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Woody Johnson began repairing his wayward franchise by hiring Seattle Seahawks executive John Idzik as the Jetsâ new general manager on Friday.
Idzik has the arduous task of fixing a team with a thin roster, a slew of salary-cap hurdles, a quarterback dilemma and a polarizing head coach who could be a lame duck.
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âAfter a thorough search in which we met many qualified and outstanding candidates, it was clear to me that John was the right choice,â Johnson said in a statement released by the Michael Kors Outlet Jets. âDuring his two decades in the NFL, John helped build a Super Bowl championship team in Tampa Bay, an NFC championship team in Arizona and, most recently, a team in Seattle that narrowly missed reaching the NFC Championship Game.
âJohn has seen firsthand whatâs necessary to construct a winning team and has worked with some of the most innovative and successful coaches in the NFL, including Michael Kors Outlet Pete Carroll, Tony Dungy, Dennis Green, Jon Gruden and Mike Holmgren. Drawing on 20 years of NFL experience, John, working with Rex (Ryan), will get the Jets where all of us want to be.â
Nearly three weeks after the regular season ended, Johnson chose Idzik, whose expertise lies in contract negotiations and salary-cap navigation rather than scouting and personnel.
Idzik, 52, will have final say on personnel matters, not Ryan. The Jetsâ head coach, however, will have authority to rebuild his staff, which lost nine coaches in the past three weeks. To that end, the Jets will hire Marty Mornhinweg, who was part of the coaching purge with the Eagles, as the new offensive coordinator, according to a source. Mornhinweg will replace Tony Sparano, who was fired after one season.
The prevailing thought was that the Jets, whose paper-thin roster was exposed during their 6-10 season after injuries to key players, would pick a GM with a scouting-centric background, but Johnson opted for a candidate whose traits were similar to those of the recently fired Mike Tannenbaum.
However, Idzik, who was the Seahawksâ vice president of football administration, isnât a Tannenbaum clone. He played football at Dartmouth before coaching two years as a college assistant. A source who knows Idzik called him âsmart, honest (and) toughâ and told The News that he was on the college scouting trail this season for Seattle.
âI am eager to get started building on the foundation that is already in place,â Idzik said in a statement.
Another source who worked with Idzik during his 11-year tenure with the Buccaneers said Idzik routinely watched game film with coaches and the personnel department to better grasp the teamâs roster. However, thatâs no substitute for extensive field scouting.
Early in the search process, Jets were preparing an offer for Falconsâ personnel guru David Caldwell, who was one of three candidates to get a second interview, before he chose the Jaguars GM job. Caldwell had requested a $1 million housing allowance, according to the team.
In all, the Jets interviewed 10 candidates, including three former NFL GMs â Jerry Angelo, Randy Mueller and Ted Sundquist â the 49ersâ Tom Gamble, the Giantsâ Marc Ross and the Dolphinsâ Brian Gaine.
Johnson, team president Neil Glat and executive search firm head Jed Hughes were present for all the interviews, while Ira Akselrad, the president of the Johnson Companies and an adviser to the owner, was there for most of Michael Kors Outlet Online them.
Idzik, who was a part of the Jetsâ expanded search, and Steelers executive Omar Khan were the two finalists. Idzik flew in from Seattle for a second interview on Wednesday before negotiations began on Thursday.
Idzik Michael Kors Outlet Online will rely on consensus- building when evaluating Michael Kors Outlet Online Store talent. There will not be an overhaul of the personnel department, but some changes could be made, according to a source.
Idzik shared philosophies with Ryan during his second phase of interviewing, but Michael Kors Outlet the head coach wasnât part of the final evaluation process. Idzik will inherit Ryan for at least one season, as Johnson indicated to all the candidates.
It will ultimately be Idzikâs job to reshape the roster to further the organizationâs long-term efforts.
The Jets are nearly $20 million over the salary cap, but expected moves such as cutting Bart Scott, Calvin Pace and Jason Smith will put them under the max value. Idzik will make more cuts and likely restructure some contracts to re-set the team during this rebuilding process.
The Seahawksâ recent history suggests that they arenât shy about making trades, either.
One of the first orders of business for Idzik will be to determine how to handle the quarterback situation that helped derail Ryanâs team. Mark Sanchezâs contract â he has an $8.25 million guaranteed base salary in 2013 â will make it extremely difficult to trade him.
The Jets will almost certainly bring in a signal-caller to compete with Sanchez. Seahawks GM John Schneider made it clear that heâs willing to entertain offers for Matt Flynn, who has become expendable in the wake of Russell Wilsonâs rise.
Idzik will also have to make a definitive decision on Tim Tebow, who provided more headlines than production in his first season with the Jets.
Jetsâ brass was impressed by Idzikâs vision for the franchise.
Now, itâs time to turn those ideas into action.
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