It seems like just yesterday where fans of the New York Jets were expressing tremendous amounts of excitement over the signings of Le’Veon Bell and C.J. Mosley while plastering the new Gotham Green team logos all over social media. Even the 2019 draft class was receiving rave reviews from most, building up plenty of enthusiasm for the upcoming season. The New York Jets were making the crosstown rival Giants green with envy, such a refreshing change of events for the supporters of Gang Green.
On May 15th, in typical Jets fashion, the team’s positive momentum came to a screeching halt as the organization decided to fire general manager Mike Maccagnan. This move, which was rumored to be in the works for weeks, was so inconceivably poorly timed that even the mismanaged Giants offered a laugh or two along with a thank you note. Yes, Maccagnan deserved to be fired, but in mid-May after allowing him to spend over $100 million in cap space and select the #3 pick in the draft? This move creates more questions than answers and points the finger directly at the Jets biggest problem: ownership.
It is one thing to consistently preach about a rebuilding plan and a blueprint for the future, to then only realize that the decision makers are in way over their heads while their timelines are written with crayons.
Ownership’s first mistake was retaining a general manager that was on the perpetual hot seat while hiring a power hungry, controlling head coach. Let’s be honest, we all knew this marriage wouldn’t last so why go through the motions? Basically, having a lame duck gm trying to find ways to save his job, which is never good for a team that is trying to build for the future. There are reports that Jets’ owner Chris Johnson wanted Maccagnan in place to help from the football side during the coaching interviews. Seriously? You are an NFL team in the NY market and you want the general manager that should have been fired helping guide you through a monumental organization hire? Amateur hour anyone?
The second mistake was allowing Mike Maccagnan to retain personnel control while spending over $100 million dollars in cap space. If you know he is on his way out the door, this makes 0 sense. Why burden your next general manager with contracts that he may or may not have given? The trickle down of this decision is mind numbing. What if the next gm didn’t want to make Mosley the highest paid inside linebacker in the NFL? What if the next gm preferred a cheaper option at running back? What if the next general manager placed a different assessment on the Jets center position? What if the next GM wanted to shop Leonard Williams? These are all crucial decisions that impact the team not only this year, but for the years to come.
The next mistake was letting Maccagnan run the Jets draft. As with free agency, how do we know the next general manager would have taken the same approach? What if he was able to trade down? What if he was able to make a trade for a prominent player? So many questions, so few answers. But the decisions made have a huge impact on the team for the foreseeable future.
The New York Jets as an organization grossly mishandled the general manager situation leaving the team in a precarious position. The team has put their immediate future in the hands of Adam Gase, a head coach that was run out of town in Miami due to his arrogance, demands for control, issues with players, and a late season collapse. What exactly has Gase accomplished in the NFL to warrant handing over the keys to your franchise? Furthermore, now you are going to hire a general manager that will follow the philosophy of the coach that has a lot to prove? This could be potentially doubling down on your mistake. Will the New York Jets hire the best general manager that is available or the best guy that fits Adam Gase’s vision? Normally the general manager brings in his own guy, not vice versa.
For the sake of sanity, I hope that the Jets are able to piece together a quality front office that can continue to improve this roster while keeping Adam Gase somewhat under control. It is impossible to not see the alarming amount of red flags that are piling up, but stranger situations have ended up working out in the NFL.
The one that is for certain: the honeymoon is over for Chris Johnson as he now has as much to prove as an owner, as Adam Gase does as a head coach.