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Darrelle Revis will make his own decision whether he wants to be a Jet for life by the price he sets for his ongoing services. If Revis demands too much cap room to make sense to a new general manager who on Thursday said his entire inherited roster must be reevaluated, the Jets' best player will be gone at the end of next season because it won't make much sense to keep him.
So why would John Idzik, in a first press conference, be in any rush to soothe Jets Nation by proclaiming a commitment to a star coming off major knee surgery, and whose market value also is undergoing rehab? In his only real declaration of the day, Idzik said that on his watch the draft will be primary, and free agency usage judicious, which should apply to decisions whether to keep the Jets' own free agents as well.
Revis will be a Jet next year, the final one of his contract, because (a) he's not going to bring enough in a deal until he proves he still is worth as much as he thinks he is, (b) it will cost the Jets, who already don't have the cap room to fix all their problems, even more precious space in 2013 to deal him, and (c) he'll help win a few games this fall while Idzik positions the Jets toward the consistent long-term contention that was his and Woody Johnson's announced goal on Thursday.
"There is no timeline," said Johnson. "You have to have a really good vision of where you are going to go and how you are going to get there."
That means Idzik didn't get the job by selling Johnson on a quick fix. Good. Also, that the owner is smart enough not to expect one. Better. So while Revis on Thursday tweeted his disappointment that his poor fans have to endure terrible thoughts about a team without him, they are just going to have to suck it up and endure because the organization seems in it for a better, longer haul.
"I'm all for that!" Rex Ryan joked, or half-joked, when asked if he felt the gun had been removed from his head to make the playoffs next season. We're all for it, too, because hopefully it signals the end of an era in which the Jets, two seasons removed from consecutive AFC title games, stop chasing their tails and falling in love with players they have overvalued. That's how they ended up with a quarterback they can neither trust to put on the field nor afford to get rid of for another year.
Enter David Lee and Marty Mornhinweg to see what they can do for Mark Sanchez. Enter soon an experienced backup as a contingency should Sanchez continue to play as dumb in year 5 in the NFL as he did in year 4. And enter an era where — just a guess — you can expect Idzik to be trading down in drafts to acquire the volume of talent-on-the-rise the Jets need to get themselves turned around while better positioning themselves under the cap over the next few years.
"Consensus," "collaboration" and "power of we" were thrown up almost as much yesterday as Sanchez did footballs under duress. Because the GM took the job on condition of keeping the incumbent coach, this was not the standard introductory news conference proclaiming the standard clean slate. But these were buzzwords you expect to hear when it is too soon for the new guy to say anything meaningful about his immediate plans for a 6-10 squad.
Besides, as Idzik — in his best quote of the day — said, "It's not what we say but what we do that will really prove true." And the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth on the state of the Jets, looking back and forward, was best articulated by Bart Scott when he recently said the team's whole problem was that it didn't have enough talent.
So it would be reassuring to know that Idzik was the guy who watched and staked his reputation on Russell Wilson and Max Unger, not just the guy who went along with the Seahawks' braintrust consensus on them, then came up with a signing number. But the Jets are going to need better cap management, too, to position themselves for the consistent run of contention that is their announced goal.
This being New York, patience is in almost as short supply as talent on the Jets roster. There isn't a quarterback on the roster who can excel at the offense Rex suddenly is envisioning and that Mornhinweg ran in Philadelphia. After going one-and-done with the last offensive coordinator, the Jets are hiring one for the long haul with the expectation of eventually drafting players who can excel in a more wide-open scheme.
That may take a little while. So by next December the question may not only be will the Jets want to go on with Revis, but will he want to go on with them?