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Schwartz: Jets Should Look South For A New Direction

Jets Should Target Ravens' DeCosta To Replace Tannenbaum
Eric DeCosta (Credit: Baltimore Ravens official website) and Woody Johnson (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Eric DeCosta (Credit: Baltimore Ravens official website) and Woody Johnson (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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By Peter Schwartz
» More Columns

Barring a miracle, the Jets are not making the playoffs this season. That will be two straight seasons without a trip to the postseason and that means that changes are on the horizon.

Owner Woody Johnson will likely do something. After the Jets missed the playoffs in 2007 and 2008, Eric Mangini was fired and that triggered the start of the Rex Ryan era. I think it’s safe to say that Woody isn’t going to fire Rex, even if the Jets lose their final five games.

Ryan gives Johnson exactly what he’s looking for and that’s back page attention so it’s a good bet that there will not be a coaching change. I don’t think Rex should be fired. I still think he’s a good coach, but I don’t think he’s a good evaluated of talent and he has been getting more and more of a say in that department.

That has to stop and the only way that stops is if Johnson changes the structure of the front office. I don’t think he will completely fire General Manager Mike Tannenbaum. Mr. T has two years left on his contract and it’s highly unlikely that Woody is just going to eat the money.

Instead, I think there’s a good change that Tannenbaum is re-assigned in the organization and the Jets look for a new GM. The only problem with bringing in a new GM with a coach already in place is that a new football chief would likely want to bring in his own man.

So how does Woody make a change at GM while also keeping Rex around?

It’s very simple. All the Jets have to do is look at the same place that they found Ryan…..The Baltimore Ravens.

The Jets should go after Ravens Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta and make him the new GM of Gang Green. The 41 year old DeCosta has been with the Ravens for 17 seasons and has risen up the ladder in Baltimore. His is considered to be one of the up and coming football minds in the NFL. Given that he already has a relationship with Ryan, one would think that DeCosta would be open to keeping Rex. He could always make a change down the road.

The only roadblock for the Jets would be that DeCosta is considered to be the heir apparent to Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome. After getting promoted to director of player personnel in 2009, DeCosta’s stock around the league continued to grow.

The Raiders and Bears were interested in him as general manager so the Ravens gave DeCosta contract extension and a promotion to Assistant General Manager.

In 2009, he was promoted to director of player personnel and then was named assistant general manager in 2012.

DeCosta may not be interested in coming to the Jets but that shouldn’t stop them from trying. Woody Johnson just might have to make him an offer that he can’t refuse. Of course, I’m not the one writing the check.

After one season as an intern with the Redskins player personnel department, DeCosta joined the Ravens in 1997 as a Midwest college scout before getting promoted to area scout. In 2003, DeCosta was named director of college scouting. In 2003, DeCosta played a role in the selection of linebacker Terrell Suggs who was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and also picked up 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors.

DeCosta has also been responsible for draft picks like Haloti Ngata, Ben Grubbs, Michael Oher, and Ray Rice. It’s clear that he’s ready to be an NFL General Manager.

“While Eric continues to grow in the personnel department, he is becoming a vital part of the decision-making process,” said Newsome.

DeCosta was part of an eight-member committee that interviewed and selected current Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh.

He might not want to leave Baltimore, but I think the Jets owe it to themselves to at least inquire.

Would DeCosta be an ideal fit as the Jets’ next GM?  Sound off below…