The New York Jets have been a team in flux for quite some time now. The team had failed to consistently hit big in the draft during the tenure of general manager Mike Maccagnan. As such, many went into the 2019 offseason expecting Maccagnan to be on his way out, and a new general manager to step in. While Maccagnan is no longer the general manager, things could not have strayed farther from expectations.
The Outcome of the New York Jets General Manager Search will be Telling
Former head coach Todd Bowles was fired immediately after the 2018 season. The team opted to replace him with former Dolphins head coach Adam Gase. Mike Maccagnan, on the other hand, seemingly survived for at least one more season. Yet, this move did not seem to be to the team’s detriment given the state of the offseason thus far. Maccagnan was praised for the acquisition of running back Le’Veon Bell. He also garnered quite a bit of praise after trading for All-Pro guard Kelechi Osemele. Many felt he landed the best player in the NFL Draft with Alabama’s Quinnen Williams. Third round pick Jachai Polite was widely regarded as a great value selection. Yet, just three weeks after the conclusion of the NFL Draft, the Jets fired Maccagnan.
Much of the confusion from Maccagnan’s firing stems from the timing. Why would the team allow a general manager to spend all of their free agent money, and conduct a draft, with no intention to retain him? The answer is that this was likely not always the case. After initially denying reports that a rift existed between Maccagnan and new coach Adam Gase, the general manager’s firing seemingly confirmed that there was truth to these reports.
After the firing occurred, we began to get some clarity as to what caused such an insurmountable schism between Maccagnan and Gase. It seems as though the largest cause of conflict revolved around money. Reports suggest Gase was unhappy with how much was spent on top tier free agents, such as Le’Veon Bell. While these reports could create issues between Gase and Bell, it is now certain it created issues between Gase and Maccagnan. Free agency’s position between the start of the offseason and the NFL Draft would have made it difficult to fire Maccagnan immediately after this tension surfaced. As such, the team allowed Maccagnan to conduct the draft before meeting his fate.
What Follows Will Be Telling
Just days removed from the firing of Maccagnan, rumors are swirling about who may take over for the Jets. Adam Gase, as interim general manager, seems to be comfortable with his new added responsibilities. So much so, it is hard to imagine that Gase will want to relinquish such power over building his roster. While it is almost entirely certain Gase’s tenure as general manager will not extend beyond an interim capacity, there is one way that this search for Maccagnan’s replacement will end with Gase on top.
The first outcome of the Jets’ search is that the team hires an established NFL front office figure. Seems simple enough right? Joe Douglas of the Philadelphia Eagles is a name that has already been linked to the team early in their search. Reports suggest Douglas has a good relationship with Gase, and the pairing would make sense for the team. Still, there are reports suggesting this is not the direction that the team is looking to go.
Emerging reports that Joe Douglas is a realistic candidate for the team have become prominent. Adam Schefter reported that Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network was a candidate for a prominent front office role. Even more recently, reports surfaced that the team was considering former star quarterback Peyton Manning for the general manager position. The rationale was that the team wanted a “great strategic thinker”. While I’m sure Manning and Jeremiah are outstanding football minds, hiring either to be the general manager will shed some light on the power structure within the Jets front office.
What the Outcome Says
Adam Gase’s pull within the organization is already proving to be rather strong. His winning of the power struggle between himself and a much longer tenured Mike Maccagnan is indicative of this. Yet the team can quash some of this pull by hiring a general manager who has experience with roster creation. While Jeremiah and Manning have experience scouting and playing respectively, neither has this sort of roster building experience. Hiring either of the two will give Gase immense power over the makeup of the team’s roster. This is not to say hiring Joe Douglas, or other prominent front office members for that matter will completely negate Gase’s influence. Rather, it would simply indicate an encouraging level of competence from the front office. Gase’s relationship with Douglas should equate to a smooth running system of checks and balances in terms of roster development.
However, ownership getting cute and hiring a wildcard such as Peyton Manning will say something else. It says that the team has given an immense amount of roster autonomy to a head coach who does not have a winning track record. Hiring Daniel Jeremiah, while certainly boosting the team’s scouting credibility, would still indicate Gase is running the show. The firing of Mike Maccagnan is not an inherently bad move despite the very odd timing of the move. Still, the Jets need to make a hiring soon, and one that indicates ownership still has the reigns over who plays for gang green in the future.
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