FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (USATODAY.com) - Rex Ryan stays. Mike Tannenbaum goes.
That's the verdict for the New York Jets, who announced Monday morning they're keeping their head coach but parting with the general manager responsible for weak drafts in recent years, some questionable decisions on contracts given to Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes and, ultimately, the failed Tim Tebow experiment.
"Mike devoted 15 years of service to the Jets, and I want to thank him for his hard work and dedication," owner Woody Johnson said in a statement.
"Although he helped guide us to two consecutive AFC Championship Games, we are not where we want to be, and a new general manager will be critical to getting this team back on the right track."
Ryan, who is 34-30 in four regular seasons with the Jets but 14-18 in the last two, will get another crack. His postseason mark of 4-2, with those two runs to the conference championship games Johnson mentioned, is a big reason he's still employed.
"I believe that he has the passion, the talent, and the drive to successfully lead our team," Johnson said.
Ryan will surely have to make some changes to his coaching staff. Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, who walked away from reporters in a huff after Sunday's loss to the Buffalo Bills, could be one and done with the team. Recent reports stated defensive coordinator Mike Pettine turned down a contract extension this season. Special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff has said he will retire.
The incoming GM will have to do some masterful work to get this team out of the salary issues Tannenbaum created. The Jets owe Sanchez $8.25 million guaranteed in 2013. Holmes is due $7.5 million. And then, there's cornerback Darrelle Revis, who could push for a new deal despite coming off a torn ACL. Tannenbaum was quoted as saying the contract extension the team gave Revis in 2010 was "an intermediate step," or a "Band-Aid," as Revis called it.
"Like all Jets fans, I am disappointed with this year's results," Johnson said. "However, I am confident that this change will best position our team for greater success going forward."
Johnson confirmed a report by CBSSports.com from Sunday that stated the team has hired the search firm Korn/Ferry International to find candidates to replace Tannenbaum. Johnson indicated in a statement the firm's role in the NFL commissioner search in 2006 and the search for a the Seattle Seahawks' latest general manager, which ended with the hiring of John Schneider, was influential in his decision to employ them.