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New York Jets fire GM Mike Tannenbaum, but Rex Ryan will remain as head coach

Doug Farrar
Shutdown Corner

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Mike Tannenbaum (l.) with Jets owner Woody Johnson. (Getty Images)

It wasn't a surprise move, given the team's dismal season, and not it's official: The New York Jets have announced that general manager Mike Tannenbaum will not return for the 2013 season. Tannenbaum, who joined the Jets franchise as the Director of Player Contract Negotiations in 1997, became general manager in 2006. In July of 2010, he signed a contract extension that was supposed to take him through the 2014 season.

“This morning, I informed Mike Tannenbaum that he will not return for the 2013 season,” team owner Woody Johnson said in a statement. “Mike devoted 15 years of service to the Jets, and I want to thank him for his hard work and dedication.  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.”

[Related: Eagles make Andy Reid's firing official]

For a while, things looked good for Tannenbaum finishing out that contract, especially when the Jets made the AFC championship game in 2008 and 2009, the team's first two seasons under head coach Rex Ryan. But a series of questionable contracts -- most notably the five-year, $58.25 million extension given to quarterback Mark Sanchez -- left the roster in decline, as did a series of injuries to key players, and Tannenbaum's inability in recent years to replace aging players with new blood.

Aside from the Sanchez contract, two other decisions before the 2012 season led to Tannenbaum's end in New York. He replaced former offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer with Tony Sparano, and traded for Tim Tebow. Sparano, credited with bringing the Wildcat formation to the NFL with the Miami Dolphins in 2008 when it was actually assistant coach David Lee, seemed to have no clue how to use his best players, and Tebow -- who succeeded in Denver with good coaching despite his obvious limitations -- was a publicity chip first and a football player very much second.

The Jets also announced that Ryan will stay on to coach the team, despite this season's 6-9 record.

"I believe that he has the passion, the talent, and the drive to successfully lead our team," Johnson said of his coach.

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