They don’t call it “Black Monday” in the NFL for nothing.
Many NFL head coaches, coordinators and general managers have gotten the axe today, and after a disappointing 6-10 season that saw them clinch a top ten draft pick, the New York Jets have seen one of their own go as well.
Jets owner Woody Johnson has announced the firing of general manager Mike Tannenbaum after seven seasons at the helm, a move that unfortunately became necessary after one too many high-risk moves blew up.
Tannenbaum was at times shrewd, at times bold, and at times bit off a little more than he could chew. But for all of his successes, it’s his blunders that will be remembered in the immediate wake of his dismissal.
He had his share of brilliant moves, like the trading up for and drafting of star cornerback Darrelle Revis, and his handling of Revis’s contract holdout of 2010, as well as the unique team-friendly structure of his new contract.
Tannenbaum and his scouting department also drafted Pro Bowl players Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson, as well as promising young defensive linemen Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples.
The Jets have had the fewest amount of draft selections from 2007 on, thanks to Tannenbaum’s aggressive style, acquiring guys like Antonio Cromartie, Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes for draft picks.
However, the Jets also found some key contributors as undrafted free agents during Tannenbaum’s tenure, like Mike DeVito, Garrett McIntyre, Nick Bellore and Isaiah Trufant.
In the end though, it was Tannenbaum’s mistakes and miscalculations that cost him his job.
The contract extension for Mark Sanchez last off-season was unnecessary and puzzling at the time, and it only looks worse in hindsight. It essentially handcuffed them to Sanchez for another season, which could be disastrous.
Bringing in Tim Tebow went as badly as predicted, and the inability to equip Rex Ryan with competent offensive talent at the skill positions was ultimately the downfall of the Tannenbaum era.
Rex Ryan’s job is safe, barring something unexpected, and a new GM will be tasked with rebuilding a Jets offense that’s been anywhere from below average to flat-out awful for most of the past decade.
It’s not going to be an easy task for the next GM of the Jets to come in and turn the Jets back into the perennial playoff contender they expected to be at the start of Ryan’s coaching tenure.
The Jets have questions at nearly every position on the offense, as well as safety, linebacker and special teams.
However, there are also players to build around, like Mangold, Wilkerson, Coples, Revis and Cromartie.
The Jets won’t be an easy fix, but they’re far from a lost cause.
Mike Tannenbaum ends his tenure with a 57-55 regular season record, along with a 4-3 record in the postseason.
I, for one, hope he lands on his feet somewhere. He wasn’t perfect, but he was far from awful as general managers go. He made some ill-advised moves, and some good ones. It just wasn’t enough to bring home the ultimate prize.
Hopefully 2013 will bring happier times. For the Jets and their fans, it can’t come soon enough.