Mike Tannenbaum spent more than 15 years with the New York Jets, from 1997 to 2012, and served a variety of roles. First, he negotiated player contracts. Later, he was senior vice president of football operations. Then, he was assistant general manager.
And, in 2006, he became general manager.
The Jets advanced to two AFC Championship games under Tannenbaum’s watch, but he was let go following a disappointing 2012 season in which the Jets lost their last three games and finished 6-10. The Jets lost their last three games in 2011 as well, finishing 8-8 and missing the playoffs.
Looking back at his tenure, there are numerous things Tannenbaum would have done differently.
“I think some of the mistakes made were from the bottom end of our roster up,” Tannenbaum said on The Damon Amendolara Show. “So when you lose guys like Jim Leonhard or Danny Woodhead or Jerricho Cotchery, it affects a lot of things – not just what they do on the field, but what they do in the locker room.
“Obviously we made a couple mistakes – trading for Tim Tebow most notably. But I would say beyond that, but we (could have done a better job with the bottom of our roster), especially toward the end.”
Tebow attempted just eight passes for the Jets in 2012, completing six of them for 39 yards. He also rushed 32 times for 102 yards.
Yet, the Jets favored Mark Sanchez, who completed just 54.3 percent of his passes, took 34 sacks and finished with 13 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.
Sanchez didn’t play this season due to a preseason shoulder injury, while Tebow didn’t receive any interest from any team – save for the Patriots, who cut him before their first game.
Tannenbaum believes Tebow will once again be a starting NFL quarterback at some point in the future.
“Yeah, Tim obviously didn’t play well in the preseason with New England, but he’s a guy (that’s) incredibly passionate about his career,” Tannenbaum said. “I would never bet against Tim. We used to have an expression that Tim’s the type of guy who’s either going to be successful or die trying. His relentlessness and passion – I would think he’ll get another opportunity.”
Tannenbaum added that the Jets should bring Sanchez back next season and enter 2014 with an open quarterback competition with him and Geno Smith, who as a rookie finished with 12 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.
“I think you need, in this day and age, as much depth as possible,” Tannenbaum said. “And Mark Sanchez has won games in this league – a lot of them. And obviously he has a lot of things he needs to work on, but if they can get his contract squared away and they can bring him back, it just (puts) them (in a) better position moving forward.”