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Five things the Jets’ next general manager will need

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Leadership Skills

The Jets’ organization has seemed dysfunctional to me from afar for a while. The last few months have taken things to a new level. From the outside looking in, things look like a mess. Most of the focus will be on the new general manager’s talent evaluation skills, and there is good reason for that.

A job just as important will be restoring order within this franchise and making sure everybody is on the same page going forward.

Beyond the unique dynamics of the Jets organization, this is still important to have. Most general managers come from scouting backgrounds. The ability to watch film and evaluate talent is different from the ability to supervise a staff and delegate effectively. Many general managers are capable of the former but lack the leadership skills to do the latter.


I have to admit that I was wrong, and many of you were right. Over the last few years many fans have expressed concern about a Jets’ power structure which had both the head coach and the general manager reporting directly to the owner. I felt these concerns were overblown. I now realize my views on this were incorrect.

The events of the last few months have convinced me about the error of my ways. A structure like this can work for some franchises, but I don’t think it can work for this team with this ownership.

I now think the Jets need one strong voice in control of football operations. This person needs to be completely empowered with the ability to have his way on everything. That includes the ability to pick his own coach. If the Jets find a quality candidate who wants Adam Gase to be his guy, I’m fine with that. But I don’t want another round of trying to shoehorn a hire to accommodate somebody else. I acknowledge the less than ideal circumstances of putting a first year coach into this position, but it is the lesser of two evils.

The Ability to Value

Chris Johnson hasn’t said many things that I agree with recently, but I think he’s right about this. It goes back to an earlier point I made. General managers usually come from scouting backgrounds. They can tell you whether a player has talent.

It’s one thing to say a guy is a good player. It’s another to be able to place the proper value on a player.

Somebody with a background in talent evaluation could tell you that C.J. Mosley is an excellent linebacker. Just because he brings something to the table, does that mean it is worth $17 million per year to procure his services? From a value perspective the answer might be no.

A Solid Network

The Jets will now be a tad behind in acquiring front office talent from other teams. Movement of personnel executives begins after the Draft. The Jets aren’t making tweaks. They will need to bring in a new personnel department. Presumably there will be a few holdovers, but the turnover will be appreciable. A more traditional January hire would have allowed the general manager four months to plan which people he would target after the Draft. The person the Jets hire is going to need the ability to bring high caliber people into the organization quickly.

A Commitment to Adding Extra Draft Picks

Every general manager claims they want to build through the Draft. Few follow through on it, but in today’s NFL it is impossible to build a sustainable contender without doing so. That means looking for ways to add extra picks whenever an opportunity strikes. Each additional pick is a surplus prospect for the team, and it builds in a margin for error on the inevitable busts a general manager selects.