Evaluating Mike Tannenbaum's Year So Far

How did the offseason moves work out?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    McKnight's growth has been a boon to Tannenbaum's report card.

    When the lockout finally resolved itself and the NFL offseason got going after a long wait, Giants general manager Jerry Reese felt a lot more heat than Mike Tannenbaum.

    Reese's decisions were met with a lot of guff from Giants fans who felt he let too many key contributors walk away without bringing in enough talent to get the team back to the playoffs this season. Tannenbaum made a splash with the Plaxico Burress signing, but his other moves didn't create nearly as much buzz.

    Now that we're at the bye week, it looks like the catcalls for Reese were misplaced. His decisions have paid off more often than not and some -- Jake Ballard for Kevin Boss, in particular -- look like downright strokes of genius.

    As for Tannenbaum, well, it certainly feels like he got a more of a pass than he might have deseved back at the end of the summer. The team is 4-3, so it's not like he completely dropped the ball, but most of the Jets' biggest deficiencies can be attributed to what Tannenbaum did (or didn't do, as the case may be) during the offseason.

    The biggest blunder was not shoring up the depth on the offensive line before the season. Wayne Hunter hasn't been good enough at right tackle, so it would be nice to have another option as the year plays out, and when Nick Mangold got hurt the entire line suffered because of the lack of a proven reserve option.

    It is tough to make a big argument that Tannenbaum should have matched the $4 million offer that the Patriots made to defensive end Shaun Ellis, but he probably should have used some of that savings to shore up the defensive line. First round pick Muhammad Wilkerson hasn't done much and the team is far worse against the run this season than they have been at any point in the last two years.

    The Derrick Mason signing was obviously a mistake, but Tannenbaum's choice to sign Burress is one that can only be graded at incomplete at present. He hasn't made many catches, but he's been aces in the red zone and Braylon Edwards has been a total non-factor for the 49ers so far this season.

    If you want to argue that he should have gone after a player like James Jones of the Packers, you could certainly make that case. There's been enough good from Burress to make you think that the future will hold the final statement on this signing.

    Giving Antonio Cromartie a big contract has looked foolish at times this year, but, other than Nnamdi Asomugha, there isn't another player the Jets could have signed who could give you the positives that Cromartie has added to the team this season. There's certainly room for improvement, but in the absence of an obviously better answer you can't kill Tannenbaum for that move.

    Strangely enough, the departure that elicited the most rage was Brad Smith's decision to sign with the Bills while the Jets were courting Asomugha. He hasn't been missed much, if at all, on the special teams because of Joe McKnight's emergence and the lack of a Wildcat option isn't the problem with the Jets' offense at this point in the season.

    The Aaron Maybin signing is worthy of praise, even if it took the Jets two tries to get it right. His presence in the pass rush has made a difference already and his impact should only grow over the rest of the season.

    It's a decidedly mixed bag for the Jets G.M., but the failure to address depth on both sides of the line is a problem that isn't likely to go away anytime soon. Those issues aren't enough to keep the Jets from contending, but they could come back to haunt them if a few breaks don't go their way.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.