Mike Tannenbaum, the Jets' general manager since 2006, has been fired, the team announced in a release sent out by owner Woody Johnson, signaling a change in the team's direction a day a second straight season concluded without a playoff berth.
Rex Ryan, the statement added, remains cemented as the team's head coach.
"Mike devoted 15 years of service to the Jets, and I want to thank him for his hard work and dedication," Johnson said in the release. "Although he helped guide us to two consecutive AFC Championship games, we are not where we want to be, and a new General Manager will be critical to getting this team back on the right track."
Johnson, in the statement, said he has retained the services of Korn/Ferry International, which bills itself as the world's largest executive recruiting firm, to lead the search for the team's general manager. Korn/Ferry's Jed Hughes will lead the search.
Previously, the firm led the NFL's search for a new commissioner in 2006. Hughes, in 2010, led the Seattle Seahawks' search for a new general manager, which culminated in the appointment of John Schneider.
The announcement today ends Tannenbaum's tenure with the Jets, which began in 1997 as the director of player contract negotiations. Since taking over as general manager in 2006, Tannenbaum has overseen both success and failure.
He assembled a roster that saw the Jets reach the AFC Championship game in 2010 and 2011, and drafted franchise cornerstones like Darelle Revis, Nick Mangold and D'Brickashaw Ferguson.
Still, weaknesses in the Jets roster that have manifested over the past two seasons fall on Tannenbaum. What in hindsight can be seen as poor personnel decisions are nearly as frequent as Tannenbaum's successes.
High-priced draft picks, such as Vernon Gholston, have failed to pan out. The selection of Mark Sanchez, fifth overall in 2009, was initially perceived to be a success after two AFC Championship runs, but is now cast a new light. The quarterback, in his fourth season with the Jets, was once mentioned as a franchise cornerstone along with Revis and Mangold but struggled this season and was benched after 14 games and 24 turnovers. His future with the club remains uncertain.
High-profile acquisitions by Tannenbaum, such as trades for quarterbacks Brett Favre, in 2008, and Tim Tebow, this past offsseason, have failed to generate success for the team.
Ultimately, the Jets' failures over the past two seasons, in which the team has been lost 18 of 32 regular season games and failed to make the postseason, sealed the fate of the general manager.
The announcement this morning, while removing Tannenbaum, fell short of sweeping organizational changes. According to a person with knowledge of the situation, Johnson did not attend the Jets' loss to the Bills in Buffalo Sunday. Reports swirled in the news media about Ryan's future with the club, fueling speculation the coach also might be removed. Johnson himself did not give the Jets coach a vote of confidence until this morning.
This offseason, at least, the Jets will search only for a new general manager and retain Ryan.
"I believe that he has the passion, the talent, and the drive to successfully lead our team," Johnson said of Ryan in the statement.
Conor Orr: firstname.lastname@example.org