Less than three weeks after the 2019 NFL Draft, the New York Jets fired GM Mike Maccagnan and installed head coach Adam Case as interim general manager.
The Jets were 10-6 in their first season under Maccagnan in 2015. However, the Jets suffered three consecutive losing seasons with a 14-34 record since then.
In true Jets fashion, the team waited until after the draft to relieve their bumbling GM of his duties. Maccagnan, who has a terrible history with draft picks, is the same guy who picked Christian Hackenberg with the 51st pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Hackenberg was traded and cut by multiple teams. He even struggled to find a job in the now defunct AAF.
The Jets picked DT Quinnen Williams from Alabama with the third overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, but the rest of their draft haul left fans scratching their heads. As one NYC tabloid newspaper wrote, “The Jets acquired a big Q and five question marks.”
Maccagnan’s free agent acquisitions have also come under fire. The Jets also shot their load in free agency with at least $15 million in guaranteed money to four different players. CJ Mosely, Le’Veon Bell, Jamison Crowder, and Henry Anderson make up $120 million in guaranteed contracts. Maccagnan signed bell to a four year deal worth $52.5 million, but with $35 million guaranteed.
As bad as the New York Giants have screwed things up the last couple of seasons (between the Odell Beckham trade and drafting Daniel Jones), but their ineptitude pales in comparison to the Jets organization.
The Jets were 4-12 last season and regarded as the worst team in the NFL not named the Cardinals or Raiders. Head coach Todd Bowles got the ax rather quickly.
The Jets opted for a new direction and sought out an offensive-minded head coach instead of sticking with the Gang Green tradition of hiring defensive-minded coaches. The Jets hired Adam Gase, the ex-Dolphins coach, to become a quarterback whisperer to Sam Darnold. Gase helped rejuvenate a beat up Peyton Manning in Denver and he was regarded as the NFL’s Sean McVay before Sean McVay became a head coach.
Gase and Maccagnan argued from almost day one. There was no honeymoon period and the two clashed over the acquisition of Le’Veon Bell. Gase loved Bell as a player, but had issues with the lucrative contract that Maccagnan offered Bell. Bell will be the second-highest paid RB in the NFL earning $13.1 million a season. Gase thought it was too much money, not to mention they were on the hook for $35 million even if Bell got injured.
Both Gase and Maccagnan downplayed their division, but the rift grew wider and deeper during the draft and in the ensuing weeks.
Why Did You Wait So Long?
The Jets should have fired Maccagnan after the Hackenberg fiasco, yet they still kept him around. Maccagnan drafted three quarterbacks in four years with Bryce Petty and Hackenberg no longer on the team.
Second-round picks are the bread and butter of NFL teams, but Maccagnan’s second rounders have all been busts including Hackenberg, Devin Smith, and Marcus Maye.
Team owner Charles Johnson finally stepped in and sent Maccagnan packing. Johnson also fired vice president of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger, who was Maccagnan’s “yes man” and loyal #2.
“There’s never a good time to do this,” Johnson told reporters. “This is about more than one draft or one free agency, even two. As I educated myself about this process, it became more clear to me, the deeper I got in this building, it was time for a change and a time to move on.”
The Jets are considering Philadelphia Eagles exec Joe Douglas. NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah is also on the short list of replacements.
The Jets have a unique power structure in that both the head coach and general manager report director to the team owner. In a traditional structure, the head coach reports to the GM and the GM reports to the owner.
The Jets have a long history with screwing up the draft by selecting some of the biggest all-time NFL draft busts.
According to the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, the New York Jets are 70/1 odds to win the 2020 Super Bowl. In comparison, the New England Patriots are 7/1 odds to repeat, and the Kansas City Chiefs are 8/1 odds to win the title.