Jets correct to fire Tannenbaum, keep Ryan

December, 31, 2012
12/31/12
10:08
AM ET
Rex Ryan Kirby Lee/Image of Sport/USA TODAY SportsJets owner Woody Johnson, center, dismissed Mike Tannenbaum, right, but retained Rex Ryan.
The New York Jets are far from done. But their two initial moves were both correct.

New York fired embattled general manager Mike Tannenbaum and retained head coach Rex Ryan on Monday. This pair suffered back-to-back non-winning seasons in New York (6-10) -- and at least one had to pay for it.

Tannenbaum rightfully deserved a lion's share of the blame. He was most responsible for putting together a roster in New York that is old and overpaid.

But perhaps Tannenbaum's most unforgivable offense was putting the Jets well over the salary cap next year with questionable decisions. Tannenbaum was notorious for holding onto his players through struggles for too long. His recent $58.25 million contract extension of quarterback Mark Sanchez was a perfect example of Tannenbaum unwilling to admit past mistakes. The Jets owe the struggling Sanchez a guaranteed salary of $8.25 million next season. Tannenbaum also brought in quarterback Tim Tebow, which turned out to be a disaster.

Tannenbaum was not the right person for New York's upcoming rebuilding project. The Jets need a fresh pair of eyes to take a hard and honest look at New York's roster and make significant changes.

"Although he helped guide us to two consecutive AFC Championship games, we are not where we want to be," Jets owner Woody Johnson said of Tannenbaum in a statement. "A new general manager will be critical to getting this team back on the right track."

This is only the beginning for New York's offseason. The Jets need to find a starting-caliber quarterback, offensive skill players, depth, and now a new general manager.

It will take time to correct all that is wrong in New York. The next step is to find a new general manager who will co-exist well with Ryan and get the Jets headed back in the right direction.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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