Rapid Reaction: Is Idzik a good hire?
By Rich Cimini
Quick takeaways on the news that the Jets have decided to hire former Seattle Seahawks vice president of football administration John Idzik as their new general manager:
1. What they did: The Jets veered off course. They set out trying to find a GM with deep roots in scouting and personnel, but they chose a longtime executive who made his bones on the business side, dealing mostly with salary-cap management and contract negotiations. The Jets will present Idzik as a hybrid -- he attended personnel meetings in Seattle -- but that's not his area of expertise. Like former GM Mike Tannenbaum, he's a capologist making the crossover. They needed a leader who sees the world from a scout's perspective, not an executive who learned his football in a room.
2. Narrow view: This was a shortsighted decision. Owner Woody Johnson wanted someone to clean up the messy cap situation ($19.4 million over) and the number of bloated contracts. The real problem is a thin roster. One of the candidates told me the Jets need to replace 12 starters, conservatively. Yes, the Jets have contract issues, but they're in this cap predicament because of poor talent evaluations, overvaluing players such as Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes and David Harris. They're paying Holmes like a top-10 receiver; any personnel man worth his stopwatch will tell you he's not even in the top 20.
3. Outside the box: This move smacks of the 1980s Jets, when they always left the league scratching its head because of against-the-grain decisions. Seven teams were in the GM market. The first six opted for executives with personnel backgrounds; the Jets went the other way. Are they smarter than everyone else? As one longtime GM told me, "This isn't the time to put a cap guy in charge."
4. The Rex factor: The big question is, what does this mean for Rex Ryan? In the short term, it could mean more influence in personnel matters. Like Tannenbaum, Idzik probably will lean heavily on Ryan for input. Ryan can pick defensive linemen (Muhammad Wilkerson), but that's about it. We all know he has a blind spot when it comes to offense. He pushed to draft Sanchez in 2009 when the scouts wanted Josh Freeman. This sets up a potentially dangerous situation: The coach should coach, the GM should pick the players -- except, in this case, the GM has never picked players. How do they fill the void? Maybe assistant GM Scott Cohen sticks around in a personnel role.