NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Sack that “lame duck” label!
The New York Jets and head coach Rex Ryan have agreed on a multi-year contract extension, the team announced Thursday.
Terms of the contract were not immediately known, but ESPN reported Ryan’s new deal will keep him under contract with the Jets through at least 2016 and is loaded with incentives based on postseason wins. Ryan had one year remaining on a contract he reworked in 2010, worth about $3 million annually.
According to the Daily News, the Jets will have the ability to opt out of the contract down the road, adding the money in Ryan’s new deal isn’t fully guaranteed. If the team fires him after the 2015 season, Ryan wouldn’t receive all of the remaining money on his contract.
So it appears if Ryan wants to really write his ticket long term he needs to start making the playoffs again and winning once he gets there.
Ryan was lauded for leading this season’s team to an 8-8 record despite many in the media predicting the Jets would be among the bottom of the barrel in the NFL.
Ryan is 42-38 in five seasons and 4-2 in the postseason with the Jets. He started his tenure with consecutive AFC Championship game appearances but has missed the playoffs the last three seasons.
Several Jets players voiced their support for Ryan prior to the season finale. After beating the Miami Dolphins, team owner Woody Johnson announced the coach would be coming back — and the locker room erupted.
“I hired Rex Ryan in January of 2009 for many reasons, but one of his strengths really stands out,” Johnson later said in an email to season-ticket holders. “Rex has more passion than anyone I have ever met. Passion for the Jets. Passion for teaching and motivating his players and coaches. Passion for winning. Like any NFL Head Coach, he’s had ups and downs, but Rex has been a tremendous leader of this football team.”
Full of swagger and confidence, Ryan burst onto the scene in 2009, taking over a franchise that was coming off consecutive non-playoff seasons. Armed with rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez, a strong running game anchored by Thomas Jones and one of the better defenses in the NFL, Ryan led the Jets to a 9-7 record and wins over Cincinnati and San Diego on the road in the playoffs. The Jets’ season ended with a 30-17 loss at Indianapolis in the conference title game.
Then in 2010, with expectations higher, the Jets went 11-5 before defeating Indianapolis and New England on the road in the playoffs. The team’s first Super Bowl appearance since 1969, however, wasn’t to be as the Jets played a brutal first half in the cold in Pittsburgh before a second-half rally fell short in a 24-19 loss to the Steelers in the conference championship.
In 2011 the Jets were expected to contend for a championship, but team-wide inconsistency and a failure to take the next step by Sanchez ultimately resulted in a disappointing 8-8 season.
Things got worse in 2012 as a circus-like atmosphere permeated everything the Jets did. A regrettable trade for polarizing quarterback Tim Tebow proved to be a distraction and Sanchez turned the ball over at an alarming rate as the Jets finished 6-10.
This past season was viewed as a put-up-or-shut up season for the boisterous Ryan. However, the Jets’ front office, which had gone through upheaval during the offseason with the firing of general manager Mike Tannenbaum and the hiring of Seattle Seahawks executive John Idzik, spent cautiously due to a precarious salary cap situation.
The view by many was Ryan was put in a no-win situation, expected to win with a roster that was thought to be among the worst in the NFL talent-wise. However, the Jets surprised many by going 5-4 to start the season and 3-1 in December. The .500 finish, coupled with the maturation of rookie quarterback Geno Smith and the emergence of several young players along the defensive line, has the Jets thinking less about rebuilding and more about contending for a playoff berth next season.
But the pressure will be on both Ryan and Idzik, considering the Jets will be reportedly at least $40 million under the salary cap and will have as many as 12 picks in the draft.
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