Idzik began his career in the NFL in 1993 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as a pro personnel assistant, then Director of Football Administration in 1996, then Assistant General Manager in 2001. His timeline follows that of Ruskell’s, and that of Vice President/Player Personnel Ruston Webster – a start in the Tampa Bay personnel mines, and an eventual elevation through the organization as the Bucs’ franchise looked to rebound from a decade of truly horrible football.
After the team’s Super Bowl victory at the end of the 2002 season, a power struggle led to the departure of several members of the front office, including Idzik and Ruskell.
Idzik was a finalist in the Seahawks’ General Manager position search that Ruskell won in early 2005. He went to Arizona, and became the Cardinals’ Senior Director of Football Operations. There, he did with the Cards what he will do with the Seahawks – cap administration and player negotiation.
He would have had a hand in Arizona’s negotiations with Edgerrin James, the former Indianapolis Colts running back who signed a 4-year, $30 million, front-loaded deal with the Cards in March of 2006. However, it’s difficult to use Arizona contracts as comparatives with what Idzik might do with the Seahawks – the Seattle franchise doesn’t have the problem Arizona did until recently, where a team must make big splashes simply to sell tickets to a unhappy fanbase.
Now his job will be to keep this more successful team on a track established by Mike Reinfeldt, the astute cap manager who officially left to become the Tennessee Titans’ GM on February 12. Reinfeldt kept things going between the Bob Whitsitt and Tim Ruskell regimes. It was his fiscal and personnel acumen that helped the team to its first Super Bowl berth in 2005, and a playoff win in 2006 despite losing 59 starter games due to injury.
It’s a tough act to follow, but Idzik’s familiarity with Ruskell – the real play-caller in the front office – should bring an ease of communication required with the free agency period beginning on Friday, March 2nd.