FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — John Idzik’s first headline-making move as New York Jets general manager was trading away his best player.
While it sure angered some fans who are already preparing themselves for another dismal season, Idzik will now try to find a few guys who can help get the franchise — which was a win away from the Super Bowl in the 2009 and ’10 seasons — back on track.
With all eyes on him.
Since being hired in January to replace the fired Mike Tannenbaum, Idzik has been renovating the Jets’ roster following a 6-10 season. The biggest move came Sunday when he dealt cornerback Darrelle Revis to Tampa Bay for the Buccaneers’ first-round pick in the NFL draft that starts Thursday night, and a conditional pick next year.
“When we made this decision,” Idzik said a few hours after the deal was official, “we felt like this was the best for both the short and long-term success of the New York Jets.”
Idzik cited several factors that went into parting ways with one of the greatest players in the franchise’s history, a guy Rex Ryan called one of the best he’s coached. First was the money issue, as New York insisted it wanted Revis to stay but wasn’t going to come close to the six-year, $96 million deal the cornerback got from Tampa Bay.
Another was the cornerback coming off a major knee injury that sidelined him for most of 2012. And, with the draft just days away, timing became a factor as the clock was ticking on the chance to get what the Jets felt was appropriate compensation.
“Obviously, when it involves a very talented player who’s had a significant impact to our team and our community, there’s much, much thought put into a move like this,” Idzik said. “It’s not taken lightly.”
Revis played in just two games for Gang Green last season, recording 11 tackles, a forced fumble and an interception.
Idzik got the 13th overall pick from the Bucs, as well as a fourth-rounder that could become a third-rounder in next year’s draft. The Jets also have the No. 9 overall pick, so Idzik will be plenty busy early in the first round — unless, of course, he makes trades to get even more picks.
“I’ll say it is like game day,” Idzik said. “You get revved up.”
Idzik spent the last six seasons with Seattle after previously working in the front offices of Tampa Bay and Arizona. He helped build all three organizations into playoff contenders. Idzik is charged with the difficult task of doing the same in New York.
From the moment he arrived, Idzik has insisted the Jets will build through the draft. He’ll get a chance to make an immediate impact — and impression.
“I don’t think it’s more pressure with any one decision,” he said. “It’s just an axiom in football; we’re all grinders at heart, and part of the grind is being prepared. When you’re going through the final stages of draft preparation, this is a culmination of over a year of evaluating these guys. It’s a culmination of evaluating your roster (and) the status of certain players on the roster.
“When you feel like you’ve thoroughly researched everything, I don’t know that it’s pressure.”
But after trading a Revis, he’ll be expected to get a franchise-type player with his first-round picks.
“We’re committed to putting a team on the field that’s a winning team and doing it in a deliberative and sound way,” owner Woody Johnson said. “I’m encouraged. I think we’ve got some young players that will be better. We’ll have the opportunity to pick up some very good players in the draft, and I’m extremely optimistic.”
There are plenty of holes to fill on the Jets, including the one in the secondary vacated by Revis.
“Nobody can tell, ‘How does a trade make you better, make you worse, are you talking about for one week, are you talking about a season, are you talking about a future?'” Ryan said. “We don’t even know who we’re going to select at those picks. So a lot of things will be decided. I will say this, and I mention it over and over again: We will play great defense to the New York Jets standards, and that’s how I’ve approached it from the day I took this job.”
The Jets are sorely in need of a pass-rushing presence, so LSU linebacker Barkevious Mingo or Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones could go at No. 9 to give the Jets what they would expect to be impact players immediately. If Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner slips to No. 9, he could be a replacement for Revis, or at least challenge 2010 first-rounder Kyle Wilson for a starting spot opposite Antonio Cromartie. Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes could also be an enticing option.
After guards Matt Slauson and Brandon Moore left via free agency, New York might look to reload its offensive line, with perhaps North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper with one of the picks.
There’s also the question whether the Jets will consider a quarterback such as West Virginia’s Geno Smith or Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib so high in the first round. New York is stuck with struggling Mark Sanchez, deemed a franchise quarterback when it took him at No. 5 overall in 2009. Sanchez has a big contract that includes $8.25 million in guaranteed money this year.
But with an eye on the future, the Jets might consider North Carolina State’s Mike Glennon or Florida State’s EJ Manuel in the second round.
“There are some quarterbacks in this draft that are going to play in this league (and) are going to start,” said Jeff Bauer, the Jets’ director of college scouting. “At the ninth (pick), we can’t say that (we will pick a quarterback).”
Either way, whatever Idzik does on his first draft night as an NFL general manager will go a long way toward setting up his tenure with the Jets.
“What happens is if you have a conviction as a staff, it goes back to the preparedness of your staff, if you have vetted out everything and researched it,” Idzik said. “You feel pretty confident when you go in there on draft day. It may differ from public opinion. It may differ from opinion around the league. It may differ from some draft experts, but that does not matter. The key thing is, collectively, you feel real good about a player.”
Smith … Nassib … Glennon … Manuel. Should the Jets try to draft one of these guys? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…
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