Idzik doesn't provide answers in Jets' debut
Florham Park, N.J. - John Idzik's first day at the New York Jets' facility was filled with lots of handshakes, plenty of questions - and not many answers.
The new general manager isn't ready for any of that yet. So, decisions on the futures of key players such as Darrelle Revis, Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow will have to wait a bit.
"I'm literally hours into the building," Idzik said Thursday at his introductory news conference. "That, we're going to save for our evaluation process."
The 52-year-old Idzik, Seattle's ex-vice president of football administration, was formally introduced as the replacement for the fired Mike Tannenbaum after being hired last Friday. With owner Woody Johnson, team president Neil Glat and coach Rex Ryan sitting in the front row, Idzik didn't delve into specifics but rather spoke about his broad vision for the franchise he is now charged with resuscitating.
"It will be based on a collaborative effort," said Idzik, wearing an appropriate green and black checkered tie. "It will be inclusive, well thought out and well researched. And, it will be the power of "we."'
After traveling from Seattle to Mobile, Ala., where he attended Senior Bowl workouts with Ryan and several other members of the Jets' staff, and finally to New Jersey, Idzik joked that he didn't know what day or time it was anymore. It has been that kind of whirlwind week for Idzik, who still managed to sneak in a congratulatory message to his parents celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary.
"We'll explore every measure to bring in talent and continue to compete," Idzik said. "The draft will be very important to us. That will be a lifeline for us, year in and year out. We'll use free agency and we'll be very thoughtful, do our research and be judicious in free agency. We'll use trades, we'll use waiver claims, work from our practice roster and have numerous tryouts throughout the year in search of guys who play like a Jet."
Idzik, hired last Friday after a two-week search by the Jets that included 10 candidates, had been with the Seahawks the past six seasons after previously working in the front offices of Tampa Bay and Arizona. His primary strengths include managing salaries and the salary cap, but he has also worked in player personnel - a combination that attracted the Jets.
Idzik, who will have the final say on all personnel decisions, will face immediate challenges. Such as whether to keep Sanchez, due $8.25 million in guarantees next season; Sanchez would cost the Jets a $17.1 million cap hit if they cut him, And what to do with 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.
Sanchez struggled mightily in 2012, and will be working with his third offensive coordinator in as many seasons as Marty Mornhinweg replaced the fired Tony Sparano. Ryan confirmed Sanchez is talking with former quarterback Jeff Garcia to help him pick up Mornhinweg's offense.
Neither Idzik nor Johnson would answer questions about a report the owner will explore trading Revis, who is recovering from a serious knee injury.
"I would never say anything about a trade or contract," Johnson said, neither confirming nor denying the report was true.
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 can't use the franchise or transition tag on him - they agreed to that clause in the current deal. So there's some concern the team won't be able to re-sign Revis and would prefer to get something back for him rather than lose him as a free agent next winter.
An angry Revis took to Twitter on Thursday afternoon, saying he was "speechless" about the trade rumors but was "more upset for the jet nation for having to go through this!!!" The cornerback also added: "I guess we'll see how this plays out."
New York is also about $19 million over the salary cap, which could appear daunting for a new general manager.
"I never saw the salary cap situation here as a hindrance," said Idzik, adding that he's confident the Jets can have "fruitful" offseason. "It's something you research, pore through and evaluate."
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. Having a coach already in place for an incoming GM was considered a possible drawback by some.
"I look forward to working with Rex Ryan," Idzik said. "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: trading for Tebow, Ryan's tattoo of his wife in a Sanchez jersey to name just a few.
"There seems to be a lot of misperceptions," Idzik said. "I don't sense dysfunction or anything like that."
Idzik, a native of Detroit, graduated magna cum laude from Dartmouth in 1982 and played wide receiver for the Big Green. He and wife Carol have a daughter and two sons, including Bradley, a sophomore wide receiver at Wake Forest. Idzik's father John was the Jets' offensive coordinator from 1976-79.
"Football," Idzik said, "is at the root of who I am."
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