This month, a couple of fringe New York Jets -- Cliff Harris and Claude Davis -- were arrested for marijuana possession. The Jets swiftly cut both players without hesitation and without letting the legal system run its course.
Last week, potential starting running back Mike Goodson also was arrested on drug and weapons charges. Yet, Goodson will return to practice next week, as the Jets allow the legal system to run its course.
Are the Jets being hypocritical? The answer is yes.
It’s easy for the Jets to cut bait on a couple of players who have a slim chance to make the team. But when it’s a potential starting running back who recently signed a three-year, $6.9 million contract, New York suddenly expresses patience with off-the-field misconduct.
The Jets are taking a “wait-and-see” approach with Goodson because they need the tailback. New York’s offense is in shambles and cannot afford to lose talented players.
But what message does this send to the Jets’ locker room? Is there a “star system” developing in New York? Will potential starters not be held accountable or to the same standard as fringe players and backups?
This is an important time for Jets first-year general manager John Idzik to establish a culture and identity in New York. However, Idzik dropped the ball with these two situations.
Idzik’s regime cannot be inconsistent with off-the-field misconduct when it’s convenient. Either have patience with troubled players and let the legal system run its course, or have a low or zero-tolerance policy. The worst thing Idzik can do is play the fence on this issue, which is what he's doing with Goodson, Harris and Davis. That sends a confusing message to the Jets' locker room.