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Woody Johnson: 'I'm not afraid to spend money'

Jets owner Woody Johnson talks to media at

Jets owner Woody Johnson talks to media at Jets training facility in Florham Park, New Jersey on Dec. 29, 2014. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

PHOENIX - The coaching staff Todd Bowles assembled finally will be together at One Jets Drive on Tuesday. And along with new general manager Mike Maccagnan and owner Woody Johnson, the new regime will discuss the direction of the team, their plans for free agency and the futures of current Jets such as Muhammad Wilkerson.

It's no secret that the Jets' defensive star is seeking a contract extension. Though Johnson wouldn't say whether he expects an agreement to be reached soon, he expects discussions about Wilkerson to be one of their "priorities."

"I think that's something that we'll be looking at starting Tuesday when we've got our full staff in there," Johnson said Saturday afternoon at the Arizona Science Center. "We'll take a look at Mo. Mo's obviously a great player. So in terms of getting all that going, I'm sure that will be one of their priorities."

Johnson -- who was scheduled to receive the first Steinberg DeNicola Humanitarian Award, which recognizes members of the NFL community for their humanitarian efforts -- also said the Jets will consider all quarterback options.

"We're going to be looking at that," he said when asked about Geno Smith, their erratic starter the past two seasons. "You always want to have good competition and you always want to get better at every position. You want our guys to get better, you want to train them up.

"If we're not winning every game, we've got to get better."

Johnson also spoke about what he hopes to accomplish in the coming weeks with his new staff. Starting Tuesday, the group will watch video together, discuss the team's needs and figure out whom they plan to target in free agency.

Johnson also reiterated that he's not afraid to spend -- or even overspend.

"My approach has always been the same, which is, you want to get good value for the player and the position that you're looking for," he said. "You don't want to waste money in free agency, but we don't want to spend it needlessly. But we also have team needs. We have to fill those needs. We need corners. We need, maybe, a strong safety. We need to look at various elements of our team and fill that up."

Former general manager John Idzik failed to spend money in 2014 despite having plenty of room under the cap and several roster holes. But it appears Johnson won't let that happen again.

"I'm not afraid to spend money, as you know," said Johnson, whose team is expected to be more than $40 million under the salary cap. "We built a stadium that shows that we will spend. So I want to spend, I want to spend to win.

"I'm not going to overpay by twice for a player. I will, occasionally, overpay, and we know that going in. But we want to make good, sound choices with the kind of people we want in the building that have the characteristics that we're looking for. I tell my sons [that players] have to be coachable and they have to give us everything we got. And be a good teammate too."

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