Jets GM Mike Maccagnan spoke to reporters on a conference call today to talk about a myriad of topics but one phrase, or at least some variation of one phrase, kept popping up whenever Maccagnan spoke. Maccagnan hit on numerous talking points but the one he kept circling back to was maximizing the return on investment.

Predictably the conference call started on the topic of Darrelle Revis and Maccagnan took reporters through the thought process of when he started zeroing in on targeting Revis.

“When we went through all the different scenarios, when it became apparent, when the media mentioned that they (Patriots) were not going to pick up the option and (he) eventually became a free agent, I think at the end of the day we just viewed him as probably one of the better players potentially available in free agency,” Maccagna said. “And we were as aggressive as we could be to get him back with the Jets.”

When Maccagnan was asked a follow up question about whether they had considered passing on Revis to spread that money around to more (re: lesser) players Maccagnan hit on the key words “maximizing the impact,” “opportunity cost” and “financial investment.”

“I think at the end of the day we definitely tried to, and I’ve said this before, we tried to approach free agency in terms of maximizing the impact of our potential cap dollars from opportunity cost and to add a player of his stature, I think at the end of the day, he’s obviously one of the top players at his position in the league, and in my mind one of the better players in the league,” Maccagnan said. “So, I think at the end of the day when we approached it it was simply, and really for a player of his stature and caliber, I was around Champ Bailey when we drafted him in Washington years ago and Champ was a player who played at a very high level well into his thirties and I kind of view Darrelle in the same status really. I think he’s playing at a very high level and we thought he could potentially play at that high level for a number of years going forward. So, we thought it was worth the financial investment we made.”

Upgrading the cornerback position was clearly at the top of the Jets to do list but Maccagnan insists the reason for the crazy spending spree was more about seeing value in the market and how that lined up with team needs.

“So, we kind of looked at free agency and we kind of went through trying to figure out where the value in free agency was. We obviously had our particular areas that we wanted to target on our own team, but I think at the end of the day we kind of came up with a plan based on what the market had in terms of talent that was potentially available,” Maccagnan said. “So, from our standpoint we tried to spend our money where we thought we had the best chance of adding players, that were good players, and obviously when you go out and try and get players through free agency it’s going to be expensive. That’s why I said from the beginning that I want to build this team through the draft but given the opportunity to make investments and improve the talent on the team in free agency that’s kind of where we focused our efforts.

“Now that being said the cornerback position in free agency this year, I thought, had some depth to it and had some talent in it and it just kind of worked out. We kind of made our plan based on what the market had in terms of talent. So, that’s kind of where we sort of allocated our money. It wasn’t that we were just going to go in and, if maybe the value wasn’t there, just spend money blindly on the position.”

But the free agent market wasn’t the only place that Maccagnan saw value and decided to pounce. Maccagnan explained the process of how the team ended up trading for Brandon Marshall and of course it was all about assessing the market and deciding where the best “value return” was.

“I think that kind of tied into how we looked at the free agency pool. So, you got to remember too when we look at this stuff we look at it kind of on multiple levels, and this is what every team does so it’s not unique to us, because there’s different avenues of adding players. Obviously through free agency, through trades, through the draft, through the waiver wire and stuff like that,” Maccagnan said. “So, simply when we went into this process we looked at the free agency pool of wide receivers and then part of this process too when we go through this, just so you guys are aware, we value the player in terms of his ability and then we try to gauge what we think the market is going to bear for him. And then to the best of our ability understand how these markets work, it’s supply and demand very simple economics if there’s a lot of suitors and a few players then their values you tend to pay a premium for them, they get driven up.

“So, when we looked at the free agency market for receivers there were some players we liked there but then when it came to our attention that Chicago was going to potentially move or trade Brandon then we acted very quickly. We kind of weighed the options of looking at free agency and looking at trade options in terms of not only the caliber of player we could bring in but the cost to do that and it happened kind of quickly in terms of when we first became aware that he was going to be available and when we actually executed the trade. We felt really from a value return standpoint that that gave us the best option to add a player of Brandon’s caliber to our organization so in my mind at least sort of an easy decision to make when we went through the process. And Todd having a history with the player too, in Miami and also Karl Dorrell (wide receivers coach) had coached him, helped also.”

As Maccagnan continues to say the best way to build a team is through the draft but when you are trying to quickly turn a 4-12 team into a playoff contender and have dump trucks worth of money at your disposal dipping into the free agency is a good place to inject immediate talent to the roster.

The key isn’t to simply spend money but how you spend it and in any business spending that money with the goal of maximizing your return on investment is as sound a plan as there is.

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