Jets' descent continues with Revis trade

Jets' descent continues with Revis trade
April 22, 2013, 12:45 pm
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It really wasn’t that long ago that the New York Jets were being credited with creating a new way of winning football.
Following the lead of their cartoon coach -- chests puffed and chins out -- the Jets had a swagger. They had fun. They weren’t corporate and uptight and afraid of the consequences if they told you they were going to kick your ass. Mainly because they actually did it.
Why couldn’t more teams be like that?
For two heady years the Jets were very good. They went to back-to-back AFC Championship games in Rex Ryan’s first two seasons. They were every bit the daunting divisional rival to the Patriots that Ryan promised they’d be.
But style trumped substance and swagger turned to stagger and in the past two seasons, the Jets have gone from a team that was laughed with to one that is laughed at.
On Sunday, they traded away their best player, Darrelle Revis, to Tampa Bay. There’s a word for teams that trade away their best players in exchange for draft picks when the rest of the team is already in tough shape.
That word is "rebuilding."
The Jets didn’t arrive at this place solely because of Ryan, though. It took a village of idiotic decisions at the personnel level to get them there. Some of those were at Ryan’s behest, certainly. (If Ryan didn’t spend so much time touting Revis as the best defender in football, would Revis have had his annual contract bitchfest?) But the contracts negotiated by ex-GM Mike Tannenbaum -- three years and $40 million to Mark Sanchez, five years and $45 million to Santonio Holmes, six years and $48 million to Bart Scott, for instance -- left the Jets in such a state of financial disarray that when Tannenbaum was fired this offseason, several GM candidates turned down Jets overtures to replace him because of the chore the team would face in ripping down the roster and renovating it.
The Jets need more than a Suze Orman financial fix, though. They need a system reboot so that decisions made with an eye toward making a public splash (acquiring Tim Tebow, for example) become extinct, and the only concern is in how a player impacts the roster and the product on the field.
Despite the belief in those early days of the Ryan Regime that there was a new football order, the New York Jets weren’t built to last. They were built to crash.
Whether the trading of Revis represents another inch toward impact, a bottoming out or a little bit of bounce, only time will tell.
But the answer to that oft-posed question from 2009 and 2010, “Why can’t the Patriots and Bill Belichick be more like the Jets and Rex Ryan?” has now been answered categorically.
The circus only stays in one town for a little while.