Capitals

Ryan stays as Jets coach, GM Tannenbaum fired

201212281404506420525-p2.jpeg

Ryan stays as Jets coach, GM Tannenbaum fired

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Mike Tannenbaum pulled out a letter as he stood in front of the New York Jets players for one last time.

It was a farewell address to the group of men he signed, traded for and drafted over the last seven years as the team's general manager. He choked back tears as he read it, and received a round of applause when he was done.

``It was really heartfelt,'' defensive end Mike DeVito said Monday. ``I know Mike, and he'll bounce back.''

The Jets fired Tannenbaum after a dismal 6-10 season, but owner Woody Johnson announced that Rex Ryan will be back for a fifth season as the team's coach.

``I believe that he has the passion, the talent, and the drive to successfully lead our team,'' Johnson said of Ryan in a statement.

The futures of both Tannenbaum and Ryan were unclear after a 28-9 loss to Buffalo on Sunday, a miserable finish to the team's first losing season in Ryan's four years as coach. While it appeared Tannenbaum was a likely goner, it was believed Ryan might also be on shaky ground.

Ryan's scheduled news conference with the media Monday afternoon was postponed amid speculation that there could be several changes on the coaching staff. Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano is expected to be fired after one season, although no coaching moves were immediately made by Johnson after a staff meeting. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine's status is uncertain after he turned down a contract extension earlier in the year, while special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff retired following Sunday's game.

Johnson started shaking things up early by parting ways with Tannenbaum, who had been with the organization since 1997. Johnson said he has consulted with several ``football executives'' and also hired a search firm to help aid in finding a new GM. Former Colts vice chairman Bill Polian, 49ers director of player personnel Tom Gamble, Texans director of college scouting Mike Maccagnan, Ravens assistant GM Eric DeCosta and Raiders director of personnel Joey Clinkscales - who was previously a member of New York's front office - could all garner attention from the Jets.

``My goal every year as owner is to build a team that wins consistently,'' Johnson said. ``This year, we failed to achieve that goal. Like all Jets fans, I am disappointed with this year's results. However, I am confident that this change will best position our team for greater success going forward.''

The Jets were a team in turmoil from the moment they acquired quarterback Tim Tebow in a trade with Denver last March. The move was made by Tannenbaum and highly criticized by fans and media - and failed in just about every way.

Tebow was brought in as a backup for Mark Sanchez and expected to play a key role in certain offensive schemes. He played sparingly, and spent several weeks out of the lineup with injured ribs.

Meanwhile, Sanchez was having a poor season, the Jets kept losing and Tebow never got a chance to be the No. 1 quarterback.

``I underachieved and didn't play the way I'm capable of playing,'' Sanchez said. ``I want another crack at this thing.''

Tebow's time with the Jets began with a splashy news conference, but his one and likely only season ended with the popular backup going out quietly as he wasn't available to the media as the players cleared out their lockers.

Tannenbaum's tenure as the Jets' GM included two trips to the AFC championship game. He had two years left on his contract, but Johnson made the change after the Jets failed to make the playoffs for a second year in a row.

In a statement, Tannenbaum thanked Johnson for ``the opportunity of a lifetime'' and added that ``there are champions on this team that haven't been crowned yet.''

Tannenbaum was hired as the team's director of player contract negotiations in 1997, and served in various other roles before replacing Terry Bradway as general manager in 2006.

With a knack for navigating the NFL's salary cap, Tannenbaum was never afraid to make splashy signings or trades - Tebow, Brett Favre, LaDainian Tomlinson, Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress, to name a few. He also made his mark on draft day, bringing in some of the team's best players such as Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, D'Brickashaw Ferguson and David Harris. But Tannenbaum had more misses than hits in recent drafts, with Vernon Gholston, Vladimir Ducasse and even Sanchez high-round picks that didn't perform as expected.

The trade for Tebow was perhaps the biggest mistake. By acquiring Tebow last March, the Jets brought in a player with immense popularity to provide a spark to the offense - just a matter of days after giving Sanchez a contract extension that included $8.25 million in guarantees for next season. Many fans and media argued that rather than trade for Tebow, Tannenbaum could have addressed some of the Jets' more-pressing needs, such as the offensive line, wide receiver and depth on defense.

The next GM will face an unstable salary cap situation, along with a dozen players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents, including starters Dustin Keller, LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell, Shonn Greene and Brandon Moore. Decisions will also have to be made on high-priced and aging veterans such as Calvin Pace and Bart Scott.

Meanwhile, that new GM will also have to work with Ryan, who has two years remaining on his contract and is two years removed from the second of consecutive trips to the AFC championship game.

``I'm excited that Rex is going to be here,'' Mangold said. ``I know he has a passion and a fire for this game and for this team. We have to do a better job on the field, and that starts here shortly.''

---

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Quick Links

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

The Stanley Cup is not the only trophy that will be awarded at the end of the Stanley Cup Final series between the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights. The Conn Smythe will also be given to the player deemed the most valuable to his team during the playoffs.

Who will that player be?

It's not hard to figure out who the frontrunner is right now. Marc-Andre Fleury hasn't just been the best goalie in the playoffs, he's been the best player with a dominant postseason in which he has posted a .947 save percentage and four shutouts. He has been so dominant, he could win it even if Vegas loses the series.

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

The last player from the losing team to win the Conn Smythe was Jean-Sebastian Giguere from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003.

But what about the Caps?

Alex Ovechkin is the leader of Washington and has been absolutely dominant throughout the postseason. He even scored the series-clinching goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Surprisingly, however, Ovechkin does not lead the team in points through the playoffs. Evgeny Kuznetsov holds that edge with 24 points to Ovechkin's 22.

Will their offensive dominance propel them to win the Cup and the Conn Smythe? Will a different player emerge as the hero of the series?

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

MORE CAPITALS PLAYOFF NEWS:

Quick Links

Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

alex_smith_otas_2_ap.png
Associated Press

Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 26, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Contract makes Alex Smith a Redskins for at least three seasons

This post was originally published on March 19. 

When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on January 30, news also broke that he had agreed to a four-year extension with Washington in addition to the one year left on his contract with the Chiefs. While we got some top-line numbers on the deal, we have gone since then without any details. 

Until now. 

The details show a deal that has a slightly higher cap hit in 2018 than was on his original Chiefs contract and the numbers rise gradually over the life of the deal, which runs through 2022. 

Smith got a $27 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2018 ($13 million) and 2019 ($15 million) also are fully guaranteed at signing making the total $55 million (information via Over the Cap, which got data from a report by Albert Breer). 

But there I another $16 million that is guaranteed for all practical purposes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, his 2020 salary of $16 million becomes fully guaranteed. He almost assuredly will get to the point where that money will become guaranteed since the Redskins are not going to cut him after one year having invested $55 million in him. So the total guarantees come to $71 million. 

His 2021 salary is $19 million and it goes up to $21 million in 2022. There have been reports of some incentives available to Smith but since we have no details we’ll set those aside for now. 

The cap hits on the contract are as follows: 

2018: $18.4 million
2019: $20.0 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $24.4 million
2022: $26.4 million

The Redskins can realistically move on from Smith after 2020. There would be net cap savings of $13 million in 2021 and $21 million in 2022. 

The first impression of the deal is that the Redskins did not move on from Kirk Cousins because they didn’t want to guarantee a lot of money to a quarterback. The total practical guarantee of $71 million is second only to Cousins’ $82.5 million. It should be noted that Cousins’ deal runs for three years and Smith’s contract is for five. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler