I am Mike Tannenbaum, former General Manager of the New York Jets from 2006 to 2012. In that time, we were .500 or better in 5 of the 7 seasons, including three playoff seasons and two trips to the AFC Championship game. I was with the Jets since 1997. Before then, I graduated from the University of Massachusetts and also a cum laude graduate from Tulane Law School. Currently, I oversee contract negotiations and representation of football and basketball coaches, front office executives and broadcasters for Priority Sports and Entertainment. You can also find me for appearances on http://www.thuzio.com. I’m here to answer your questions so AMA.

Proof: http://www.thuzio.com/blog/dont-miss-a-mike-tannenbaum-thuzio-ama-tonight/

Comments: 264 • Responses: 56  • Date: 

miketannenbaum44 karma

I'd like to end this with...choose a job that like, pursue your dreams, it's been a great ride. Thank you Jets fans, Redditors and have a good night everyone. It was a pleasure doing this.

meowdy38 karma

I have to ask “the Tebow question.” What about Tim made the Jets want to take a chance on him? Did the circus-atmosphere that follows him impact the decision, or was he signed for his ability as a football player. Finally, was Tebow signed with the intention of having him play other positions? Thanks for the AMA Mr. Tannenbaum.

miketannenbaum76 karma

Coming out of the lockout we lost Brad Smith and felt that Tim could have been that type of player for us. That's one of those trades that didn't work out.

Seangonzo7935 karma

Why did Schottenheimer retain his job for such a long time when his schemes were generally proving ineffective? I apologize for being so forward but a fella can only yell at his television so much.

What is your biggest regret from your tenure with the Jets?

Do you have a great Rex Ryan story to share?

miketannenbaum55 karma

Rex Ryan story: When Pittsburgh called to say that Santonio Holmes would be available for a fifth round pick, I called down to his office and he wasn't there. (I got the assistant instead)

After the call, about 30 seconds later, Rex dove into my office, barged the door down and said absolutely!

Jumbotron900128 karma

Hi Mike, big Jets fan here.

Why did you decide to keep Santonio Holmes over Braylon Edwards? Was it an issue of money or did you just believe Holmes was a better fit?

Also, when you extended Sanchez why did you add an extra year to the contract - did it have to be done in order for the numbers to work or did it have to be done in order for him to agree?

Why did you seem to not value draft picks over the course of your tenure as much as many other NFL GMs?

And finally, did you ever visit any Jets forums during your tenure to see what fans thought of your moves (i.e. the one I frequent, youdontknowfootball.com).

Although many Jets fans don't like you, I appreciate what you did for our franchise, and you helped us take steps forward in many regards, so thank you.

miketannenbaum28 karma

In a perfect world we would have tried to keep both, but in a salary cap system, it's difficult to do. Holmes was a priority given his explosiveness, speed. In a cap system, we did prioritize Santonio over Braylon, though we would have loved to have them both.

meowdy21 karma

Who was one of the best (or most memorable) players that you scouted but didn’t have a chance to draft?

miketannenbaum48 karma

Matt Ryan

Pink_Banana10 karma

Would the organization have drafted him if he was available at 6? I know we were kinda in love with Vernon Gholston and felt that Kellen Clemens be a serviceable starter...

miketannenbaum24 karma

he was a guy we would have strongly considered

NYRangers2920 karma

Mr. T, What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment and regret in your time with the Jets?

miketannenbaum36 karma

Accomplishment were the back to back AFC championship games, the regret was not finishing up on a higher note, which was really hard for me

ZedSpot20 karma

First and foremost I would just like to thank you for your tenure with the Jets. I know it's been rocky at times, but we've also seen some really really great times with you on board. I just want you to know that your contributions have really been appreciated by many of the Jets fan nation and we wish you all the best.

Question time: Who would you say was the biggest name player that you nearly signed to the team,only to have them just slip through your fingers?

miketannenbaum24 karma

Nnamdi Asomugha was that guy. It was very public, especially in the papers here. Though it worked out well for us because we were able to keep Antonio Cromartie as a result.

nickmangoldsbeard19 karma

Hello Mr. Tannenbaum,

First of all I wanted to say that I am a huge New York Jets fan, and I want to thank for you the talent you were able to bring to our organization, and for two miraculous years that should have been ours. I personally think you were are over-scrutinized by the media for your time here, and I can't thank you enough for bringing in the best Jets Head Coach since Weeb Eubank, and putting together a team that shocked the Patriots in the playoffs.

You were part of one of arguably the greatest collection of football coaches, scouts, and managers of all time under Bill Belichick in Cleveland. Was there any sense that all of you would end up doing great things in the league at the time, and what was it like to be surrounded by such great minds in a unique situation that will most likely never happen again?

Thank you so much for doing this AMA and good luck with your future endeavors. I've thoroughly enjoyed your recent segments on NFL Network.

miketannenbaum21 karma

I was incredibly fortunate to be around so many intelligent people. I was fresh out of law school, so I was happy to gain full time employment in the NFL.

SadlyAJetsFan16 karma

Hey Mike, thanks for doing this AMA. My question to you is reflecting back on your time with the New York Jets, what in your mind was the best decision you made and which was your worst?

miketannenbaum32 karma

trading up for Revis was the best, Gholston not working out was the worst...asking him to play OLB when he wasn't used to it was difficult

LutzExpertTera15 karma

Hey Mike, what are a few of the job responsibilities of an NFL GM that are generally unknown to the general public?

miketannenbaum27 karma

I would say there's a lot of budgeting that goes on and just a lot of administrative responsibilities like checking in with all of the different department heads (video guy, security guys) on a daily basis. The day-to-day operations of the franchise.

saggarwal12115 karma

Dear Mr Tannenbaum

For the most part, I enjoyed your tenure as GM of the Jets. You made a lot of wise and savvy moves that helped the team achieve the success that it did. For all the good things you did as GM, I always took issue with what I saw as a lack of loyalty that the Jets organization showed towards players who had established themselves as Jets. Players such as S. Ellis, C. Pennington, P. Kendall, L. Washington, and J. Cotchery were cast aside by the team with little regard for all they had contributed to the franchise in favor of big name acquisitions who came as mercenaries and had no connection to the Jets franchise or fans. These are players that I, and many other fans, would have liked to see finish their career with the Jets and none of them had the opportunity to do so. My question is why did the Jets organization show such little loyalty to its own players during your time as GM?

miketannenbaum18 karma

Loyalty is always a challenge. You want to keep as many of your own players as you can. You understand how much fans fall in love with them over the years.

It's always a tough, tough call. You see Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Jason Taylor, not retire with their teams, it's an unfortunate product of a salary cap system.

Mesmurized11 karma

As an incoming freshman at UMass that may be looking at a career path similar to your's, what advice did you wish you had when you were just starting out?

Thanks for doing this!!

miketannenbaum31 karma

To get ahead in any walk of life, do this 1. be the first one in 2. llast to leave 3. the answer is yes 4. the yes is with a smile

Slyguy4610 karma

Mr. Tannenbaum,

As a huge fan of the New York Jets, I have to ask a couple of questions.

What was the atmosphere like on draft day? I hear that it's often described as an organized chaos. What is it like on day 2 and day 3?

You brought in a lot of players to the organization over the years. What player were you most proud of in your time with the Jets?

Not many people may know this, but the Jets were the first NFL team on reddit. Who's decision was that, and do you know if they'll become more active?

Thank you for your time. J-E-T-S

miketannenbaum11 karma

It's as chaotic as you think it would be. It's pretty systematic. If you've done your job and preparation, nothing should surprise you.

You worry about the things you can control and that's part of preparation. If there are opportunities to take advantage of the situation, you take advantage of them.

Jizac10 karma

What is the one player you regret losing the most to salary cap, to training camp cuts, or to failed contract negotiations?

miketannenbaum32 karma

I would say Jerricho Cotchery. He provided tremendous consistency and leadership for our club. He's one guy I really wish retired a Jet.

mofo8089 karma

Aloha Mike T, who do you think will win the Jets' starting QB job, Mark Sanchez or Geno Smith?

miketannenbaum1 karma

We'll know in a few weeks.

scarletorthodontist8 karma

  • What is your most regretful decision in all of your roster/draft moves during your time with the Jets, and why?

  • How much control did Woody give you during your time there, and how much of a control freak was he?

  • In your own words, compare Woody to Robert Kraft.

  • Who was your favorite coach to work with? (any of HC, DC, OC, ST coahces that you've worked with)

  • Who was the best role model that you drafted? Not necessarily the most talented on the field, but the most influential and respected.

miketannenbaum14 karma

Woody was a great owner and gave me latitude for what I saw fit. I never worked for Kraft. Our OL coach, Bill Muir, I never walked out of his office without learning something about football or life. D'Brickashaw Ferguson was the same person every day for the last question.

Beerfueled8 karma

Hi Mr Tannenbaum, thank you so much for doing this.

I have a couple of questions, hopefully you can give me your opinion, I'd be really thankful.

  • what is your rake on the Wright case between SF and TB? Mind you, I am totally aware that this is a legit move by the SF FO, who jumped on a FA who was cut. However, I'd be interested in hearing how you as a GM would react/perceive an FO doing what the SF one did?

  • what is your take on the Riley Cooper case? Was it overblown or is it definitely something big?

  • were there ever any locker room problems so big they required your intervention or that of some of your colleagues during your stay with the Jets?

I am a huge Patriots fan so the last one is for laughs. Jokes aside, I'd love to hear your take on these topics, I find them incredibly interesting.

miketannenbaum5 karma

On Cooper: I think what's important there is that you need something in place to communicate with your locker room. Either through your captains, or through a leadership council.

Situations like that are very difficult and have to be handled specific to that team. For example, is he a good person who made a mistake? There are a lot of different variables and I think it's team specific.

Pink_Banana8 karma

Who was your favorite player to be around, personality-wise?

Since I think I know the answer to that, I'll also ask what is your favorite Bart Scott moment?

miketannenbaum26 karma

It's hard to beat Bart. Always kept everything loose. Really smart and really funny.

I think once time I was in the training room and he compared himself to an old Toyota ... a little beat up, a little dented in, but he kept on running. Solid, reliable and not flashy.

miketannenbaum7 karma

It's hard to beat Bart. Always kept everything loose. Really smart and really funny.

I think once time I was in the training room and he compared himself to an old Toyota ... a little beat up, a little dented in, but he kept on running. Solid, reliable and not flashy.

Pink_Banana8 karma

Do you and Rex still stay in contact with each other?

miketannenbaum19 karma

We do. The four of us (his wife, my wife), we just had dinner a couple of weeks ago. It was a detailed breakdown of 'Running with the Bulls.'

I_Said8 karma

Jets fan here, and thanks for answering the Tebow question below. But I have a few follow ups to it:

  1. How involved was Rex in that decision? The owners?

  2. Do you have any insights into why Sanchez was kept in for so long? It looked like Rex was resentful of having Tebow and refused to start him as a "fuck you" to the people who brought him in (you mentioned Brad Smith, but he was never a starting prospect. Tebow was a starter in Denver). Is this remotely accurate?

  3. What do you think the relationship SHOULD be between a GM and the head coach? Ultimately who does, and who should, get the final say on the roster re "talent/need"?

miketannenbaum12 karma

  1. We discussed this internally, I had final say, everyone knows about it, ultimately it was my call and responsibility
  2. It's a partnership, GM and head coaches spend more time together than a GM and his wife. There are big decisions from a financial standpoint. It's all about effective communication.

Doctorbuddy6 karma

What was it like being the face of an organization that was always in the media spotlight?

miketannenbaum10 karma

You get used to it. I think you realize what you sign up for and it comes with the territory. When you have the privilege of landing one of these jobs, it comes with the territory.

SwenQ6 karma

What's your perspective on how the media covers the Jets? Do you feel like you got a fair shake from them?

miketannenbaum12 karma

I think the popularity of our sport is great, so that's naturally going to bring a lot of coverage. All in all, I think that's a positive. It's a cycle, so one hand feeds the other in a sense. Because we have the coverage, the media enhances our popularity.

jbaugues6 karma

What is life like after being a GM?

Did you follow football differently than you did as a GM?

miketannenbaum15 karma

I really follow it the same. I still love it and it's a passion. Life is definitely different now that I'm an entrepreneur. There's a different structure to it. Building a business and jumping on planes. It's a little bit of a different, pace but I still love football.

bfende1727k6 karma

When hard knocks was following you did the effect of being watched and filmed change the way you operated? If so how?

miketannenbaum13 karma

It really didn't. The people at NFL Films and HBO were really incredible pros. We really stuck to doing our jobs and they were a real treat to work with.

thatdude526 karma

What team has the best fans in the NFL?

miketannenbaum17 karma

Jets fans are great! They're the most passionate/diehard, although I am biased

WildHurricane5 karma

3 best business/sports biz books you have read? Go Gang Green!!

miketannenbaum8 karma

Good to Great by Jim Collins

He talks a lot about PHD's. People that are poor, hungry and driven. It's a really good read.

FootballFan845 karma

What do you like to do that is not sports related?

miketannenbaum12 karma

Spend time with my kids

mrwatkins835 karma

Who's your pick to win this year's Super Bowl?

miketannenbaum19 karma

Tough question. How bout I give a few teams that I think could be there in the end.

Atlanta, SF or Seattle from the NFL and in the AFC, I think it's pretty open, Denver and Baltimore I think are the odds on favorites.

Jumbotron90015 karma

If you could do it again, would you go more all-in for a Super Bowl like you did or try to build more with the future in mind? More in terms of the draft, things like keeping picks and trading down (from memory, I don't believe we ever traded down during any of the drafts in your tenure)

miketannenbaum6 karma

We would try to strike a balance between win today, and prepare for the future. You try to strike that balance the best you can.

canthandleit355 karma

Mr Tannenbaum,

Thanks a lot for doing this, we really appreciate it here.

Who is your favorite "sleeper" pick-up? Call it the "crowned jewel" of a GM's career, but I think that it's the small contracts that build a championship team, not the huge blockbuster ones. It may sound funny coming from a Saints fan, but it's working for the NFC West right now and the Sharpers and Thomases are who got us to the Super Bowl in 09. Who's a guy with such tremendous talent that you got him for almost nothing and he turned out to be a huge component of your AFC Championship bound teams (or was simply worth way more than he got haha)?

miketannenbaum16 karma

I'd put Danny Woodhead up there. He was a guy that was extremely productive in college. Danny's a self made player and has played in the league a long time because of high character and terrific ability.

Putmalk5 karma

Hello Mr. Tannenbaum, lifetime Jets fan here. I have a very simple question.

What was your proudest moment during your tenure with the Jets?

My personal proudest moment was beating the Texans in 2010 during the last 30 seconds of the game.

miketannenbaum8 karma

I think for me, it was the day we beat the Bengals to make the playoffs, closing out the old stadium and circling the field giving high fives to the lower bowl as a team.

That was just one of those moments that was completely unexpected, in Rex's rookie year. It was great, a lot of fun.

Mesmurized4 karma

Hey Mike, has there ever been a player that was extremely memorable to you whether it be his story, personality, background, etc.?

miketannenbaum11 karma

Yeah, I would say James Dearth...had an inspiring story, he worked for Home Depot to perpetuate his NFL dream

capoliver4 karma

does McElroy really just not have what it takes to be a starter in this league? It just seems that he keeps performing but is still more or less ignored. No matter what he does it does not matter.

miketannenbaum10 karma

I like Greg, I think he has attributes you can't see, he may not have the strongest arms, he has a reasonable chance to play in the NFL for a long time.

ubernuke4 karma

Will there be bad blood between the 49ers and Bucs front offices because the Niners signed Eric Wright after nixing the trade for him earlier this summer?

miketannenbaum3 karma

it's hard for me to say, I'm not intimately familiar with the situation

TheDiesel284 karma

Was Sanchez's contract extension given in large part to the peyton manning issue?

miketannenbaum8 karma

Football was very important to Sanchez and the effort is there with Sanchez. He was coming off a season responsible for 32 TDs

thelovepirate3 karma

What are your predictions for the Jets this season?

miketannenbaum5 karma

I think their defense has a chance to be very, very good.

I think offensively they have some young guys in Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley. Those young players will make the team better than people realize.

triplespadez3 karma

What is the key for the Jets to make it to the playoffs?

miketannenbaum14 karma

QB play being consistent

JonathanTruant3 karma

In comparison to other positions how important do you believe a franchise quarterback to be?

miketannenbaum6 karma

Having a franchise QB makes things easier at other positions, but it doesn't mean that you can't win without one.

xXFlashXx3 karma

I saw you mentioned Bill Muir in a previous post. What is the most important lesson that Muir taught you?

miketannenbaum3 karma

every year is a different year, the character, makeup and chemistry is different...you need a culture that is resilient

Ghost-E3 karma

You worked under Belichick back in his Cleveland days, what was he like back then? and how accurate did the Football Life Cleveland Browns portray the atmosphere in the city during that time?

miketannenbaum11 karma

Bill believed in giving guys a chance and gave me an opportunity. If you were thoughtful and well-prepared, he would give you a chance.

Fuqwon3 karma

Do you consider Sanchez a failure as an NFL QB and what do you think went wrong with him?

Was he just too raw coming out of USC? Was Schotty just a bad OC for him to learn under? Was there too much media pressure in NY?

miketannenbaum8 karma

He has a chance to have a good NFL career, if he can cut down his turnovers...he has 4 playoff wins

SwenQ3 karma

Do you think last year's wave of QBs taken in the second round is a reflection of the relative strength of the class or a change in approach in drafting QBs that might repeat?

miketannenbaum7 karma

I think every year is a little bit different with the draft and specific positions.

Mogglez2343 karma

Hey Mike,

Huge Jets fan and season ticket holder here. Got a few questions from me and a couple of fans I know that I was hoping you could answer.

  1. How much of a say in personnel did Rex have? Did he ever not get a player that he wanted in the draft or FA?

  2. Why specifically was Eric Mangini fired for in 08 and what was it about Rex that got him the job over the other candidates?

  3. What was the thought process behind the Sanchez extension at the time?

  4. Out of curiosity, did you ever make Peyton Manning an offer? Even a half hearted one.

  5. Who is one player from a previous draft that you seriously considered, passed on, and in hindsight regret not drafting.

Just wanted to thank you btw for the incredible 09 and 10 playoff runs. I know things ultimately didn't work out in NY and could have gone better, but I wanted you to know that those two years were probably my favorite seasons of all time and gave me, along with many others, a ton of great memories.

miketannenbaum11 karma

I appreciate the kind words and your support. Let me try and answer one of those so we can get to more of these .... On Peyton ... We did talk to him. We had discussions with his representatives and we moved on pretty quick after he decided to find a different fit.

Pink_Banana3 karma

What GM do you think is the best in football right now?

What do you think of Idzik's moves so far this offseason?

miketannenbaum7 karma

I'd put Ted Thompson of the Packers at the top of that list. He's really consistent. Year in and year out, they draft solid players and really stay the course.

Campo4203 karma

Mike, Thank you for doing this AMA. What was your favorite NFL team before getting involved in the business side of things in the league? Once you were hired did that loyalty change or are you still a fan of your old team, if not the Jets?

miketannenbaum11 karma

I was a Cowboys fan growing up. Once you become a professional, your loyalty is to the organization who you work for.

SwenQ3 karma

Did you ever feel, after the fact, that you focused too much on the cap for any particular personnel decision? If so, how did that focus impact the decision?

miketannenbaum8 karma

Generally the cap is a way of life in any decision that gets made.. That was just part and parcel with everything we did. I always thought that part of my job as GM was to lay that out for coaches and the owner. To lay out the potential ramifications of each decision.

SenorElectric3 karma

Mr. Tannenbaum,

What was your draft philosophy during the mid-to-late rounds?

It seemed like you didn't really value those picks and they were often traded away. As of right now, it seems like the roster has very thin depth at multiple positions.

The Jets often had the fewest picks in drafts during your tenure in New York.

  • Mr. E (youdontknowfootball.com)

miketannenbaum4 karma

I always thought that a player has to have a redeeming attribute that could be built around. That's how we looked at the back end of our roster. A player like Austin Howard, who had a lot of size, is an example of that.

[deleted]2 karma


miketannenbaum8 karma

I don't think so...our contract situations were sometimes misunderstood because of the complexities. I accept the blame

arv98s2 karma

Mr. Tannenbaum, I'm going to keep firing questions as they come to me. So here's another, what do you think of the moves the Jets have made since your departure?

miketannenbaum9 karma

I've been following the Jets...Revis trade can be a win win for both sides. Dee Milliner has a very good chance to be a great player.

2WAR2 karma

Saints or Falcons??

miketannenbaum5 karma

I like both organizations

[deleted]0 karma


miketannenbaum1 karma

I'm currently energized by the challenge of being an entrepreneur and working with the good people at Priority Sports, but I've learned to never say never.

I'd like to build a good business, but ... never say never.

hupacmoneybags-6 karma

What are your personal thoughts on the "butt fumble"?

For anyone unfamiliar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vuvz15OjCVc&feature=youtube_gdata_player

miketannenbaum9 karma

vicissitudes happen

miketannenbaum8 karma

When those things happen, it's very disappointing.

People try and put themselves in the best position possible to succeed. You try not to get too high or too low. It was disappointing, but you try and put it behind you and move on.