NEW YORK (WFAN) — Mike Tannenbaum made some New Yorkers say “Nnamdi who?” when he signed Plaxico Burress on Sunday. Jets fans may be disappointed, but Tannenbaum is happy with how his roster is shaping up.
The general manager admitted to WFAN’s Boomer & Carton on Wednesday that he had a “sense” the Eagles were in the Asomugha hunt, even though reports all along said they were competing against Houston and Dallas.
“From a competitive standpoint, are you disappointed? Or course you are,” he explained. “With that said, we had been talking to (Antonio Cromartie) all along. To come out of it quickly with Eric Smith, Cro and Plaxico Burress, you know, I feel really good about that.
“I think Nnamdi will do real well in Philly, but for us, I’m really happy how it all ended.”
Cromartie is back in green and white after the team’s flirtation with Asomugha. No hard feelings, says Tannenbaum.
“We knew he’d be talking to other teams and I think he knew we’d be talking to other corners,” Tannenbaum said. “That’s just part of how free agency goes. As I told him, ‘It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.'”
As for Burress, Tannenbaum said it was something of a leap of faith to sign the embattled wide receiver, who was released in June after nearly two years behind bars on a gun charge.
“I think it’d be unrealistic to say that he’s going to come in from Day 1 and be the same guy that he was two years ago,” he admitted. “With that said, I think he can come in right away, help us in the red zone, help us in the running game. And as the season goes on, I think he’ll get better and, you know, we’re really excited to have him.”
Tannenbaum also applauded wide receiver Braylon Edwards, whose contract demands just didn’t mesh with the Jets’ to-do list.
“It was never an issue about we didn’t want Braylon, but in our system, you have to make football and economic priorities. And it was just more of a priority to get Santonio (Holmes),” Tannenbaum said. “We felt that his skill set was really hard to replace, harder than Braylon’s, but that’s all it was.
“I’ve spoken privately and publicly about this and I’d be happy to give him a recommendation to any other team. For two years, we had a lot of success with Braylon.”
Speaking of wide receivers that won’t be on the Jets in 2011, Brad Smith bolted for Buffalo during Tannenbaum’s failed reach at Asomugha.
“I really wanted to keep Brad, but again, a little bit like Braylon, you just can’t pay them all,” said Tannenbaum. “You need to have that discipline to be able to walk away from these guys.”
Craig Carton asked if the decision to let Smith walk had anything to do with Mark Sanchez’s maturation as Jets quarterback. Smith, the team’s most versatile weapon, was the leader of New York’s wildcat package.
“No question,” he said. “We talked about it. … Mark’s our future. Rex made him a captain. That was something that was earned, and this has to be Mark’s team in order for us to be successful.”
Has Tannenbaum made all the right moves, or do you have criticism for the Jets GM? Fire away in the comments below…