By Kristian Dyer
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Please feel free to check the missing persons report for John Idzik’s name Saturday morning. Friday’s blockbuster trade flies against nearly every personnel transaction he’s made to date.
The New York Jets general manager must have gone out for lunch at the team’s practice facility on Friday afternoon and never come back, because the trade with the Seattle Seahawks that netted his team wide receiver Percy Harvin looks nothing like one of his moves. Idzik, if he did pull the trigger on this move, acknowledges with the trade for Harvin that his Jets team not only needed a playmaker but was devoid of talent.
Outside of the signing of wide receiver Eric Decker, this past offseason was borderline horrific. It failed to address needs at cornerback and offensive line as well as at the skills positions. This move on Friday to get Harvin, a true playmaker with the ball in his hands, addresses one of those needs.
And it underscores that those needs were there in the first place. Why? Because of Idzik’s poor offseason. He made this trade not because he had some vision. Idzik made this trade because his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad offseason made this a necessity.
Go ahead and commend him for the trade, but this should have been done months before.
Harvin is a huge gamble by the Jets, a player with incredible talent but a long history of injuries. It was a good trade, and that it was a conditional pick sent to Seattle makes it an intelligent roll of the dice. But if Idzik had done his job in the spring, the Jets wouldn’t be in this mess.
The Jets largely ignored the wide receiver position in free agency. Besides Decker, Jacoby Ford was signed then cut by the end of training camp, deemed not talented enough to make a weak group of receivers. In the draft, the Jets waited till the middle rounds to address their needs at the position. They cut one wide receiver, have placed one on injured reserve and have yet to activate the other one for a game this year. That’s not exactly the draft “lifeline” Idzik promised when he was hired last January.
That would be two swings and two misses for Idzik as he failed in free agency and the draft to properly address the gaping holes at WR. He needs to hope that Harvin can turn this thing around.
Harvin is a playmaker with the ball in his hands, an asset on special teams and someone who makes an offense instantly more dangerous by his very presence. But the Jets needed a Harvin-esque threat on the field at the start of training camp and not in the middle of a season that currently stands at 1-6.
This trade, if it works, will see Idzik take the lion’s share of the credit. It also will show that he ignored this team’s greatest need to the detriment of their playoff hopes.
Say that Harvin comes in and helps the Jets offense, adding some sizzle to two phases of their game. The Jets rattle off six wins in their final nine games, another season that ends pointed in the right direction. There is a feelgood vibe to the season then, a team that finishes at 7-9 in this scenario has overcome plenty early on to finish on the upswing.
But the true feeling should be anguish for Jets fans in this situation, knowing that Harvin or a talent like him could have helped this team immensely from the get-go.
Imagine if the Jets had Harvin or had signed (or drafted) a player with a similarly exciting skill set, someone who would have been on the roster come Week 1. With more offensive firepower, do the Jets concede a 21-3 lead in Green Bay to the Packers or lose by eight points or less in subsequent weeks to the Chicago Bears or the Detroit Lions? Do they, with a little more oomph on offense, lose Thursday night’s game at the New England Patriots? Harvin could have been the difference in that 27-25 loss.
We will never know, and head coach Rex Ryan might suffer an untimely fate if this season ends without a playoff appearance. But the Jets’ season and Ryan’s future could have been so different if Idzik had done this sooner.
It’s once again a case of too little, too late from the Jets general manager.
Kristian R. Dyer is the Jets’ beat reporter for Metro New York and contributes to Yahoo! Sports as well as WFAN. He can be followed on Twitter @KristianRDyer.
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