Too little, too late.
It is an easy response to what was otherwise a surprising move. While the Jets’ acquisition of Percy Harvin and his potential impact on the field could fully be summed up by four simple words, the message it sends is even more direct. Worse, it is blatantly obvious.
The New York Jets trading for Percy Harvin was a complete ‘panic move.’
It does not take Sherlock Holmes to piece together the timeline of these events and draw an insightful conclusion. The sequence is as blatant as a child apologizing for swiping candy from a store only after he was caught:
- The Jets begin another Rex Ryan-led season of promise and hope and outlandish prognostications such as his “best quarterback situation” and that his team is “a zillion miles ahead” of last year’s (both quotes courtesy of NY Times).
- The Jets beat the Oakland Raiders – currently, the only winless team in the NFL at 0-6 – on Opening Day.
- The Jets go on to lose six straight games, including a nationally-televised division game against their hated rivals from New England. Sometime surrounding this game, media reports flood the airwaves that the Jets have a ton of money sitting, unused, under their cap. Media and fans point out that they probably should have spent such money on players with talent. Oops.
- Less than twenty-four hours later, the Jets trade for a wide receiver who is known to be a headache in the locker room and has now been traded twice within the past two years.
This, for any franchise, is terrifying.
We are fans. We throw objects across the room at our televisions. We sit in predetermined, ‘lucky’ seats for hours at a time. We call into radio shows and hem and haw about how much smarter we are than those who are actually paid to make important decisions.
We should not have an impact on anything. Yet, it seems that memo has not reached the New York Jets, the same team who famously – and, in grandiose, public fashion – signed Brett Favre and traded for Tim Tebow.
The acquisition of Percy Harvin allows the organization to use the following defenses – “We have weapons (Decker and, now, Harvin) for Geno,” “We spent money,” “We have playmakers on offense,” and “We are building for the future.”
Each one of these defenses is accurate, however, against whom are they defending themselves? Me? You? Jimmy from Long Island? The Jets should not have to answer to anyone. They should, instead, be wisely building a winning team.
In truth, the move has deeper repercussions than the obvious knee-jerk reaction we have all recognized. In essence, it is a hedge bet, where the Jets can have the services of a solid wide receiver under their control without the financial requirements of keeping him – breathe a sigh of relief, this is not Santonio Holmes‘ contract part two. It also allows the team to see how Geno Smith performs with a second capable receiver on the field.
The Jets – and Rex Ryan – once coveted the dynamic wide receiver, as some analysts had New York as the landing spot for Harvin before they ultimately traded up and selected quarterback Mark Sanchez, and it’s easy to see why. Utilized properly, Harvin is as dangerous as anyone in the league. He can line up at nearly every position – including running back – and create mismatches across the board.
In what has become a typically pessimistic view of Jets’ decisions, however, there remains a sad reality about what Harvin could actually do for the team’s offense. Calling him ‘dynamic’ is like referring to someone who has a ‘great personality.’ We all know what it means.
Dez Bryant might be the most difficult receiver to tackle. He is, therefore, as ‘explosive’ and ‘dynamic’ as Harvin. But how is Dez described? “A monster.” “A beast.” “Throw it up and he will catch it.”
Geno Smith doesn’t necessarily need players to help break tackles after they catch the ball. He needs players to catch the ball when they shouldn’t be caught. Harvin should not be the go-to receiver when the team needs to convert a third down, yet that is probably where the offense is the most lacking. He may be deadly on screen passes and kick returns, and he will probably be featured heavily in any ‘wildcat’ option formations, but don’t expect any errant passes to be plucked from the sky by the team’s new gadget.
Instead, Harvin will merely be a toy for a child who is ill-equipped and not mature enough to use it.
As evident by the team’s dismal record and their snap-decision to correct a glaring flaw, the Jets are in a flaming downward spiral. It appears they are gaining speed. In fact, the worst-case scenario would be that Harvin actually does help the team win games this year, hurting the franchise’s draft position and – dare it be mentioned – lulling the Jets into belief that the wide receiver is the savior. And needs a new contract. If that happens, it really will be Santonio Holmes part two.
If the Jets continue to be over-sensitive to what the fans want, they should realize that it isn’t any specific player, coach, or ticket price. Ultimately, outcry occurs not because people believe they have the solution to a problem, but because the problem remains unchanged and unfixed. When few believe that those entrusted to make decisions could do so accurately, voices grow louder.
The shouts are not merely requesting change for the sake of change. Fans only want change when something isn’t working. In the case of the 2014 Jets, that ‘something’ is ‘everything.’
After all, the sum of all these parts need to produce one specific outcome for the faith and future to be restored: