Jets close in on hiring Idzik as new GM

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson. (AP)
January 17, 2013, 11:36 PM

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — John Idzik was introduced Thursday as the New York Jets’ new general manager, replacing the fired Mike Tannenbaum.

The 52-year-old Idzik, formerly the Seahawks’ vice-president of football administration, insists that the Jets will "explore every measure to bring in talent and to compete." He adds that the NFL draft will be the team’s "lifeline."

Idzik, wearing a green and black checkered tie, was hired last Friday after a two-week search by the Jets that included 10 candidates. Idzik had been with the Seahawks the past six seasons after previously working in the front offices of Tampa Bay and Arizona.

Idzik’s primary strengths include managing salaries and the salary cap, but he has also worked in player personnel — a combination that attracted the Jets. Calling it a "very, very important day" for the team, owner Woody Johnson adds that Idzik has "the requisite" to help rebuild the team into a perennial playoff contender.

Idzik, who will have the final say on all personnel decisions, but he and Johnson often repeated that things will be a "collaborative" effort, which will include coach Rex Ryan.

"It will be the power of ‘we’ over ‘me,"’ Idzik said.

He will face immediate challenges with the Jets. He will have to make decisions on whether to keep quarterbacks Mark Sanchez, who is due $8.25 million in guarantees next season and would cost the Jets a $17.1 million cap hit if they cut him, and Tim Tebow, who is not expected back after one disappointing and unproductive season.

"We just need to take our time and evaluate Mark, along with everyone else," Idzik said.

New York is also about $19 million over the salary cap.

"I never saw the salary cap as a hindrance," said Idzik, adding that he’s confident the Jets can have "fruitful" off-season.

Neither he nor Johnson would definitively answer questions about a report that the Jets will explore trading star cornerback Darrelle Revis, who is recovering from a serious knee injury.

"I would never say anything about a trade or contract," Johnson said.

Revis, who has held out of training camp twice and nearly did again before last season, has a contract that voids after the 2013 season. The Jets also won’t be able to use the franchise or transition tag on him, so there’s some concern that the team won’t be able to re-sign and would prefer to get something back for him rather than lose him as a free agent next winter.

"I think it’s way premature to say anything specific," Idzik said.

Ryan has often called Revis the best defensive player in the NFL.

"I’m not going into any of those specifics right now," Ryan said. "Let’s let the process run its course."

At the team’s season-ending news conference, Johnson defended retaining Ryan, and said potential GM candidates would have to be willing to work with the coach. That setup — having a coach already in place for an incoming GM — was considered a possible drawback by some.

"I look at Rex Ryan as a very accomplished coach, energetic, optimistic and engaging — and he gets players to play hard," Idzik said. "I look forward to working with Rex Ryan. That, to me, was a plus."

The Jets have also been perceived by many fans and media as having a circuslike atmosphere because of the headlines the franchise seems to constantly make off the field, including trading for Tebow and Ryan’s tattoo of his wife in a Sanchez jersey.

"I don’t sense dysfunction or anything like that," Idzik said.

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