Some teams have spent lavishly in NFL free agency, but New York Jets GM John Idzik has taken a more diligent approach. While it may bode well for the Jets’ future, it may not bode quite as well for Rex Ryan.
I’m a big fan of Rex Ryan. I hope to see him as head coach of the Jets for years to come. But he’ll be the first to tell you that he needs to do better in 2013, after a couple of disappointing seasons each of the last two years.
Once the offseason began, the Jets wasted little time cutting ties with overvalued veterans. After biding his time for a bit, Idzik made some shrewd signings in free agency, with inexpensive deals that could pay dividends.
The truth is, the Jets are not in the business of trying to win the 2013 offseason, so to speak. Freeing up the salary cap for 2014 and beyond is part of the bigger picture, as the Jets look to build a true perennial contender.
But the question remains, is Rex Ryan going to stick around long enough to see the Jets turn it around?
It’s rare for a GM to keep around a coach that he didn’t hire himself, especially one who hasn’t won a Super Bowl. But it’s happened before. The Pittsburgh Steelers did it with Kevin Colbert and Bill Cowher, for one.
Ryan is under contract for the next two seasons, so it wouldn’t be fair to call him a “lame duck” coach. But make no mistake about it, he’s going to have to earn the trust of his new GM. The easiest way to do that is to win.
The Jets aren’t going to put the pressure on Ryan to make an immediate return to the playoffs in 2013, especially with a roster overhaul that could see upwards of 15 new starters combined on both sides of the ball.
However, it’s clear that Ryan will need to overachieve with a young, unproven roster in order to prove to Idzik and team owner Woody Johnson that he’s the right man to lead the Jets for the foreseeable future.
What Ryan could really use is a rookie class from the 2013 NFL Draft that can come in and make an immediate positive impact this upcoming season. With seven picks at their disposal, that’s not utterly impossible.
Of course, that’s much easier said than done. It would be foolish to expect seven NFL-ready starters from a rookie draft class, but that doesn’t mean that the Jets can’t find key contributors all throughout draft weekend.
Rex Ryan is as good as it gets when it comes to putting together a defense, and at the end of the day, he could probably coach the Jets to a top defense even with seven or eight new starters in the 11-man base defense.
With Marty Mornhinweg coaching the offense, a veteran coordinator with head coaching experience, Ryan can finally feel comfortable about delegating offensive responsibilities for the first time in his Jets career as well.
The Jets may be in transition in 2013, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be a competitive team with a winning record if things break right. A productive rookie class would sure go a long way. Rex Ryan would certainly agree.