Guess Woody Johnson can’t be called a cheapskate any longer.
In the span of one week, Johnson’s ownership of the New York Jets went from laughingstock to straight up baller level, with the much maligned owner suddenly a hero of his fanbase. There was the rumor last year that Johnson was going thrifty on the team, signing players by using coupons and failing to land a big name player last offseason, outside of wide receiver Eric Decker.
Then there is Johnson this year, opening up the checkbook for Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, as well as giving the thumbs up on trading for Brandon Marshall, another highprice-tag acquisition. He’s Ebenezer Johnson no more, the penny-pinching miser and inept businessman that fans protested against. Suddenly, he’s a lauded and praised for letting the moths fly out of his wallet and flashing a little cash.
The fact is,Johnson has been anything but cheap throughout the history of his ownership of this Jets franchise. And he’s owed an apology for things hurled against him last year.
There’s the pricey free agents and draft picks he’s signed before, bringing in players such as Brett Favre, Calvin Pace, Alan Faneca, Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress and Braylon Edwards among others, via free agency or trade. And there were long term deals for draft picks that have made them long-term Jets, ensuring that the likes of D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold, as well as David Harris – to name a few – are going to be Jets for life … or pretty close to it.
And as foolish as that big money deal for Mark Sanchez was a few years back, it was nonetheless a commitment from an owner, in terms of big money. That it wasn’t smart doesn’t negate the zeros at the end of that contract.
So to say that Johnson is cheap is foolish and flies in the face of consistent actions on his part to spend money on this team. Go ahead and question some of those moves, that’s your right as a fan. Some of them are still head-scratchers and never made sense, but one thing most of them weren’t was cheap. There were a lot of dollars in those contracts, whether right or wrong.
And there is a facility in Florham Park that is among the best in the league. Johnson spent plenty of his own green to get those fields that plush, and build an immaculate facility. But he’s a cheapo, right?
The truth of the matter is that Johnson was handcuffed last year by a general manager who seemed hesitant to spend and land the marquee player. That the Jets struck out on several key free agents last year wasn’t Johnson’s fault as the checkbook was primed and ready for his signature. Instead, it was a general manager who swung and missed, leaving critics to label Johnson as a miser,and frugal.
But if Jets fans and those in the media were quick to erroneously tag Johnson as thrifty in 2014, now they need to be ready to do the same this offseason. Give him credit for the moves he’s made, the checks he has signed, the money he has committed to turning this thing around.
Jets fans likely will have more to cheer about this year. One of those things should be Johnson, especially after an offseason where he again showed his commitment to building a winner.