Back in November, an opinion item from Jets beat writer Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News seemed to be the first salvo in a power struggle between coach Rex Ryan and G.M. Mike Tannenbaum. Now, a report from Mehta regarding Ryan’s desire to be fired if changes aren’t made could be the final effort by Ryan to bring the situation to a head.
Look closely at Mehta’s latest item. While Ryan’s desire for owner Woody Johnson to spend money seems primarily to be confined to improving players and fixing a coaching staff that Rex effed up by hiring Tony Sparano to be the offensive coordinator, Ryan’s desire for change seems to sweep more broadly.
“The million-dollar question is how much dead money is Woody willing to absorb for 2013 with front office, coaches and players?” a league source familiar with the situation told Mehta.
This dovetails with Mehta’s prior editorial regarding the notion that Rex bears no blame for the current M-E-S-S (mess, mess, mess) because of a dearth of talent. Though Mehta danced around the notion that Tannenbaum necessarily is the problem, the conclusion was inescapable.
It’s now inescapable to conclude that Ryan wants Woody Johnson not only to buy out Sparano’s contract, but also Tannenbaum’s, which like Rex’s has two years left.
Actually, that’s a better outcome than demoting Tannenbaum and hiring a new G.M. Otherwise, the Jets would reach a new level of dyfunction, and if that dysfunction ultimately traces to a desire by Johnson to avoid paying someone for not working, he’ll be paying plenty of people and nothing will be working.
The next question becomes whether Tannenbaum will respond — and whether Johnson will react. Either way, a team that continues to generate headlines for all the wrong reasons will be generating plenty more, soon.