The moment news broke of a supposed multi-year extension between the Jets and coach Rex Ryan, I smelled a one-year Band-Aid. (Not to be confused with a one-year-old Band-Aid, which has an entirely different aroma.)
Based on the report from Brian Costello of the New York Post, that’s exactly what it is. With no guaranteed money beyond 2015, the Jets have made Rex an on-deck-lame-duck while trying to create the impression that he’s the long-term answer at the coaching position.
He’s not. At least not yet. Since the lame-duck approach generally is frowned upon (especially for teams in major media markets), the Jets needed to create the impression that Rex isn’t a lame duck. But since a one-year Band-Aid extension would have looked like the Jets simply trying to make Rex look not like a lame duck, the addition of non-guaranteed years — trumpeted via leak to a reporter with nearly 2.7 million Twitter followers who said it ties the two sides together for at least three years — creates the impression that the Jets have bought Rex Ryan for the long haul.
They didn’t. Rex is still coaching for his job in 2014, just like he was in 2013. If the Jets decide to fire him, they’ll owe him for one year of not coaching, which is what they would have owed him if Rex had been fired on the most recent Black Monday.
Rex benefits from the perception that he isn’t coaching for his job in 2014 like in 2013, even if the reality is that he’s coaching for his job in 2014 like in 2013. But why not simply take the one-year Band-Aid deal? As it now stands, Rex has no security — and no leverage. If he does well the next two years, the Jets own his rights. If he does poorly in 2014, he has one year of salary as a safety net.
The Rex Ryan best known for brashness and bravado would have said to hell with appearances and taken the one-year Band-Aid deal. Better yet, he would have gone all in with one year left on his contract, betting on the kind of performance in 2014 that would have made him an attractive free-agent head coach.
We’re not saying Rex made a bad decision. The Jets provided him with a sizable bird in the hand by extending the guaranteed portion of his deal by a year. But Rex being Rex would have told the Jets to jam their phony long-term deal sideways and taken his chances with either a one-year extension or no extension at all.