How Long is Too Long for a Rebuilding Team?


Aug 24, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets general manager John Idzik, Jr (left) and New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese (right) exchange greetings prior to the game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

So, your team is in rebuilding mode. They need to get back on the winning track and start building through the draft. Year one has its ups and downs but the rookies seem to be progressing. In year two, a couple of key free agents are added as well as a 2nd draft class. What level of expectations do you have for a team in that situation? If you see incremental progress are you patient enough for year three? Four? Am I talking about the Jets? A little bit but this article is inspired by the constant rebuilds of the Mets and Islanders.

I was watching the NHL Draft on Friday (yes I realize I have no life) and was expecting the Islanders to package the number five pick in the draft and one of their many prospects to get a player who can help now. It never happened. They drafted two prospects that are very talented and might help the Islanders…in 2017. Yes, unlike the NFL or NBA, these players are not pro ready. They go through the minor leagues much like baseball players do. So General Manager Garth Snow will continue his rebuild that started in 2007. Yup 2007. Unless they spend in free agency, which hasn’t happened much as they are perennially at the cap floor, it will once again be up to unproven prospects to lead the way.

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The Mets have been rebuilding since Carlos Beltran decided not to swing against the Cardinals in the bottom of the 9th in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. The Wilpons were hit hard by the Madoff scandal as profit-makers who had to give a large amount of money back to the trustees, the uncertainty of the amount kept payroll down for a while. That issue has resolved for the most part and the Mets are still at a payroll of $85 million which won’t get it done, especially in New York. The Mets have loaded up on prospects, the only problem is that they are all starting pitchers. They don’t spend to fill their offensive or bullpen holes and the process repeats each year.

I’m out of patience with the Mets and Islanders. I want results or heads to roll at this point. Will I feel like that after this year with the Jets? Not if I see the young players improve and gel, that Geno Smith is capable of being a franchise quarterback and a winning record. If not, then sadly we will have a new head coach and quarterback and the respect John Idzik has gotten will turn to a very hot seat. It’s a big year for the Jets because it’s always a big year for the Jets. The fans demand success and won’t tolerate anything else for very long. Jets fans understand the rebuilding is a necessary evil but also that parity in the league shortens the time needed to reload. Success is demanded and that is the way it should be.