A year ago the Jets were in the midst of an entire month when zero roster moves were made. Between November 1 and December 1, 2014, absolutely nothing happened with respect to the Jets roster. Nobody was signed. Nobody was cut. Nobody was traded. A complete zero of a month. As discussed more in depth here, former GM John Idzik just seemed to be in way over his head at that point. In retrospect, perhaps the growing chorus of detractors calling for his firing sent Idzik into a death funk of inactivity; we'll probably never know for sure. What we do know is Idzik just stopped doing anything at all in terms of the roster, for a solid, interminable month. No activity means no chance whatsoever for improvement. It was the last mark of a failed term at GM for a decent man who seemed simply not up to the job.
What a difference a year makes. Since November 1, 2015, GM Mike Maccagnan has made 15 transactions. Wide receivers, defensive backs, offensive linemen, defensive linemen, kickers, kick returners: all have been added and dropped in the never ending process of churning the back of the roster to try and find one or two guys who can help the team. Already one of those moves has yielded promising early results, as safety Rontez Miles was promoted from the practice squad and appears to be carving out a legitimate role on the defense.
With the back of the roster guys we're talking about, the large majority of moves made will be of little or no consequence. Players will be added and dropped without ever making any impact whatsoever on the team. But if only one in 30 such transactions produces somebody who can help the team, then an active GM has the opportunity to discover maybe three or four viable contributors over the course of the season. An inactive GM will miss those opportunities.
It is an obscure and overlooked aspect of the job, but back of the roster churn in hopes of finding a few diamonds in the rough is the kind of thing that over time will produce measurable positive results at the margins for those GMs that do it well. The jury is still out on whether Maccagnan does it well, but at least we have established he does it, period. That alone is a refreshing change from one year ago. In the spirit of the upcoming holiday, a little something for Jets fans to be thankful for.