After weeks of silence, Mike Tannebaum finally is ready to speak.
The Jets former general – who is making the media rounds Tuesday in New Orleans – spoke first to ESPNNewYork.com about the failed Tim Tebow experiment and other questionable decisions during his Jets tenure.
Tannenbaum took responsibility for acquiring Tebow and also admitted the move was miscalculated. But Tannenbaum didn’t have any regrets about dealing for Tebow, according to writer Rich Cimini.
“I'm disappointed it didn't work out, just like I'm disappointed when certain draft choices don't work out," the former GM said. “We put in a lot of time and effort. We had a rationale for it. At the end of the day, it didn't go as we had planned."
As Newsday reported months ago, Tannenbaum, Rex Ryan and former offensive coordinator Tony Sparano were all in agreement on the Tebow trade. According to ESPNNewYork.com, Tannenbaum and Ryan already were discussing the idea of adding a “running quarterback” to replace Brad Smith before the Broncos signed Peyton Manning, rendering Tebow obsolete as a starting QB in Denver. But owner Woody Johnson was “initially reluctant” on acquitting Tebow.
“Once we met on it and talked about it, ultimately that was my decision to trade for Tim," Tannenbaum said. “…I had a great working relationship with both Woody and Rex. Anytime we'd make a decision on something like this, we'd talk about it, discuss the pros and cons and ultimately it was my decision. I've always said that.
"For seven years, I had final say on everything. That was an honor and a privilege and a responsibility I totally embraced -- whether it was trading for Tim Tebow or trading up for Darrelle Revis or trading for Brett Favre and everything in between. Ultimately, I had the final say on things."
Though Tannebaum readily admitted the Tebow trade didn’t work out, he grossly underestimated the magnitude of its failure.
“Some moves work out, some don't,” he said, though he refused to give specifics, according to Cimini. “Maybe, if we had more success on offense, it would've allowed more plays for everybody and it would've meant for opportunities for Tim."
More damning to Tannenbaum’s credibility, however, was the extension he gave Mark Sanchez shortly before trading for Tebow.
The Jets plummeted to an 8-8 record in 2011, as Sanchez completed 56.7 percent of his passes, throwing 26 touchdowns to 18 interceptions. He also had 10 fumbles. Tannebaum rewarded the third-year quarterback – who still had two years left on his rookie contract – by giving Sanchez a three-year extension that also contained an $8.25 million guarantee for the 2013 season. And now, the Jets, and new GM John Idzik, are stuck with Sanchez.
“We thought we were getting cost certainty for a guy we thought would be our quarterback for years to come," Tannenbaum said. "That was our thinking when we did it. Obviously, based on this year, it hasn't worked out that way yet. But I think Mark's career is far from over."