Shame on you Jets!April 24, 2010
Multiple sources are reporting that the New York Jets will release nine-time Pro Bowl Guard Alan Faneca, with an official team announcement coming Monday. The 33 year-old Faneca was apparently on the trading block for weeks, but the Jets couldn’t find any takers. He was scheduled to make $7.5 million this season, of which $5.25 million is guaranteed.
The Jets ultimately sealed the fate of Alan Faneca when they selected UMass guard/tackle Vladimir Ducasses in the second round of the NFL draft Friday night. Ducasse is a native of Haiti who was a three-year starter at Massachusetts and is a considered an outstanding run blocker but must improve his foot work. Vladimir is very versatile, with the ability to play both guard and tackle, and could be Faneca’s eventual replacement.
When I heard Faneca was going to be cut, I got a weird feeling in my stomach. As a Jets fan, I couldn’t have been more excited heading into the 2010 season, and this news put a slight damper on my enthusiasm. Why break up the best offensive line in football?You already parted ways with one of your vocal leaders in Thomas Jones (and I was cool with that) and now the Jets are releasing another one? Not only is/was Faneca one of the leaders in the locker room, he was a mentor to both Ferguson and Mangold.
At first thought, this move made very little sense to me.
After sleeping on it, it became pretty obvious why Tannenbaum and Rex even considered releasing Faneca in the first place. I’ll call a spade a spade and tell you that Faneca was the worst lineman we had last season. In fact, publications such as Football Outsiders and Pro Football Focus had Faneca rated as the worst offensive guard in football. At 33, there is no question that Alan Faneca’s skills have declined.
So in hindsight, is there a chance the best offensive line in football could be even better in 2010?
I doubt it, considering there is really nobody (yet) to replace him. Vladimir Ducasse seems like he has potential, but all reports indicate he is still too raw. Wayne Hunter is really only a tackle and Rob Turner has been strictly a run blocker in his NFL career. There is the possibility that the Jets could re-sign Faneca after they cut him, but I don’t see that happening here.
While Faneca was definitely the weak-link on the Jets offensive line, the Jets made a bad move here. Watching every Jets game last season I can confidently say that Alan Faneca was NOT the worst guard in football last season. Is he overrated? Yes, as he does give up a lot of sacks and is clearly not as quick as he used to be. However, Faneca was a tremendous run-blocker and although had his poor moments pass protecting, he was serviceable to say the least. Likewise, Faneca was a tremendous influence on D’Brickashaw and Nick Mangold, as well as a calming presence for Mark Sanchez.
Some say it’s better to release a player a year early than a year late. But when you are the Jets, a team who has tunnel vision towards the Super Bowl, I’m not sure that adage applies. Tannenbaum has struck gold plenty of times during his tenure as Jets GM. But this time, Mr.T made a mistake that in my opinion could be costly.