Anytime I'm about to give Rex more credit than he deserves, I look at these numbers since he took over in 2009:
First, that's a seriously great post. So great it nearly convinced me. But upon further review, it's missing probably the most important factor when evaluating personnel moves and on-field results - the cap.
Certainly, Mangini's tenure set the stage for the Jets early success under Ryan - the draft record is mighty impressive. Of course, it didn't actually translate to wins under Mangini but did, immediately, with Ryan. And the success of those teams (and specifically, those defenses) under Ryan was due in large part to the acquisitions of guys like Bart Scott, Jim Leonhard and Kris Jenkins (among others). Players that Ryan undoubtedly had a hand in targeting and procuring, based on his relationships with them in Baltimore and/or reputation in the league.
Which returns me to Tannenbaum, cap expert. Tannenbaum was not a personnel guy, he was a cap guy. And yet under his tenure, the Jets cap was consistently stretched and encumbered by stupid deals. The David Harris extension - to avoid the well-beaten horse of the Sanchez contract - is especially illuminating, given it arrived before Harris' old deal was due to expire and because it overpaid a good, but not great player. Culpability for the bungled Revis situation also belongs to either Tannenbaum or Woody - or both - with little to no responsibility assigned to Ryan. Take away any team's best player and see what happens to the team stats. The Jets defense "died" statistically when Revis was lost...so thanks for posting those numbers that definitively prove it.
But really, any discussion of the Jets cap (and really, any discussion of the Jets) concerns Sanchez. His ridiculous extension crippled the team these past two seasons. both because of his performance and non-performance and because it prevented the Jets from filling in the roster with capable contributors. For all the questions about what role Ryan had in the "Sanchez is our guy" saga, it was Tannenbaum's cap mismanagement that eroded the team's statistical performances these past two seasons. We Patriot fans have had considerable fun at the Jets expense regarding their paper thin roster but doesn't that paper thin roster also undermine the team's performance? It certainly accounts for some of the slide SSF is documenting above.
And they aren't really done digging out of the wreckage that was the Mike Tannenbaum Era. They'll have a dead money charge for Sanchez in 2014 when he's released; they'll have dead money in both 14 & 15 if they choose to designate him a June 1 cut. I love this site
because it has all the data I need to make this argument - just look at the dead money column and the staggering amount of players who, even if cut
, didn't help the Jets create cap space. They had $23M in dead money on the 2013 cap and $12.8M tied up in Sanchez, for a staggering total of $36M+ in useless 2013 cap spending. By contrast, the Raiders suffered through 2013 with an "unprecedented" $49M in dead money
to wrap up the end of the Al Davis Era and they were treated like a SuperFund site being cleaned up by NFL media and fans - it's bad, but it'll get better. Because the Raiders are looking at $69M in cap space for 2014 (projected 2014 cap is $126.3M
). The Jets can get to ~$30M in cap space by whacking Sanchez, Holmes, Cromartie and others. Of course, that means the WR depth chart goes from "awful" to "nonexistent" and they cut their "best" CB.
I think that Ryan deserves some criticism on the selection of groceries - how much has always been the question. But often left out of this analysis is that while other teams had a "full" budget, the Jets have been trying to shop with a budget that starts at ~$20M less than everyone else. Because of Tannenbaum's penchant for structuring contracts with bonuses
that ballooned into onerous cap hits, the Jets have had less talent available for the coach to use than they would have if Tannenbaum was actually a "cap expert". Add in the Sanchez debacle and the Revis contract/injury/divorce...and you've got a head coach who overcame lots of obstacles despite a sliding statistical performance.