New York Jets: The Task Ahead for Mike Maccagnan
Jan 21, 2015; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets new general manager Mike Maccagnan speaks during a press conference at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com via USA TODAY Sports
Heading into 2015 free agency the Jets will have nothing less than a boatload of money to play with. While criticized for his frugality, John Idzik left this team in a position to quickly turnover a roster and rebuild the team for the future. This, of course, came at the cost of a terrible on field product for the Jets and Idzik’s job, now the new guy has a golden opportunity and all the tools he needs to put a good Jets team on the field moving forward.
Next: Parity in the NFL
Oct 5, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; New York Jets tackle Breno Giacomini (68) and guard Willie Colon (66) and wide receiver Greg Salas (17) line up during the fourth quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Building a successful NFL team for a period of time is a very delicate balancing act. A front office has to balance budget, player talent, as well as other factors like the brief window of time most players have in the league, probability of injury just to name a few and locker room presence just to name a few. The salary cap is one of the tools used to ensure parity in the NFL. All teams spend similar amounts of money so the talent level remains close across the league. One poorly conceived mega contract can cripple a team because of this.
Next: Unwise Spending
Dec 7, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New York Jets running back Chris Ivory (33) rushes against the Minnesota Vikings in the second quarter at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings win 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Last year the Jets spent just over $27 million on the offensive line, third most in the league behind the Browns and the Eagles. However, on the field this unit was far from third best in the league ranking 29th in penalties and never really opening up the running lanes. Some will point out that the Jets finished third in rushing offense in the NFL as proof to the contrary, but any Jets fan that watched the games will tell you this was not so much due to the line as it was to Chris Ivory’s hard running style. Furthermore, the line became a liability in the passing game, not that the Jets boasted a stellar passing attack to begin with, but the line did not give it much of a chance at redemption.
Next: Battle in the Trenches
Nov 2, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; New York Jets guard Willie Colon (66) and center Nick Mangold (74) on the line of scrimmage during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 24-10. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
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In my opinion football is won and lost in the trenches; winning the point of attack up front sets up a team to control the tempo of the game. Moving forward the Jets will need to clean up the o-line in order to remain competitive against increasingly effective defensive linemen, and while the Jets have plenty of money to spend, they should avoid overspending for a mediocre product at best. This is yet another example of Idzik’s work, while he left a lot of money on the table and didn’t go after needed free agents, he also failed to pay a reasonable price for a specific product.
The Jets and new GM Mike Maccagnan will need to find balance, they don’t need to spend the least on the line, and they don’t need to have the best line in the league. Deficiencies in an offensive line can be hidden through scheming, but only to a certain extent.