New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum watches pre-game warmups...

New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum watches pre-game warmups before the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. (Photo by John Dunn) Credit: John Dunn

Mark Sanchez, who is a fan of Mike Tannenbaum's constant wheeling and dealing, appreciates the Jets general manager's seemingly never-ending appetite for tinkering with the roster.

After all, it was nearly a year ago when the quarterback himself was the latest big fish reeled in by Tannenbaum's trade hook, the most recent splashy acquisition by the man who's become one of the NFL's most aggressive general managers in the four years he's held the position.

"He's making some good ones, I think," Sanchez said the other day. "He made the decision to trade up for me. So I loved that one. It shows he does have some sense about him, I guess."

Sanchez smiled after saying that, showing off the infectious personality that helped prompt Tannenbaum to pull the trigger on last year's draft deal to bring the franchise quarterback to New York. The Jets traded with the Browns to move to the fifth overall spot so they could select the Southern California product, just one of many headline-grabbing trades in Tannenbaum's tenure.

Lately, he's pulled off some stunners, getting the likes of cornerback Antonio Cromartie from San Diego and Super Bowl XLIII MVP Santonio Holmes from the Steelers for little in compensation. They came cheap in part because of their off-the-field baggage - Cromartie has fathered seven children by six women who live in five different states; Holmes was on the verge of being (and subsequently has been) handed a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy - but Tannenbaum felt they were worth the risk.

Before making some of his trademark acquisitions, Tannenbaum sometimes takes the temperature by talking with some of the Jets' players.

"He'll give me the 'what if' question," Sanchez said. "You know, 'What if we brought in so and so?' Then I go home and think about it and tell him. Whether my opinion means anything, I don't know. But he is the GM and he'll make the final decision."

Each trade has its own set of circumstances, and dealing during the draft sometimes takes on a life of its own. But when Tannenbaum gets fixated on a particular player, look out.

"Once we make that decision, then we attack it pretty hard," said Tannenbaum, who was responsible for luring Brett Favre from Green Bay in 2008. "Sometimes we wait for the phone to ring. We've had some really good opportunities."

That's when Tannenbaum, who relies on former Jets GM and current senior personnel executive Terry Bradway and vice president of college scouting Joey Clinkscales during the draft, started recalling some of his greatest draft-day hits.

From trading up to get the first pick of the third round last year so they could select running back Shonn Greene to making two draft-day moves in 2007 to pick up cornerback Darrelle Revis and linebacker David Harris, Tannenbaum certainly hasn't been shy.

"David Harris was extremely fortuitous," he said. "We had just traded up for Darrelle. We were not going to trade up again. Then in the middle of the second round, David Harris had a first-round grade. We just felt [the need] to go ahead and try to do that. So every situation just turns out to be a little bit different."

Said Bradway, "Mike's done a great job in being aggressive and getting players. I think at one point he was a quantity-versus- quality guy. Now he's come around to the other side, so . . . "

Bradway chuckled, but few are laughing at Tannenbaum's moves at the moment.

"I like the mind-set," wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery said. "We made the AFC Championship Game last year, but you just can't say, 'Hey, we made the AFC Championship Game with this team; maybe we should just keep these guys and hopefully we just can make the next step.' It doesn't work like that."

Those moves also give the man nicknamed Trader Mike more of an opportunity to work the phones this week looking for his next deal.

"We'd like to go into this year's draft with as much flexibility as possible," Tannenbaum said. "We think we've done that. We're looking forward to it."

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