- Jane McManus, Reporter & Columnist, espnW.com
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Now that free agency is upon us, teams everywhere are considering which pieces to make a run for -- and which pieces to let slip away.
The Jets are cutting salary wherever they can, even shopping franchise player Darrelle Revis. Considering how much of a coupon-clipper billionaire Woody Johnson has become -- unsold PSL woes? -- maybe it’s time the Jets considered trading their owner for another one.
It’s not as if New York has a shortage of cigar-chomping, marble toilet-purchasing robber barons who would jump at the chance to own an NFL franchise. Owning a team -- even the Jets -- prints money faster than you can defer all your capital gains earnings, faster than you can wire untraceable funds to your bank in the Cayman Islands, faster than ... well, you get the idea.
Let’s take a look at some candidates:
Pros: The Dealmaker is all New York, from his famous negotiating pout to the high-rises on the West Side Highway. Trump is a sports fan -- he has had a luxury box at the U.S. Open, owns a zillion golf courses and was a Vince McMahon storyline in WWE. A few decades ago, he owned the USFL’s New Jersey Generals. It’s frankly amazing this guy doesn’t already have a professional franchise. Trump's bombastic tweeting style would keep the Jets in the headlines, and ultimately that makes him the perfect fit.
Cons: Trump may have destroyed the USFL by lobbying owners to play in the fall. His aggressive personality may not mesh with the other blue-blood NFL owners. He may be crazy but, even worse for the Jets, he may be a Patriots fan.
Pros: The current mayor of New York City may not want to purchase a New Jersey franchise, but Bloomberg has proved his management style can right troubled businesses. Bloomberg is not a fan of public financing for stadiums, but since MetLife Stadium was mostly privately financed, no worries there. Bloomberg could have the Jets in time for the 2014 Super Bowl in New York, and that would be a nice piece of synergy.
Cons: There’s no evidence for this, but you get the sense Bloomberg would like football better if it were played with dressage horses.
Pros: They already own New York franchises in the Knicks and Rangers. And Madison Square Garden. And Cablevision. The Knicks have actually been compelling for the past two seasons. The Rangers have retained an amazing franchise player in goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
Cons: The Dolans will never be beloved owners. They have also made more high-priced contract errors than Mike Tannenbaum (zing!). You might as well trade the Jets to the Wilpons. At least they signed David Wright.
Pros: The Facebook billionaire is only 28, but he could consolidate his wealth by buying an NFL franchise. Little-known fact is that Zuckerberg grew up in Westchester County, meaning he is likely familiar with the Jets' tumultuous history of not winning.
Cons: The personal details of every ticket holder would be made publicly available if they failed to update their privacy settings every three months.
KIM JONG UN
Pros: Admittedly, the leader of North Korea and son of the late Kim Jong Il is a wild-card owner, but look at it another way -- he has just come into a lot of money. A Russian owner has poured cash into the Nets, even if it isn’t paying off as of yet. Dennis Rodman could be lead negotiator between the Jets and Jong Un, which guarantees a good month of back pages and headlines as the hilarity ensues.
Cons: Foxborough would go to DEFCON 1.