Reasonable observers knew that the New York Jets needed to hit the reset button if they planned on building the team back up the right way. Lack of talent combined with a lack of salary cap space will do that to a franchise. That's exactly what the Jets did this offseason, refusing to spend on free agents, whether their own that eventually landed elsewhere or potential targets from other teams. Two signings the Jets did make, David Garrard and Mike Goodson, haven't panned out as of yet. David Garrard was forced to retire due to knee issues and Mike Goodson is tangled up in some off the field issues. Still, rookie general manager John Idzik defended his offseason on Thursday.
John Idzik didn't step into an easy job as general manager of the New York Jets. That's the way it works in the NFL, as most won't walk away from a good situation. It's a reclamation project, but not one without glimmers of hope and reminders of somewhat recent success. The Jets weren't in a position to make many big-time acquisitions this offseason, which put the moves they did make under a microscope. When two of the more notable signings of the offseason result in a retirement and an arrest, some questions are going to be raised.
The David Garrard signing was an attempt to bring in a veteran quarterback to join the open competition. David Garrard would have been able to provide a confident, veteran voice to the quarterback room, and if healthy could have been inserted into the lineup in a pinch. Of course, the fact that he hadn't played a game since 2010 due to injuries was a concern. The Jets took a chance, an inexpensive one, and David Garrard ended up retiring due to nagging knee issues.
Mike Goodson was seen as a signing with a lot of potential, and he still does have potential to be a big payoff at some point. The problem is that Mike Goodson had some red flags in the character department and poor decision-making led to him getting arrested a few weeks ago. With jail time possible, the signing has been criticized in hindsight.
What has been criticized is the process of deciding to make a signing. What kind of background work are the Jets doing if they are signing players with shaky injury histories and even shakier off the field conduct? John Idzik still believes in the team's approach to the David Garrard and Mike Goodson signings, as reported by Rich Cimini:
"We do our homework with respect to medical concerns and with respect to background checks," Idzik said. "We're in the human business. When you're dealing with that, there's unpredictability. There's always a degree of risk or unpredictability with what we do. We like to believe that, based on the information we gather, we take calculated risks with players."
John Idzik is right. There's risk involved with any athlete in any sport. The Jets aren't feeling any real hit from the David Garrard in terms of money, only what David Garrard could have provided on the field and in the meeting room. Were there other options available that could offer that? Not really. Mike Goodson will be a hit to the wallet if things end up going against him in his pending case, but there have been some indicators that the arrest probably won't impact him to the point of the Jets really being burned. Even if he does experience some on-field setback, the team isn't destitute at running back with Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight.
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