DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Sports Writer
Well, at least through the next two seasons.
New York Jets signed the popular coach to a contract extension
Thursday, removing the lame duck label from Ryan and keeping him with
the franchise through the 2015 season — and possibly beyond. The team
announced the extension for Ryan, who had one year remaining on his
contract, but provided no further details regarding the length of the
deal or financial terms.
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.
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."
Ryan was retained by
owner Woody Johnson for next season after his job appeared in jeopardy.
Expectations were extremely low outside the team entering this 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
Johnson, who announced after the season-ending win at Miami
that Ryan would be back, rewarded him with the extension and removed
the specter of him heading into next season without a contract beyond
this year. Ryan is 42-38 in the regular season in his five years with
"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
Despite the extension, Ryan wouldn't necessarily
be guaranteed to return after next season or 2015 if the Jets continue
to miss the postseason.
For now, though, the idea that Ryan could
be around for at least two more seasons could help recruit free agents,
and the Jets are expected to be a major player this offseason since they
will be comfortably under the salary cap. It might also help Ryan with
settling his coaching staff, especially after losing special teams
coordinator Ben Kotwica to Washington and linebackers coach Brian
VanGorder to Notre Dame as the school's defensive coordinator. Several
other assistant coaches, including defensive line coach Karl Dunbar,
have expiring deals.
Ryan faced an uncertain future last offseason
after the Jets went 6-10, but Johnson retained the coach and fired
general manager Mike Tannenbaum. The team hired Idzik as general
manager, with Ryan already in place, and it had been speculated that
Idzik could want to hire a coach of his choice this offseason.
During a news conference to wrap up the season two days after finishing 8-8, the two gushed about their working relationship.
and I have worked well since I got here and have the same vision for
this football team," Idzik said in a statement. "As I have stated
before, he is a phenomenal teacher and motivator. We are fortunate to
have him as our head coach."
The Jets opened 5-4 and as one of the
NFL's most surprising teams led by rookie quarterback Geno Smith
heading into their bye-week break, but they set an NFL record by
alternating wins and losses through their first 10 games. A three-game
skid sent New York from controlling its playoff fate to barely in the
After the Jets were eliminated, there were
serious questions as to whether Ryan would be retained. But there was an
uncommonly overwhelming amount of support for Ryan with fans, players
and ex-players taking to social media to state their case as to why he
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.
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.
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."