There’s a new Woody Johnson drinking game: Take a shot every time the Jets owner says “sustainable.”
The message last year around the Jets was “competition,” advocated by general manager John Idzik. Now the Jets are in the midst of the most difficult part of their schedule and it is the Jets owner preaching forward-thinking, even as he admits to wanting instant success.
“I think like anything, we’re trying to make the best decisions we can for the long-term sustainability and the successful sustainability of the New York Jets,” Johnson said on Thursday. “We have players we want to sign and we’re looking at the value of players in free agency and we’re looking at everything we can. I said earlier this season that we’re trying to build through the draft. We’ll do an occasional free agent but the free agent market is not a panacea. We’re trying to make wise decisions to build a team through the draft and try to build a sustainable team.”
It is impossible to fully judge Idzik’s first two draft classes at this juncture, but outside the initial take on the drafted players has not been good outside of last year’s first-round pick Sheldon Richardson. Five players from this year’s draft class have been cut and two more are on injured reserve.
Idzik was criticized for his slow approach to free agency this offseason. The Jets signed wide receiver Eric Decker and running back Chris Johnson, but struck out on other big names. In particular, the team failed to address issues in the secondary, something that is now a major concern considering the dearth of talent at the cornerback position.
Johnson supports Idzik even as showed displeasure of the team’s 1-3 start.
“The team and the coaches have fallen short, that’s for sure,” Johnson said.
Even if Idzik failed to land a big name this offseason after trading star cornerback Darrelle Revis in 2012 and then jettisoning another top cornerback in Antonio Cromartie this offseason, Johnson doesn’t want his general manager to change his approach.
Just be sustainable, baby.
“That’s one of the reasons why I hired him, because he is deliberate,” Johnson said. “He does look at these decisions in a holistic way in terms of how they’re going to affect the team and long-term success. I think he’s very good at that.”
Johnson said there is no tightening of the purse strings even as the Jets sit $20 million under the salary cap.
“I put no constraints on that,” Johnson said.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.