Jets and Owner Christopher Johnson Take a Stand: No Deal for Suh by Brandon Turner
The last year for the Jets has been about sending a message to the league that things are finally different for the oft-maligned franchise. They’ve aggressively pursued a franchise QB in the draft and eschewed overpaid veterans with bad attitudes to let the league know the Jets aren’t a joke anymore. The biggest message may have been sent Sunday though by acting Team Owner Christopher Johnson
The Jets have long been known under Woody Johnson as a team big name free agents can push around and use to drive up their contracts before signing with contenders. Nnamdi Asomugha, Kirk Cousins, and even a Coach in Bill Belichek have all courted the Jets only to leave them for a better franchise after using them for leverage in negotiations. This leaves the Jets with nothing year after year as most free agents have signed by the time the Jets realize they were being played. The difference now is, Team Owner and CEO Woody Johnson, was sent overseas to fulfill his role as Ambassador to the UK when President Trump was elected and appointed his sharper brother Christopher to fulfill his role while he was gone. This was bad news for Ndamukong Suh. The Huge Defensive Tackle is the biggest name left in free agency and was apparently being courted by the Jets who still have a huge amount of cap space left over after failing to acquire QB Kirk Cousins. Suh’s camp leaked a week ago that his offer from the Jets was his largest offer yet, but Suh had not accepted the offer or even scheduled a visit with the Jets. Christopher Johnson recognized the tactic as he had when Cousins declined to visit the Jets. Suh had no intention of ever signing with New York and wanted to use the negotiations to drive up his offers elsewhere. He had nothing to lose by leaking it as it could only increase his offers from the Teams he was interested in and the Jets would wait hoping he would come around. He didn’t account for the Jets new owner though as Christopher Johnson publicly announced that the Jets had rescinded their offer from Suh. Saying only “Our thinking just changed a bit.” What Christopher “was thinking” was that he was not going to let the Jets be used as toys in Suh’s game to drive up his offers and that by publicly announcing it, Suh’s market would nosedive as the other teams interested (NO, LA, Tenn) now realize they don’t have to match the reported offer made by New York. The owners for those teams will likely be buying Mr. Johnson a drink at the next owners meetings and free agents now realize the Jets will not be used as props anymore.
For the Jets the search for a DT probably switches to ex Colts Defensive Tackle Johnathan Hankins who has bounced around to a few team facilities but has yet to sign anywhere. For Suh he has to expect much reduced offers from the Teams he was seriously considering. The effect this leaves on future off-seasons for the Jets is yet to be seen.