It's always interesting when a former NFL executive either jumps or is pushed from his former position and lands in the media. Some will honestly explain the mistakes that led to their demise, while others will gild the lily and claim that they were unfairly jettisoned.
Former New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum helped build a team that went to two straight AFC Championship games in the 2009 and 2010 seasons, but things fell apart over the next few seasons, and Tannenbaum was asked to depart following a 6-10 season in 2012 that was the franchise's second straight without a playoff berth.
Tannenbaum now provides analysis to the NFL Network and Yahoo Sports, and he's started to represent NFL coaches for Priority Sports. To his credit, when asked about the mistakes he made, he's been pretty forthright -- and when it comes to his time with the Jets, it's tougher to imagine a bigger mistake than the trade for Tim Tebow that occurred in March 2012.
The Jets already had a starting quarterback in Mark Sanchez, who Tannenbaum and the Jets gave a five-year, $58.25 million contract in the same month (which was probably Tannenbaum's second-biggest mistake). The Jets gave up two low draft picks for Tebow and agreed to pay a $2.53 million salary advance Denver had given the former first-round pick. For that, they got an enormous media landslide and a second-tier player who completed six of eight passes for 39 yards in one season.
“Obviously we made a couple mistakes – trading for Tim Tebow most notably," Tannenbaum told CBS Radio on Wednesday. "But I would say beyond that, we [could have done a better job with the bottom of our roster], especially toward the end.”
Tebow has been out of football since the New England Patriots found that they could do nothing with him, and he's now working for ESPN as a college football analyst. Still, Tannenbaum counts himself among the ever-decreasing numbers who believe that Tebow could have a future in the NFL.
"Tim obviously didn’t play well in the preseason with New England, but he’s a guy [that’s] incredibly passionate about his career. 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.” Well, perhaps not. And it's quite possible that Tannenbaum will have to wait a while before he gets another shot in the league. Which proves that when you swing big on your quarterbacks, you best not miss.