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Jets GM John Idzik defends lack of free-agent signings

Jets General Manager John Idzik prior to a

Jets General Manager John Idzik prior to a game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, December 1, 2013. Credit: Lee S. Weissman

Minutes before John Idzik and Rex Ryan were set to address reporters Thursday on a conference call, news of Antonio Cromartie's defection to the Cardinals hit social media.

It appeared to be the latest blow to a cornerback-needy team that has failed to land a big-name target for its secondary. But while Cromartie's decision to sign a one-year deal with Arizona stirred up angst among Jets fans, Idzik insisted the organization is on course with its plan.

He and Ryan presented themselves as a united front, standing "side by side'' in their free-agent acquisitions -- or, more accurately, lack thereof. Idzik denied the idea that he's moving at a glacial pace, saying the team set out to be "judicious'' and "selective'' in free agency.

"Do we feel like we missed opportunities? No, no, we don't,'' said Idzik, who characterized the past nine days as "productive.''

Idzik added there will be plenty of time to acquire players via "waiver claims, trades, street free-agent signings and, of course, the draft.''

While the quarterback position remains a topic of constant conversation (see: Michael Vick and Mark Sanchez), the Jets' biggest area of need is cornerback. But instead of focusing on the free agents who got away -- Cromartie, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (who signed with the Giants after visiting the Jets), Alterraun Verner, Vontae Davis and Darrelle Revis -- Idzik and Ryan focused on the moves they have made.

They highlighted the re-signings of seven players, including Nick Folk, Calvin Pace and Willie Colon, and Idzik noted that those types of moves go "somewhat unrecognized.'' When asked about his depleted secondary, Ryan said, "I feel very good about our corners.''

Cromartie still had hopes of a reunion, but a team source said the Jets weren't interested in re-signing the eight-year veteran, who was hobbled by a nagging hip injury in 2013. As a result, the Jets' top corners are Dee Milliner, Kyle Wilson and Darrin Walls. But Ryan denied a recent report that said he's upset with Idzik's inability to secure pieces for his secondary.

"There can't be anything further from the truth,'' Ryan said. "I know the plan. We are together. We are side by side in this the entire way.''

One cornerback option was Revis, who signed with the rival Patriots after being released by the Bucs. But neither Idzik nor Ryan would discuss whether they tried to re-sign the former Jet.

"This isn't fantasy football,'' Ryan said. "There are a lot of factors that go into obtaining players. When Darrelle went to N.E., it was like, 'OK. He's now a Patriot. It is what it is.' ''

The Jets still have plenty of decisions to make in the coming days -- most notably at quarterback. In addition to Vick's scheduled visit Friday, Sanchez is expected to be released before he's due to earn a $2-million roster bonus Tuesday. Idzik said the Jets have remained in "constant contact'' with Sanchez's representatives but wouldn't divulge their plans for the team's starting quarterback from 2009-12.

Several roster moves are expected at One Jets Drive. Idzik said they'll be the right ones for the organization.

"What we're trying to build here is sustainable success,'' he said. " . . . Winning is something that's going to be pervasive here. It's going to span time.''

Report: Jets 'inquired' about Jackson. The Jets are among the teams that have inquired about a trade for Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson, according to Vick and Jackson share the same agent and reportedly are close friends. They also have ties to Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who spent seven years in Philadelphia.

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