It’s been 10 days since the Jets suddenly fired general manager Mike Maccagnan, leaving a major hole atop their front office. Yesterday, we finally got some clarity on definitive candidates, as the organization requested interviews with Eagles executive Joe Douglas and Bears assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly.
Following reports of tension between Maccagnan and head coach Adam Gase, Kelly would seemingly be a good choice. The two have a history that dates back to their tenures with the Broncos, with Denver earning four division titles during Kelly’s five seasons as Assistant Director of Pro Personnel. Kelly also played a role in signing eight veteran free agents who would go on to earn Pro Bowl nods with the Broncos.
The executive has spent the past four years with the Bears, including the last two as the team’s Assistant Director of Player Personnel. In this role, Kelly has directed both Chicago’s pro personnel and college scouting departments. Kelly was one of the Fritz Pollard Alliance’s recommended GM candidates this offseason, but he didn’t get an interview in the thick of the cycle.
Despite Gase’s connection to Kelly, Douglas is reportedly his top choice for the position. Douglas spent the past three seasons as the Eagles’ vice president of player personnel, and he played a major role in constructing the Super Bowl LII-winning roster. Douglas had a brief stint with the Bears in 2015 after having spent the previous 16 years with the Ravens. Douglas is expected to be choosy when it comes to his next opportunity. Many pundits are questioning the Jets’ power structure given the timing and nature of Maccagnan’s firing, so it’s uncertain if Douglas would be willing to take on the challenge.
Besides Kelly and Douglas, the Jets have also been connected to Peyton Manning. Following Maccagnan’s firing, there were rumblings that the Jets were eyeing the future Hall of Fame quarterback for the open GM gig. However, subsequent reports have indicated that the notion of Manning becoming the Jets’ GM is “unrealistic,” with a source stating that being an NFL GM is “not a job he seems to want.”
Of course, there’s also Gase, who earned the interim GM tag following Maccagnan’s ouster. The head coach has been relatively busy since taking on the job; he’s moved on from a pair of former draft picks (tight end Jordan Leggett and linebacker Darron Lee), and he’s added wideout Deonte Thompson. There were reports that Gase was opposed to Le’Veon Bell‘s lucrative contract, and the organization’s apparent trust in their head coach indicates that he’ll surely have a say in future transactions (assuming he doesn’t maintain the GM role).
There are a number of additional candidates who could emerge in the coming days. We learned earlier this week that Gase would be receptive to a number of GM hires, including the 49ers’ Adam Peters and the Lions’ Lance Newmark. Additionally, Jets ownership is believed to “think highly” of Vikings exec George Paton.
So that brings us to today’s question: who should Christoper Johnson hire as the team’s next GM? Should they bring on Douglas, Kelly, or another executive from outside the organization? Should they take a flyer on Manning, who has no front office experience? Should they allow Gase to maintain control over the 53-man roster?
Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.