5 Key Stories: 5/12/19 – 5/19/19

Jets allow Mike Maccagnan to run wild in free agency, then fire him: Maccagnan’s four-plus-year run as Jets GM ended this week after CEO Christopher Johnson picked Adam Gase in an apparent power struggle. Given the fifth year that Todd Bowles wasn’t, Maccagnan doled out north of $175MM in contracts for the second straight offseason. One of those dealsLe’Veon Bell‘s — did not go over well with Gase, nor did Maccagnan’s limiting of his HC’s pre-draft input. New GM candidates have emerged, with Eagles exec Joe Douglas and NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah the top names, but Gase may end the offseason with 53-man roster control. It does not look like Peyton Manning will be a candidate.

Jets trade Darron Lee; is Leonard Williams next?: One of Maccagnan’s many underperforming draft picks, Lee is now a Chief. Gase quickly unloaded the former first-round pick for a 2020 sixth-rounder. The Jets passed on Lee’s fifth-year option. While a Lee move could be expected, with C.J. Mosley and Avery Williamson entrenched as starters, Gase may have his eye on a higher-profile trade. Williams has now been mentioned as a player the interim GM would be interested in moving.

Patrick Peterson receives six-game ban: The Cardinals’ surefire All-Decade cornerback will have a tough time extending his Pro Bowl streak to nine seasons after this suspension, which is for a positive PED test. No appeal is coming, so the Cardinals will go well into October without their best player. Peterson, whose contract runs through 2020, also asked for guaranteed money to be moved into this season — perhaps to compensate for losses during this suspension. Steve Keim denied the request. This ban will void the remaining guarantees in Peterson’s deal.

Long, Levitre hang up their cleats: The Eagles’ defensive line became thinner Saturday; the former No. 2 overall pick retired rather than play a 12th season. One of the NFL’s top statesmen, Long enjoyed a rather notable late-career run. After nine playoff-less seasons in St. Louis, Long landed on back-to-back Super Bowl champions — playing auxiliary edge rusher roles with the Patriots and Eagles. The 34-year-old pass rusher also donated his entire 2017 salary to charity. Levitre retired after 10 seasons. The Falcons released him this offseason. Levitre’s career broke down rather interestingly. The Titans gave the former Bills draft choice a massive free agent deal in 2013, but he only played two years in Tennessee. Instead, Levitre resurfaced in Atlanta and played four seasons. The upper-echelon guard started in Super Bowl LI against Long’s Patriots.

Two reunions commence for UFA defenders: Both Jamie Collins and Pernell McPhee will return to where it began for them as NFLers, with Collins making his way back to the Patriots and McPhee rejoining the Ravens. The Pats shipped Collins to the Browns during their Super Bowl LI season, and he went on to sign what was then a high-water contract for off-ball linebackers. The Browns removed that deal from their books this year, and the former Patriots second-rounder spent more than two months in free agency. McPhee has struggled with injuries since his first Ravens run concluded, but after stints with the Bears and Redskins, the versatile linebacker will supply some depth to a Baltimore team that lost Mosley and Terrell Suggs in March. The Ravens also signed Shane Ray.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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