Mike Tannenbaum spoke to reporters for the first time Tuesday since being fired by the New York Jets on New Year's Eve.
The former Jets general manager — who was piloting the Jets front office while the team fell into disarray — broke his silence to discuss his perceived failures on Super Bowl Radio Row in New Orleans yesterday.
Tannenbaum didn't shy away from his two biggest decisions — the Tim Tebow trade and the re-signing of Mark Sanchez.
Rival NFL executives believe Tannenbaum left a huge mess for new GM John Idzik to clean up but Tannenbaum — who hopes to find a job in the NFL again — disagreed with the scenario the media has painted of his tenure with the Jets. He had an optimistic slant about the Jets salary-cap fiasco, Idzik's job at hand and the the team's potential.
"The future for the Jets is bright," Tannenbaum said. "There are a lot of good young players ... From a salary-cap standpoint, we had a plan in place. John's [Idzik] a really smart guy, dealt with the cap, I'm sure he's going to take my plan and tweak it and put his own views on it, but that plan will be played out over the next few weeks."
Tannenbaum was pretty open when it came to some of his most controversial decisions.
On giving Sanchez a contract extension that guaranteed him $8.25 million next season:
“Our thinking on that was Mark is only one of five quarterbacks in the history of pro football to win 30 or more games in his first three years. In the 2011 season, he had scored 32 TDs, 26 throwing and six rushing. Like any contract we do, we thought it would be a win-win. Get cost certainty from a standpoint of we know what he’s going to cost and he gets the benefit of some security. Based on how we played this year, that’s a decision as of now that doesn’t look very good.”
On the ruinous Tebow trade, Tannebaum took sole responsibility:
“So just going on the Tim decision, we felt like after the 2011 season we lost something with Brad Smith not being there, so we felt like bringing Tim in, he was going to be a guy who could replace Brad’s production. Obviously, it didn’t work out the way we thought it was going to, and ultimately that was my call. But we did have discussions about it, and ultimately that was my decision to make the trade.
“It’s one of those decisions where it didn’t work out the way we thought.”
Tannenbaum even chimed in on the time bomb facing Idzik right now and the rumors Tannenbaum was trying to shop Darrelle Revis even before his ACL injury in Week 2 last season. He said if he was still GM, he'd be discussing the long-term merits of signing the cornerback to a mega-deal.
At no time did Tannenbaum burn any bridges and said he even called Idzik to congratulate his replacement and has spoken with owner Woody Johnson. He said he enjoyed working with Rex Ryan up until the very end. The "free agent" hinted that he had entertained a few job offers but wouldn't go into detail.
'I've talked to people on teams and outside of teams," Tannenbaum said. "As of now, I'm not sure what I'm going to do."