FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (WFAN) — John Idzik has heard the anger about the offseason’s allocation of funds. He just wants everyone to take a deep breath. He says he’s got this.
Speaking to WFAN’s Boomer & Carton on Wednesday morning from the Jets’ practice facility, the second-year general manager assured everyone that the team is roughly $21 million under the salary cap for a number of reasons.
“There are plans for our cap room. There are plans for our cash – and it’s nice to have that room going in. It’s nice to have maneuverability. We want to have maneuverability for the entire year – and we feel like we have it this year,” Idzik said.
The odds of the Jets needing that much money to fix problems in-season are long, and Idzik admitted as much, but he said the surplus is certainly going to come in handy going forward. While he didn’t say specifically what he plans to use the money for, the Jets do have a few of their own players they have to worry about locking up long term, including their best defensive player, Muhammad Wilkerson, and could also use the bonus space to help attack free agency next offseason.
“It’s not living right in the day. You have to make long-term plans with (the cap space) when you do significant deals. You have to do not only this year but they have to fit into the future and allow you to be competitive into the future,” Idzik said.
Having players like Wilkerson to pay clearly played a role in Idzik not using a big chunk of the team’s cap space to sign what many would consider to be B-level cornerbacks during free agency. However, he did explain what happened with free agent Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who ultimately chose to sign with the Giants over the Jets.
“We did everything we had to do in that. We brought him in for a very thorough visit,” Idzik said. “In the end, it’s gotta work on both ends. It’s gotta work on both sides. We thought we did all the way up until the last moment. We thought we did everything in our power to make it work for us. But there’s two sides to that coin, and if there is not a match, you move on.”
While it’s true the Jets appear to be in worse shape at corner now than they were prior to the beginning of free agency, Idzik said it would have been irresponsible to hand out big deals when the Jets had already made some moves with an eye on 2014.
“I’ve learned not to be too surprised by much anymore,” Idzik said, when asked about the constant bashing he’s received from the fans and media just on the cornerback position. “I guess it’s understandable, the questions there may be about the position. (But) we don’t have those questions. I look at this as an opportunity for some of the other guys to get some reps. We saw that Saturday night, too. Ellis Lankster and Darrin Walls got more playing time.”
Idzik said for the time being he’s going to see what kind of depth the Jets really have at corner. With third-round pick Dexter McDougle done for the season with an ACL injury and second-year man Dee Milliner still out due to a high ankle sprain, the GM said head coach Rex Ryan and his staff will fully assess players like Dimitri Patterson, Lankster, Walls, converted safety Antonio Allen, and Johnny Patrick, among others.
“We did some things at the position. Let it play out,” Idzik said.
Idzik also spoke about quarterback Geno Smith’s progress, his assessment of running back Chris Johnson and what appears to be a powerhouse backfield, and the battle for the second wide receiver spot. To hear his complete interview, please click on the audio link below.