr. T ended up getting

fired for his efforts, a source of no great consternation on the part

of Jets fans everywhere. The sentiment in most circles was

goodbye, good luck and good riddance, as the Jets now faced the

daunting task of cleaning up the considerable mess Tanny left

behind. It didn't look pretty, and most observers felt the Jets

would be in for a very long and unsuccessful year in 2013 and

a painful, multi-year rebuilding process in the years to follow.

What a difference a few months make. Having gone into the 2013

season with markedly reduced expectations for this team, Jets fans

are now beginning to get justifiably enthused about the young,

talented roster this team has and the prospects for very good things

in the near future. Part of that is simply the pleasant surprise of

realizing the Jets will most likely not be nearly as awful as the

pundits had been loudly predicting over the last 9 months. It's

always nice to be able to shut up your fiercest critics. But there

is more here than simply exceeding bottom feeder expectations.

The Jets really do seem to have some key pieces of the foundation

in place for a prolonged run at excellence. And the mother of all

surprises is that the much maligned Mike Tannenbaum and his

front office team is very much responsible for this potential Jets


I've put together a chart of the Jets' current roster, with the primary

party responsible for each player's presence on said roster indicated.

When Mr. T and the recently dismissed front office team under him were

solely responsible, I indicated it with a TT. When they were primarily

but not solely responsible, I indicated it with an MT. This category

relates solely to the 2013 draft, which was conducted by John Idzik

but with the entire Mr. T team otherwise still in place. While Idzik

was certainly in charge on draft day, all of the prep work was done by

the old Mr. T team, and presumably all of the evaluations upon which

Idzik relied in the draft room were done by the old team, so I marked

this as primarily the responsibility of the departed Team Tannanbaum.

When John Idzik and his new team were primarily responsible,

which presumably was the case for every free agent move taking place

after Mr. T was fired but before the new team under Idzik was in place,

I indicated it with an MI. The reason I view these guys as primarily

Idzik guys is because unlike the many hundreds of draft prospects,

presumably Idzik was quite familiar with the available NFL free

agents and took on a primary role in bringing them in, without

having to lean on the old Mr. T team nearly as much as he had to for

the draft. Finally there are the free agents brought in after Idzik

let most of Mr. T's team go and brought in his own people. For

these guys Idzik gets sole responsibility and credit, indicated with a TI.


All Team Tanny

Mostly Team Tanny

Mostly Team Idzik

All Team Idzik


Geno Smith


Matt Simms


David Garrard



Bilal Powell


Chris Ivory


Alex Green


Tommy Bohannon



Santonio Holmes


Stephen Hill


Jeremy Kerley


David Nelson


Josh Cribbs


Greg Salas



Kellen Winslow


Jeff Cumberland


Konrad Reuland


Zach Sudfeld



D'Brickashaw Ferguson


Brian Winters


Nick Mangold


Willie Colon


Austin Howard


Oday Aboushi


William Campbell


Vlad Ducasse


Caleb Schlauderaff


Ben Ijalana



Muhammad Wilkerson


Damon Harrison


Sheldon Richardson


Quinton Coples


Leger Douzable


Kenrick Ellis



Calvin Pace


Demario Davis


David Harris


Garrett McIntyre


Nick Bellore


Troy Davis



Antonio Cromartie


Kyle Wilson


Dee Milliner


Darrin Walls


Isaiah Trufant


Ellis Lankster



Dawan Landry


Antonio Allen


Jaiquawn Jarrett


Josh Bush


Ed Reed


Special Teams

Ryan Quigley

Nick Folk


Tanner Purdum


A bookkeeping item deserves mention here. I made the decision to

place any player who was drafted or signed originally by Mr. T but

was re-signed as a free agent by Mr. Idzik in the totally Tanny column.

The idea was to capture who was responsible for the initial decision.

Others may differ on this, deciding such players belong in the mostly

Mr. T or even the mostly Idzik column. There is room for reasonable

minds to differ here; I only set forth my own biases as to how to treat

those players.

It is noteworthy that if you like this team and its potential, then what

you like is largely the product of the prior regime's work. Every

single starter and most of the primary backups are either in the totally

Mr. T or the mostly Mr. T column. This is in no way an indictment

of Idzik, nor is it an endorsement of Tannenbaum. The way the chart

was set up nearly guaranteed such a result. Rather, it is simply an

acknowledgement that this team is still largely the product of Mr. T

and the old regime. It had to be this way; the old regime remained in

place through the 2013 draft. It is nevertheless somewhat

surprising just how much many like how this team's young talent is

shaping up, when nearly all of it was brought here by the reviled Mr. T.

For the inevitable commenters who will be offended that Mr. T

is in any way being mentioned in a positive light, or that Mr. Idzik

appears to be given short shrift, I would only say, wait. This article

is not about Idzik, either by way of endorsement or indictment.

Mr. Idzik's time will come over the next few years. By 2015 it

will begin to become clear whether or not the new regime has what

it takes to build a team. For now, we just don't know.

The one thing we do know, and it comes as a bit of a surprise,

is that if we like where this roster is headed, if we like the looks

of the young guns, then we have mostly Tannenbaum and his front

office to thank for it. Call it Tanny's parting gift. For all the

ridiculous, undeserved extensions and bloated contracts the old regime

doled out, they seem to have gotten at least a few things in the way of

young talent right. They seem to have set the table for a coming Jets

feast. It remains for Idzik and his crew to choose the remaining

ingredients, cook the dinner and serve up a championship.