The New York Jets' search for a new general manager cast a wide net and brought in a number of candidates of various backgrounds.
Among the best candidates the Jets considered was former Denver Broncos general manager Ted Sundquist.
Sundquist was the director of college scouting for the Broncos when they won back-to-back Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998 and had five consecutive winning seasons at the start of his tenure as the team's general manager.
Needless to say, Sundquist is an unquestioned expert on the way front offices operate around the NFL.
It's great for fans that Sundquist is so forthcoming in helping fans understand the inner workings of an NFL front office. It's even better for Jets fans that Sundquist has been very active on Twitter in sharing his experience as a finalist for the Jets' general manager job.
When the Jets hired John Idzik as their new general manager, many media members, radio talk show hosts and fans jumped to a few conclusions.
First, because Idzik's main background was in salary-cap compliance, people wondered how this was any different from having Mike Tannenbaum in place. Many even pigeon-holed Idzik as a "cap guy."
Also, because a "cap guy" was in place as the new general manager, the same people assumed it would really be Rex Ryan making the personnel calls.
The truth of the matter is that Sundquist was in the room with Woody Johnson, Neil Glat and Jed Hughes. Not me, not you, not Mike Francesa or any Jets beat writer.
Not even Jay Glazer, who claimed the Jets' GM job was so bad they couldn't give it away.
Sundquist dispelled a number of these assumptions with an honest and open Twitter discussion with many fans since Idzik was named the team's general manager.
The B/R Jets Report asked Sundquist directly to address the idea that Ryan would be really the one behind the personnel decisions. He responded that wasn't going to be the case.
@br_jets_report Didn't get the impression that's the direction Club wanted to take at all. They want to use all resources and evaluations.— Ted Sundquist (@Ted_Sundquist) January 20, 2013
@br_jets_report Wrong impression w/ any team that 1 guy makes the decision. Takes a lot of input and knowledge. VERY RARE & usually mistake.— Ted Sundquist (@Ted_Sundquist) January 20, 2013
In addition to weighing in on the Idzik hire, Sundquist also offered his opinion on Marty Mornhinweg.
Sundquist (@Ted_Sundquist) January 19, 2013
Taking EVERYTHING & EVERYONE interviewed into account, Marty Mornhinweg a good selection for OC of the #JETS.— Ted Sundquist (@Ted_Sundquist) January 19, 2013
@c_cappella Compared to other candidates? Cam Cameron NEVER in 14 yrs as HC, OC, & QB's. Shurmur never as HC or OC, did under Marty at PHI.— Ted Sundquist (@Ted_Sundquist) January 19, 2013
One of the main points in any of the Jets' general manager interviews had to be how the candidate would handle the quarterback situation. Sundquist gave fans some insight as to how he would handle the situation in this conversation.
@nyjet_prime Given the CAP $'s and former #1 tag, worth at least a shot. Build O talent around him. Could have new coach/QB in '14.— Ted Sundquist (@Ted_Sundquist) January 19, 2013
Later, Sundquist emphasized that he would have "loved" the opportunity to work as the team's general manager, but he said that he wasn't sure he was the right fit.
Whether that tweet was related to the quarterback situation, the cap situation or just the franchise in general is something only known by Sundquist.
However, he has spelled out nearly all of his beliefs about the Jets franchise on his Twitter the past week, so there is enough information there for fans to draw their own conclusions.
As far as the salary cap is concerned, Sundquist gave a glimpse into the enigma that is the Jets salary cap in this interesting exchange:
@tommyjets Puzzle includes putting competitive team on field for '13. Fans demand it, HC has to have it. Short vs Long term visions.— Ted Sundquist (@Ted_Sundquist) January 20, 2013
He does acknowledge that that salary cap is currently a mess, which is a fact generally shared by anyone who looks at the situation. However, Sundquist also points out what most non-alarmist Jets fans have been saying all along: that the cap situation can be fixed relatively quickly.
However, Sundquist does caution that the general manager has to keep the long-term health of the franchise in mind while the head coach needs to win starting in 2013.
He also brought up a great point, and one of the reasons the Jets are in the situation they are right now by throwing out the cliche that "you can't rob Peter to pay Paul."
Mike Tannenbaum has done that in the past through contract renegotiations, and now Idzik is left to sift through the subsequent mess.
For those who have been following along and chatting with Sundquist on Twitter, the past few days have been fascinating.
Most general managers or executives who have had the success that Sundquist has had in the NFL either don't have a Twitter account or won't be so open and willing to discuss their ideas with fans.
Fans and the media often like to make assumptions on what organizations and their front offices are thinking and what their game plan is. However, there really is no way for anyone to know anything unless you are behind closed doors with the team.
Sundquist was behind those closed doors with the Jets as they searched for their new general manager and is giving Jets fans better information in that process than any media member can offer.
He is highly complimentary toward the Jets, but gives honest criticism where appropriate. Sundquist's conversations are a must-read for people who have the time to go through them and his work on thefootballeducator.com is something you cannot get elsewhere on the Internet.
While Idzik looks like a good hire as the team's general manager, it's quite clear that Sundquist would have been a tremendous hire as well.
His enthusiasm for the Jets has been refreshing for fans eager to get away from people looking to make a joke of the franchise.
Like Sundquist said in another tweet to the B/R Jets Report, "Great city, great region, great people. JETS - FLY, FIGHT & WIN! - to borrow from Air Force days."
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