If there was any doubt before that New York Jets general manager John Idzik believes in building through the draft and not free agency, there certainly isn’t now. Idzik caused a minor panic attack among Jets fans on Day 1 of free agency by doing nothing other than signing kicker Nick Folk to a long term deal. The Jets watched Austin Howard leave for the Oakland Raiders on a high but not unreasonable 5-year, $30 million deal, and they sat quietly by as targets like Jairus Byrd, Alterraun Verner, Jon Asamoah and Vontae Davis found new homes (or the same one in Davis’ case).
What Idzik’s inactivity has proven is that he does not believe in making a big splash in free agency. He was part of the front office that build the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks through the draft, and he is going to try to do the same with the Jets. The Jets still have several key holes, and they are likely going to make a few moves in free agency. However, if yesterday’s activity is any indication, Jets fans should forget about guys like Eric Decker right now, let alone Darrelle Revis.
The Jets are rumored to be very interested in Michael Vick, which is just a horrible idea. They have also reached out to Zach Strief to replace Howard, and they figure to go after a No. 2 receiver and possibly a tight end. However, it looks like Jets fans will have to wait until the draft to see their team make some serious additions. Also, it does not appear that Idzik is in any rush to try to force last season’s surprise 8-8 team into the playoffs. He wants to build his roster the right way, and that takes time.
Jets fans will probably be frustrated by all this, but patience is the right course of action. Look around the league, and the best teams are almost exclusively built through the draft. The Seahawks lead the way, but teams like the San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers all focus heavily on the draft. Even teams like the Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints, who found their quarterback in free agency, put the key pieces around them through the draft. Jets fans were hoping Idzik would make use of all his cap space, but that isn’t his style, and that’s not a bad thing.