Note to Woody Johnson: Cut Ties with Mike Tannenbaum


Sep 25, 2011; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Jets owner Woody Johnson (center), coach Rex Ryan (left) and general manager Mike Tannenbaum on the sidelines before the game against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

It looks like they are looking to the heavens, trying to figure out what to do, doesn’t it? Sometimes it’s tough to figure out, especially when you have as loyal a group that you seen in that picture to the right. Woody Johnson, Mike Tannenbaum, and Rex Ryan have been here a while now, and are loyal to each other.

But it’s a winning business, and when you don’t win, change has to be made. Mike Tannenbaum has been here a long time, actually pre-dating Woody Johnson. Mike was brought into the organization as a cap guy in 1997 by Bill Parcells. As we all know, Mike has remained in the organization in various positions, until becoming the general manager in 2006. Needless to say, it has been an up and down ride with Tanny as the GM, with some highs (AFC title games), and lows (the last two years).

Following the game on Sunday, we begin to hear rumors that owner Woody Johnson is beginning to look for GM replacements. This news obviosly set Jets fans off to rejoice. We can finally get rid of Mike and get a good talent evaluator in the building, we all thought. We are still thinking that, but yesterday the search news came with a caveat that nobody was happy with. That caveat being that Woody would like to keep Mike Tannenbaum in the organization in a lesser role, such as managing the salary cap.

Note to Woody Johnson:…..BAD IDEA! We must get rid of all ties with Mike Tannenbaum if anyone really wants to have hope for change. Let’s talk about it.

First of all, you have to look at it from the potential new GM’s perspective. Think about it, if you were hired to do a job, but the guy you were replacing was still going to be around, would you take that job? Probably not. You certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable in that job if you took it. Why would Bill Polian, for example, come here, if the Jets are going to keep Mike Tannenbaum in the fold? Why not just stay with ESPN? A general manager has to have the full autonomy to make decisions about this roster for anything to change. Nobody is going to feel that they have completed autonomy if Mike Tannenabum is a few offices away. If you want a new GM, you must get rid of the old one. Be done with it.

Oct. 8, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum walks on the sidelines before the game against the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Mills/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

Think about the direction of the team as well. The direction of a team, in large part, comes from the general manager. He is the final voice when it comes to roster decisions, so he must have a clear vision of what a team should look like. He must be free and clear of other influences, and have the freedom to get on the same page with the head coach. If Mike Tannenbaum is lurking in the background, this cannot happen. How can the GM feel free to formulate a plan, if the guy with the old plan is sitting right behind him? He can only feel that he will be overruled into the Jets plan from previous years. Why would anyone jump into that situation? They wouldn’t.

When a guy that is no longer the GM still has a voice with the owner, the potential for undercutting will always be there. How does a new GM know that if Tanny doesn’t like something, he isn’t going to the owner behind his back? This has happened before, when Mets players were going to the front office, bypassing the chain of command. How did that work out for them? Very, very badly, that’s how. The general manager has to manage a staff, and must feel comfortable with that staff. How can he do that if he can be undercut so easily?

Finally, why would you want to bring this guy back to work on the salary cap? Why do the Jets have problems next year? THE SALARY CAP! Who signed those deals? TANNENBAUM!! Thanks to the contracts owed Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes, the Jets have a rough go of it moving forward with regards to the salary cap. It’s going to take some fancy footwork by this front office to give the Jets a chance with the cap as we move ahead. Do we really want the guy fixing it, to be the guy that screwed it up to begin with? Heck no. Cap expert? I think “cap novice” would be the furthest I could go with the description.

Woody has the right idea to start looking for a new general manager. But now, take it all the way through by cutting ties with the old one. Do it. It has to be done.