Signing Braylon Edwards will be the final nail in Mike Tannenbaum's coffin. Book it.
It won't be a particularly large nail – and, to be honest, the coffin is pretty much sealed up – but it will lock in the air, finally suffocating the man largely responsible for an agitated fan base and a poor excuse for an NFL roster. Edwards is a reminder of Tannenbaum's greatest failures and the downward descent the franchise has been on since then. Every time he catches a pass, there will be at least a fleeting thought of "what could have been." If he struggles to adapt in a short time, there will be anger over having to turn to a free agent wideout in the throes of a desperate playoff chase due to a barren cupboard.
It's no secret that Mr. T is largely to blame for a wide receiver corps that was so woefully maintained that signing Edwards is met with universal acclaim by Gang Green Nation – to say nothing of the quarterback, the linebackers, the pass rush or the startling lack of playmakers at almost every position. But it's the return of Edwards that brings Tannenbaum's Jets' legacy full circle, to his decision to walk away from the two players best suited to Mark Sanchez's game – Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery.
Isn't it interesting that speculation swirled around the possible returns of both Edwards and Cotchery this past offseason? It wasn't even a year since Tannenbaum parted ways with them in favor of Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason. But shortly after the speculation (leak?), suddenly Tannenbaum wasn't interested in either, content to roll into the season painfully low on depth or reliable talent beyond Holmes and maybe Jeremy Kerley (Patrick Turner sure worked out, eh?).
Oh, what a time it was As "The Beard" returns to Florham Park, so do memories of high-point catches in Indianapolis and New England. But those memories are long gone, faded due in large part to a front office that is no longer trusted by player and agent alike. Long before Edwards called Tannebaum and Co. "idiots," there were plenty of former and current Jets doing the same thing. In the interest of being cold and calculating, Tannenabum became straight up deceitful.
He cut bait with character player after character player, citing the "get out one year early rather than one year too late" method, and for the most part it worked. But eventually when you disenfranchise enough quality people (not players, but people), you suddenly have a roster of people looking for a payday rather than a solid team. He reportedly lied to players and agents about future contract extensions and the game of chicken he played with Darrelle Revis' agents to this day remains the shallowest, most disturbing thing I've ever seen on Hard Knocks.
His treatment of players has led to a locker room that has no problem going to the tabloids as soon as they're disgruntled. And who can blame them?
Edwards wasn't wrong. Tannenbaum has been foolish. He's an idiot for replacing Leon Washington with Joe McKnight after reportedly shortchanging Washington over on a contract. He's even more foolish for paying Holmes over Edwards and alienating Cotchery to the point where he demanded out. And don't get me started on the Burress and Mason experiment.
But now, hat in injury-riddled hand, Tannenbaum has to go back to Edwards because his cap-strapped team can't afford decent veteran wideouts and has little to no faith in a player like Jordan White to step in and at least know the offense well enough to play limited snaps. The fact that it comes a week after Edwards outwardly ripped Tannenbaum only adds to the splendor and sends a loud-and-clear message to a locker room already disgruntled with the front office.
Tannenbaum has no clue what he is doing. He is completely under water, swinging his arms wildly and hoping to latch onto a life preserver. Ironically the team that might actually save this season would probably prefer to see him lose his job.