Tebow's time with the Jets began with a splashy news conference, but his one and likely only season ended with the popular backup going out quietly as he wasn't available to the media as the players cleared out their lockers.
Tannenbaum's tenure as the Jets' GM included two trips to the AFC championship game. He had two years left on his contract, but Johnson made the change after the Jets failed to make the playoffs for a second year in a row.
In a statement, Tannenbaum thanked Johnson for "the opportunity of a lifetime" and added that "there are champions on this team that haven't been crowned yet."
Tannenbaum was hired as the team's director of player contract negotiations in 1997, and served in various other roles before replacing Terry Bradway as general manager in 2006.
With a knack for navigating the NFL's salary cap, Tannenbaum was never afraid to make splashy signings or trades — Tebow, Brett Favre, LaDainian Tomlinson, Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress, to name a few. He also made his mark on draft day, bringing in some of the team's best players such as Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, D'Brickashaw Ferguson and David Harris. But Tannenbaum had more misses than hits in recent drafts, with Vernon Gholston, Vladimir Ducasse and even Sanchez high-round picks that didn't perform as expected.
The trade for Tebow was perhaps the biggest mistake. By acquiring Tebow last March, the Jets brought in a player with immense popularity to provide a spark to the offense — just a matter of days after giving Sanchez a contract extension that included $8.25 million in guarantees for next season. Many fans and media argued that rather than trade for Tebow, Tannenbaum could have addressed some of the Jets' more-pressing needs, such as the offensive line, wide receiver and depth on defense.
The next GM will face an unstable salary cap situation, along with a dozen players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents, including starters Dustin Keller, LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell, Shonn Greene and Brandon Moore. Decisions will also have to be made on high-priced and aging veterans such as Calvin Pace and Bart Scott.
Meanwhile, that new GM will also have to work with Ryan, who has two years remaining on his contract and is two years removed from the second of consecutive trips to the AFC championship game.
"I'm excited that Rex is going to be here," Mangold said. "I know he has a passion and a fire for this game and for this team. We have to do a better job on the field, and that starts here shortly."
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