The New York Jets have signed Rex Ryan to a contract extension, removing the lame duck label from Ryan and keeping him with the franchise through the 2015 season. Ryan is 42-38 in the regular season in his five years with the Jets.
ESPN, which first reported the deal, said it is a multiyear extension that contains incentives based on playoff victories. Ryan is 4-2 in the postseason with the Jets, including consecutive trips to the AFC championship game in his first two seasons, but New York hasn’t made the playoffs in three years.
”I know what we all want and we’re striving to get there,” Ryan said in a statement issued by the team. ”But it’s not about me. We’re already into our offseason planning. There are a lot of areas where we can improve and we can’t wait to get this thing rolling.”
Expectations were extremely low heading into this season with many pundits looking at a four win season. But Ryan led the Jets to a surprising 8-8 finish that had players and fans clamoring for Johnson and general manager John Idzik to keep the coach.
”I’m no different than any of our fans,” Ryan said. ”I’m an ordinary guy that’s been given an unbelievable opportunity. I’ve said all along: I’m glad to be a Jet. I’m happy to be a Jet. That’s never changed.”
Ryan and Idzik will now look forward to shaping next season’s team with plenty of issues to consider, starting with the quarterback situation. The Jets will have to determine whether Smith has a chance to be their quarterback of the future, and whether they’ll draft another player to compete with him or sign a proven veteran.
New York will likely part ways with injured quarterback Mark Sanchez and wide receiver Santonio Holmes and possibly cornerback Antonio Cromartie to save money on the salary cap, and there are several potential key free agents, including right tackle Austin Howard, right guard Willie Colon and kicker Nick Folk.
Ryan now gets a chance to build off the surprising performance of his team and try to make good on that Super Bowl title he boldly guaranteed when he was hired in 2009.
”The front office, coaches, players, this entire organization – we’re all in this together,” Idzik said. ”We are all governed by the same motives and that is to build a perennial winner here with the Jets.”