FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Another .500 season isn't going to cut it, as far as Woody Johnson is concerned. The New York Jets' owner didn't issue a playoffs-or-bust mandate, but he made it clear Wednesday he expects progress in 2014.
"Eight-and-eight was good, but I wasn't satisfied," Johnson told reporters at the team's mandatory minicamp. "I'm not satisfied unless we go further than that."
The Jets are mired in the longest playoff drought of Johnson's ownership -- three years. The team made the playoffs in six of his first 11 years as the boss, so this has to be a painful stretch for him. Remember, Johnson indicated at the league meetings in March that he's tired of being patient. The Jets overachieved last season, becoming a feel-good story with a strong finish, but there are no medals for trying, as Bill Parcells once said.
Pressed by reporters, Johnson refused to be drawn into setting specific goals for the team. He wouldn't say if he considers this a playoff-caliber team, and he wouldn't say if progress will be judged solely on the win-loss column. He acknowledged that four years is an eternity in the NFL, but he wouldn't say if a four-year playoff drought would be too much to swallow.
Asked if he believes the current team is better than the one that finished with a season-ending win in Miami, Johnson said, "Absolutely, but that's not unique. I feel like that every year."
One of the most-asked questions by fans is the inordinate amount of salary-cap space -- about $21 million. The Jets are among the league leaders in cap room, prompting many to wonder, "Why not spend more money?" Johnson said he didn't tell general manager John Idzik to limit spending.
"No, John is using the cash he has," Johnson said. "He has obligations going forward, as you guys know" -- a reference to the NFL's minimum-spending rule. "It's really trying to find the best fit and the best value for the team, not just wantonly spending in free agency. Our culture is one of building ourselves. We'd rather take a player from the draft and mold him into what our culture is and have him be a Jet for us. That’s our ideal. Obviously, we got Eric Decker, we got some very good free agents, but we’re not just looking to spend money. We want to make sure it’s value and it’s a good fit for us."
Scholarship winners: The Jets, in conjunction with New York's Public School Athletic League, announced two $5,000 scholarship winners -- Sarah De Jesus and Mohamed Koanda, both of whom hail from the Bronx. The winners were selected based on performance in athletics and the classroom.