New York Jets – The Mike Maccagnan Progress Report

Joe Caporoso with a progress report on New York Jets GM Mike Maccagnan

It is far too early to holistically grade the job New York Jets GM (and 2015 NFL Executive of the Year) Mike Maccagnan has done. However, as we head into training camp for year two of the Maccagnan/Bowles regime, let’s take an on the run assessment of how he has altered the roster since taking over and how he has set the Jets up for the coming years…

Quarterback

Inherited: Geno Smith, Mike Vick, Matt Simms.

Acquired: Ryan Fitzpatrick (TBA), Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg.

Overview: Whatever happens with Fitzpatrick in the coming weeks, the trade for him worked out better than anybody expected due to his performance in 2015. Maccagnan deserves credit for holding ground on the current negotiation and not offering more money because this:

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Ultimately his handling of the quarterback position will be judged by what comes of Hackenberg and to a much lesser extent Petty, both questionable selections until proven otherwise. If Hackenberg becomes a competent NFL starter, everything else falls by the wayside. If Geno Smith plays and exceeds expectations this year, Maccagnan did the right thing by hanging on to him and presents the Jets with a good first world problem heading into next year.

Running Back

Inherited: Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell, Chris Johnson, Tommy Bohanon

Acquired: Matt Forte, Stevan Ridley, Zac Stacy, Khiry Robinson

Overview: Maccagnan found a better fit for the Jets current offense by letting Ivory walk and acquiring Forte. He has smartly kept the consistently undervalued Powell around and taken a few low cost fliers. Stacy and Ridley were swings and misses but Robinson offers more potential and upside than those two.

Wide Receiver: 

Inherited: Eric Decker, Greg Salas, David Nelson, Jeremy Kerley, Chris Owusu

Acquired: Brandon Marshall, Devin Smith, Charone Peake, Jeremy Ross, Kenbrell Thompkins

Overview: The Marshall trade was a home run in year one and Maccagnan deserves credit for not hesitating to quickly move on from journeymen Neslon and Salas. Jeremy Kerley is a competent NFL receiver but lacked a sustainable role in Gailey’s offense so it is understandable the Jets moved on. Kenbrell Thompkins was a shrewd mid-season addition last year. The jury is out on Devin Smith and if Ross can bring anything on special teams. Peake was a wise flier to take in the 7th round.

Tight End

Inherited: Jeff Cumberland, Jace Amaro, Quincy Enunwa, Zach Sudfeld

Acquired: Kellen Davis, Brandon Bostick, Wes Saxton

Overview: Maccagnan deserves credit for helping put together a coaching staff smart enough to utilize Enunwa as a H-Back (similar to having a staff smart enough to put Decker in the slot at receiver). Outside of that, he made the no brainer decision of moving on from Jeff Cumberland and the perplexing decision to stay in business with Kellen Davis. Amaro is a potential x-factor at this position, who he inherited.

Offensive Line

Inherited: Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Brian Winters, Willie Colon, Breno Giacomini, Dakota Dozier, Oday Aboushi, Ben Ijalana, Wesley Johnson, Brent Qvale

Acquired: Jarvis Harrison, Ryan Clady, Brandon Shell, James Carpenter

Overview: Maccagnan has been relatively quiet at this position, outside of the savvy Carpenter signing, replacing a retired D’Brickashaw Ferguson with Ryan Clady via trade and adding two mid-round picks. He is still leaning on many John Idzik holdovers including Brian Winters, Breno Giacomini, Wesley Johnson, Brent Qvale and Ben Ijalana. The question as of now is did he find anything with Harrison or Shell?

Defensive Line

Inherited: Muhammad Wilkerson, Damon Harrison, Sheldon Richardson, Leger Douzable, TJ Barnes

Acquired: Leonard Williams, Deon Simon, Jarvis Jenkins, Steve McLendon, Stephen Bowen

Overview: He inherited a sticky Wilkerson contract situation and gave himself insurance by drafting rising star Leonard Williams. Deon Simon is an under the radar player to keep an eye on this season while Jenkins and McLendon will help round out the 3-4 looks and compensate for the loss of Harrison, which was inevitable.

Linebacker

Inherited: Calvin Pace, David Harris, Demario Davis, Trevor Reilly, IK Enemkpali, Antwan Barnes, Nick Bellore, Jason Babin, Quinton Coples

Acquired: Erin Henderson, Darron Lee, Lorenzo Mauldin, Jordan Jenkins, Bruce Carter, Mike Catapano, Freddie Bishop, Deion Barnes, Taiwan Jones

Overview: Speed. Maccagnan has effectively infused this unit with young talent and more speed. Mauldin showed immense potential in his rookie year. Lee and Jenkins should be day one starters or major contributors this season, while Carter, Catapano and Barnes all have a good chance to make an impact on both defense and specials.

Secondary

Inherited: Darrin Walls, Ellis Lankster, Marcus Williams, Antonio Allen, Calvin Pryor, Dawan Landry, Dee Milliner, Dexter McDougle, Philip Adams, Kyle Wilson, Jaiquawn Jarrett, Rontez Miles

Acquired: Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Buster Skrine, Marcus Gilchrist, Juston Burris, Daryl Morris, Dion Bailey

Overview: A completely revamped unit. The performance of Revis, Skrine and Gilchrist cancels out the misguided Cromartie signing, which the Jets have already moved on from. The new staff has also maximized the talent of Pryor and Williams, both of whom should be major contributors this season. The jury remains out on if the inherited Milliner and McDougle can contribute anything here this season and beyond.

Special Teams

Inherited: Nick Folk, Ryan Quigley, Tanner Purdum

Acquired: Ross Martin, Lachlan Edwards, Tom Hackett

Overview: Maccagnan is working to remake this unit but it remains to be seen if any of the 7th rounders/UDFAs can stick and make a positive impact. If Jeremy Ross can become a quality returner, it also helps his cause here.

Overall: The Jets are capped out heading into this year but regain flexibility heading into next offseason. Maccagnan will sink or swim here based on how his draft picks develop, namely at the quarterback position and if Williams and Lee can become cornerstones of the defense. The Wilkerson situation is not on Maccagnan and he deserves credit for not caving on Fitzpatrick yet or offering him funny money based on one season. The offensive line still needs to be rebuilt for the long term and he must find a way to properly handle the eventual decline of Revis and Marshall.

How would you grade Maccagnan’s performance so far?

Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com 

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the EVP of Content at Whistle Sports