Sorting Through The Cotchery Confusion
Florham Park, N.J.- Today has been a long and aggravating day for me personally, but let’s be honest you don’t care how my day went. You want to hear about the Jets. Training camp has started and there’s an awful lot of information out there to be dissected and it’s our job here at Jetsinsider.com to do just that for you. So dissect I shall.
As I was patiently awaiting the arrival of repair men to my house earlier today, I decided to take to Twitter and tweet some comments as well as field some questions to do my best to work from home for the day. What unfolded was not what I had anticipated.
I had no idea there were factions of Jets fans that were so confused and angry about what was going on with their favorite football team, so I decided to take the this time to try and clear up any and all confusion to the best of my abilities (unfortunately for you, my abilities are all I can offer).
Yesterday Jets nation was crushed by the release Jerricho Cotchery and the fans weren’t alone. The media was just as torn up, even going as far as asking Cotchery ‘after everything you’ve done for this team why would they do this to you now?’ Hell I wrote what amounts to a nothing less than a tribute to the man yesterday (and I stick by every good word I said about the man). But here’s the thing, many fans (note the word many, not all), weren’t sure who to be mad at or why and the truth is the answer is nobody.
At first everyone (media included) was in a state of shock, but now it’s obvious there is a really simple answer about what happened and why. It just all happened so fast that people didn’t know how to handle it, Cotchery was a great Jet on the field for seven years, but he was more than that. He was a fan favorite and fans, especially Jets fans, tend to get overly emotional (and understandably so) about players like Cotchery.
When you think New York Jets, Cotchery is one of the first players to come to mind. So to hear he was getting cut was a shock to the system, but eventually you have to come out of the fog and start to piece things together.
Yesterday the confusion was real and justified, something wasn’t adding up right. Was he hurt? Was Mike Tannenbaum just heartless and wanted to save some money? Or did Rex Ryan want Cotchery out just to get his ‘boy,’ Derrick Mason in? All of these sounded like real possibilities yesterday afternoon, but today the answer is clear. It’s simple math, you know the whole 2 + 2 = 4 type of simple math, Cotchery wasn’t happy and he wanted out.
Still I received numerous tweets with people calling Ryan and Tannenbaum every variation of stupid and nearly as many calling Cotchery a traitor who turned his back on the team. As usual the reality lies in between and I believe both parties did nothing wrong.
Here are the facts; Cotchery wasn’t happy being relegated to the third WR last year and he made it known within the organization. In February he asked the Jets to either trade or release him. Ryan, Sanchez and I’m sure others tried to talk him out of it, but to no avail and yesterday they granted him his request. The fact that we didn’t hear about any of this until yesterday is a testament to both Cotchery and the Jets organization.
Cotchery had two years left on his contract and he didn’t want to be the third (or more likely fourth behind Keller) option because he wanted a bigger role and it would hurt his chance to sign a big contract when the time came. So the Jets tried to convince him to stay, but when they couldn’t they remained loyal to a person (not just a player) that the entire organization has a great deal of respect for.
Release him immediately and let him try and catch on somewhere else and get paid if that’s what his heart desires. To call him a traitor for this just seems silly. Cotchery wants a bigger role and someone out there can offer him one. He felt under appreciated by the Jets as a talent, played the good soldier at first, but decided it was in his best interest to move on.In my dictionary there is nothing traitorous about that, in fact one could argue he felt betrayed by the Jets with them always looking to upgrade the position and knock him down a spot on the roster.
Then there’s the other side, people saying releasing Cotchery was a dumb move because it would hurt the chemistry. Reading this I just had to sit back for a minute and think, huh?
If Cotchery didn’t want to be here but was forced to stay, how do you think that would help the chemistry? There is no doubt Cotchery would have sucked it up and been a professional, but his teammates would have sensed the unhappiness and that can’t improve chemistry. Cotchery was great for this team, but he can’t contribute like we’ve been accustomed to if he isn’t happy here.
Maybe Cotchery was offended they asked him to take a pay cut you say? Not so fast, teams don’t approach players in February right before a lockout about restructuring contracts, so that didn’t happen. Cotchery was unhappy and he wanted out, just because someone as a fan doesn’t want to hear it doesn’t make it any less true or any less right, why would you as a fan really want someone who didn’t want to be here anyway?
Comedian Louis C.K. has a great bit about why divorce is always a good thing because no happy couple ever gets divorced, that would be sad. That bit is exactly what this situation is like with the fans playing the role of the kid. You as a fan just want them to make it work, but if they aren’t happy it can’t work and the only healthy thing to do is move on and it doesn’t always have to be someone’s fault.
Things happen, Cotchery was a great Jet, but a Jet no more. He will find a new team to contribute to and he will go on to continue impacting lives in a positive way, he’ll just be doing it somewhere else.
The Jets will also be fine. Obviously they’d like him back, but with Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress on the outside, Dustin Keller and (maybe Mason) Jeremey Kerley, Scotty McKnight and even whatever RB is in the back field the Jets still have plenty of options.
In fact when you look at it like that it’s easy to see why Cotchery wanted to leave because it’s hard to envision a way he gets any more than 50 catches if he stays in that lineup.
I blame the lockout for the outrage because if this played out over the course of months, instead of days, and rumors about Cotchery’s request started to leak fans would have been able to brace themselves for it. Instead everyone outside the organization was blindsided by it.
Just like what often happens with divorce, that couple you thought were the perfect couple just grew apart, wanting different things in life. Sometimes things just happen, it doesn’t always have to be someone’s fault. Cotchery requested the divorce and it is now official, the Jets are hurt and so are the kids (fans), but it’s what’s best for everyone and needed to be done.
Louis C.K. is right divorce is always a good thing, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
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