Joe Douglas

Extra Points: Michel, Jets, Eagles, Browns

Patriots running back Sony Michel missed the team’s minicamp following arthroscopic surgery on his knee. He is “progressing quickly” in his recovery and is reportedly running at “full tilt,” the NFL Network’s Mike Girardi tweets.

That’s a good sign for the second-year back, who sounds like he is on track to return to action when the team opens training camp in July.

A first-round pick in 2018, Michel impressed in his rookie campaign with 931 rushing yards and six touchdowns. He turned it up a notch in the postseason, adding another six rushing scores in New England’s run to a Super Bowl title.

Even if the Georgia product misses a little time, the Patriots should still be in good hands in the backfield. The team still boast James White and added Damien Harris, a running back from Alabama, in the draft in April.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • The Browns were deemed to have the best offseason, an ESPN NFL Nation post states. Each team was given a designation of elite, above average, average and too soon to tell, and Cleveland was the only squad to garner an elite ranking. The explanation for the lofty ranking was the team succeeding on its goal of surrounding second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield with talent at the skill positions with Odell Beckham and Kareem Hunt.
  • With Joe Douglas now with the Jets, the former Eagles vice president of player personnel could look to fortify his new squad with players from his old team, NBC Sports’ Dave Zangaro writes. Zangaro identifies 10 players who could be cut or have reduced roles in the coming weeks who Douglas could have his eyes on, three of which are in the secondary in cornerbacks Cre’Von LeBlanc and Josh Hawkins, and safety Deiondre’ Hall.

AFC Notes: Jets, Collins, Patriots, Colts

The Jets officially have a new regime in charge. After a lengthy search, New York settled on Joe Douglas to be their new general manager. The Douglas/Adam Gase partnership will certainly be an interesting one, and now all eyes are on how Douglas will proceed with the team. To predict how Douglas will manage the franchise, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com took a look back at his time in Philadelphia and the Eagles’ philosophy under Howie Roseman. Cimini came to several conclusions, including that Jets fans should “watch the early strike” and look for Douglas to wrap up cornerstone pieces aggressively.

Cimini notes the Eagles’ recent early extending of Carson Wentz as the latest example of that philosophy. He also writes that the Jets “have been lagging in this area,” and kicked the can down the road on many of their soon-to-be free agents like Leonard Williams and Robby Anderson. Cimini also has the scoop on some shuffling the Jets did in the front office, including promoting Greg Nejmeh to director of pro personnel. Cimini also writes that Douglas’ track record shows he’ll make the offensive line a priority. It’s “too late for a 2019 overhaul, but this will be one of the stories next offseason,” Cimini says. Keeping Sam Darnold upright is the most important thing for the team, so that would make a lot of sense.

Here’s more from the AFC on this quiet Sunday:

  • Speaking of the Jets, in the same piece, Cimini details what Douglas’ hiring means for some current members of the team. Cimini notes that Gase already got rid of a couple holdovers in Darron Lee and Jordan Leggett, and writes that “you can bet a few more of Mike Maccagnan’s former draft picks will be dropped in the coming months.” Specifically, he names wide receiver Charone Peake, running backs Elijah McGuire and Trenton Cannon, and defensive linemen Nathan Shepherd and Folorunso Fatukasi as among those in danger of being cut. The old coaching staff always swore by McGuire, but a lot of Todd Bowles’ favorites might find themselves on the outside looking in. Shepherd was the 72nd overall pick just last year, so his release would be particularly notable.
  • Jamie Collins was able to come back home when he signed with the Patriots a few weeks ago. The linebacker was drafted by the Pats in the second round back in 2013, and spent the first few years of his career there. He was traded to the Browns for a third round pick in 2016, and Cleveland gave him a massive extension. He never lived up to that deal, and he was released back in March. He only got $250K guaranteed from New England this time around, so many observers assumed he wouldn’t even be guaranteed a roster spot. Mike Reiss of ESPN.com was initially in that camp, but he’s changed his mind recently. After observing how they’ve used him in practice, Reiss now believes the Patriots “have significant plans for him as long as everything stays on course.” Reiss writes that he’s been practicing as one of the team’s top linebackers, and that “the biggest tip-off was his presence as the top right guard on the punt protection unit.” It sounds like Collins is at the very least a good bet to make the team, and could potentially earn back a large role on defense.
  • The Colts raised some eyebrows when they drafted Ben Banogu back in April. Indy took the pass-rusher in the second round, 49th overall. That was higher than many analysts had him pegged, as Lance Zierlein of NFL.com had him stamped with a fourth or fifth round grade. The Colts bet big on his excellent athleticism, and they’ve been experimenting with how to use it. They started him off as a SAM linebacker this offseason, but have been using him at defensive end more frequently recently, according to Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star. The Colts’ defense took a huge step forward last season, and they’re hoping Banogu can help them continue that with his physical traits and speed.

Jets Notes: Douglas, Powell, Darnold

We learned earlier today that NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah wouldn’t be joining Joe Douglas‘s staff in New York, but the Jets’ new GM could look to another TV analyst. ESPN’s Todd McShay told ESPN’s Rich Cimini that he’s under consideration for a front office role (Twitter link).

“Joe is considering multiple options and I’m one of the options,” McShay said.

The two go far back, as Douglas and McShay were teammates at the University of Richmond. The ESPN draft analyst is expected to meet with the general manager later this week.

Let’s check out some more notes coming out of New York…

  • Count Sam Darnold among those who are excited to have Bilal Powell back in green. The Jets announced yesterday that they re-signed the veteran running back to a one-year deal. “Great to have BP back,” Darnold told Cimini (Twitter link). “Can’t wait to get to work with him. I haven’t seen him in a while, so it’s going to be nice to just be able to see him. BP is a great guy and obviously a great player, so it’s great to have him back.” Cleared from a scary neck injury that was believed at one point to be a career-threatening malady, Powell will now be preparing for his ninth season in New York. The 30-year-old finished the 2018 season with 11 receptions for 110 yards and one touchdown in seven games (seven starts). He also added 343 rushing yards on 80 carries.
  • Darnold was also optimistic about the team’s hiring of Douglas. “I know that he’s done great things with the Eagles,” Darnold told Cimini (Twitter link). “Every other place he’s been, he’s done a great job, as well. Looking forward to working with him and seeing what he can do for our team.” It’s worth noting that Darnold and Douglas are both represented by agent Jimmy Sexton (along with head coach Adam Gase).
  • Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman released a statement regarding the hiring of the Eagles’ former vice president of player personnel. “We want to thank Joe Douglas for his contributions to our organization,” Roseman said. “We will miss Joe personally and professionally…He’s a tireless worker who played an integral role in helping to construct our Super Bowl-winning roster. He deserves this opportunity and the Jets are lucky to have him as their GM just like we were to have him in Philadelphia.”
  • It sounds like Gase will already have a task for Douglas. The head coach told Brian Costello of the New York Post that the team is thin at cornerback. “I think we’re thin at more than just corner,” Gase said. “There’s some other spots where if we have some injuries, it could be an issue. That’s why we have to keep finding ways to create competition.” Trumaine Johnson, Darryl Roberts and Brian Poole are currently slotted in as the team’s starting cornerbacks.
  • Either way, Gase is confident that the organization can find another defensive back as other teams begin trimming their rosters. “You kind of get in the middle of June and all of a sudden some guys get cut free due to salary issues, you get the waiver wire, you’ll just always comb that thing, see if you can create competition whether it’s a corner or at any other position,” Gase said. “That’s why the pro department’s got to do a great job going through, you know, when we get closer to those cuts and training camp, of just keeping their eyes open, and then you always have to be alert for if any trades pop up. I mean, you just never know the amount of phone calls that go in and out between organizations. It’s a lot more than what people realize sometimes, and we just have to be ready to be aggressive if we need to be.”

Reactions, Notes On Joe Douglas Hiring

Yesterday, the Jets succeeded in hiring their top GM target, as the organization inked Joe Douglas to a six-year contract. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets that their new GM will earn $3MM per year. This is a significant increase over the team’s initial $1.5MM offer, but Douglas’ refusal to immediately accept the gig forced the Jets to up the ante.

The $3MM salary isn’t outrageous for a first-time general manager, as top executives usually take in around $4MM annually. On the flip side, it isn’t chump change, and the modest monetary investment implies that Jets ownership is willing to give their new GM a relatively long leash.

Let’s check out some more notes out of New York…

  • We heard yesterday that Douglas had turned down multiple Jets overtures, but the organization continued to be aggressive. According to SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano, the negotiations took several days, and there was some pessimism that Douglas would end up returning to the Eagles. Ultimately, the Jets were apparently willing to meet their new GM’s monetary demands.
  • However, it sounds like money wasn’t the only factor that gave Douglas some pause. Mehta reports that the executive also had some concerns about Jets ownership and “control/reporting elements of the job.” Ultimately, Douglas was enticed by the presence of Sam Darnold, an up-and-coming roster, and enough money to add talented front-office executives. Mehta notes that the signing also “completed a hat trick” for agent Jimmy Sexton. The agent represents Douglas, Darnold, and head coach Adam Gase.
  • Speaking of front office candidates, Jason La Canfora points to former Browns general manager Phil Savage and Ravens exec Chad Alexander as executives who could join Douglas’s staff. NFL.com’s Gil Brandt tweets that Douglas wanted NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah to join him in New York, but that won’t end up happening.
  • ESPN’s Rich Cimini believes this is “a very good hire” by the team, but the writer also questions whether the executive is “ready for the Jets.” Cimini points to the organization’s lack of stability, inexperienced ownerships (with CEO Christopher Johnson is charge), and “backroom politics.” However, the most important factor will be the relationship between Douglas and Gase; if the GM and head coach clash, Cimini believes the Jets will have “no chance” at succeeding.

Jets Hire Joe Douglas As General Manager

The favorite ended up winning out. On one of the most action-packed June Fridays in recent NFL history, the Jets named Joe Douglas their next general manager. While Douglas beat out three other candidates, he was the frontrunner from the start. The Jets will make a six-year commitment to Douglas, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

Howie Roseman will lose one of his top lieutenants, with Douglas having served as the Eagles’ VP of player personnel since 2016. Adam Gase has been believed to have preferred Douglas since Mike Maccagnan‘s ouster. The two worked together with the 2015 Bears, when Douglas served as their college scouting director while Gase was Chicago’s OC. Prior to that, Douglas spent 15 years in the Ravens’ personnel department.

Gase, who served as Jets interim GM, will cede 53-man roster control to Douglas, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com tweets. Both will report to CEO Christopher Johnson.

This comes at an interesting time. The Texans fired Brian Gaine on Friday afternoon, and with the team having attempted to interview Douglas for that post last year, it stood to reason the AFC South franchise would try again. The Jets and Douglas were believed to be apart on salary, with CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora tweeting a chasm of around $1MM per year existed. But we now have a June day featuring two GM moves, an obviously uncommon NFL occurrence.

Douglas, 42, becomes the Jets’ fourth GM in the past eight years, following Maccagnan (2015-19), John Idzik (2013-14) and Mike Tannenbaum (2006-12).

Douglas certainly appears to have resisted the Jets’ initial overtures, with Schefter reporting (via Twitter) he repeatedly turned the team down. But the Jets continued their aggressive pursuit. This comes a few days after a report surfaced about some candidates being leery of the Jets’ atypical ownership situation. Christopher Johnson is working as CEO while Jets owner Woody Johnson serves as an ambassador in the Trump administration. A six-year deal would cover any amount of time the president would serve in office, though as the Texans showed earlier today by cutting bait on Gaine’s five-year deal after one season, long-term pacts are tenuous. But the team appears to have made an effort to help assuage any concerns about its ownership status.

Breaking into the NFL as a scout for the Super Bowl champion 2000 Ravens, Douglas also played a key role in helping the franchise win its second Lombardi trophy. He brought Joe Flacco‘s name to Ozzie Newsome, per Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Douglas has been part of three Super Bowl champions.

The Jets have not been to a Super Bowl in 51 years and have missed the past seven AFC playoff brackets. They are the only team to have failed to win six games in each of the past three seasons. Their most recent coach-GM experiment deteriorated rapidly. Gase and Maccagnan differed on some 2019 decisions, most notably the Le’Veon Bell contract, and that led to an awkward draft. But the first-year Jets HC will likely have more confidence in Douglas. Interestingly, with Douglas now signed up, he, Gase and Sam Darnold share an agent (Jimmy Sexton).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Jets, Lindsay, Eagles, Contracts

Carson Wentz‘s contract obviously won the NFL’s Thursday news cycle (and likely this week’s). Here is the latest from the non-Wentz corners of the league:

  • Joe Douglas probably remains the favorite for the Jets‘ GM job, but SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano cautions that a surprise hire is not out of the question. Adding to the Scott Fitterer buzz that formed this week, Vacchiano writes Douglas is not a “slam dunk” to land this job. Additionally, the follow-up phone conversations the Jets had with each of the four candidates centered around salary, staffing and the interviewees’ interest level in the position. A report Wednesday indicated some of the candidates were concerned about the team’s unusual ownership situation.
  • Nearly six months removed from the wrist injury that ended his season in Week 16, Phillip Lindsay remains limited in Broncos workouts. However, the expectation is the Pro Bowl running back will be full-go by training camp, per Vic Fangio (via The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala, on Twitter). Lindsay, who underwent surgery in December, was supposed to have a three- or four-month recovery timetable. But the second-year back has resumed catching passes — seemingly a sign he will be ready to go when Broncos camp begins July 17.
  • The Raiders’ Dwayne Joseph hire forced the Eagles to reorganize their pro scouting department. Previous Joseph deputy Brandon Brown will replace Joseph as the team’s pro scouting director, Zach Berman of Philly.com tweets. The Eagles hired Max Gruder to fill Brown’s former job, assistant director of pro scouting. Gruder previously served as a Dolphins scout.
  • Throughout this CBA’s now-nine-year duration, third-round picks have been slower to agree to their deals than most of their fellow draftees. Nineteen remain unsigned as of Thursday night. The CBA’s vague language applies to the second, third and fourth years of third-rounders’ contracts, Albert Breer of SI.com notes, adding that the amount teams and agents haggle over is usually between $3-$4K over the deal’s life. That’s quality minutia.

AFC East Notes: Jets, Patriots, Mayo, Bills

While it is not known when the Jets will make their GM decision, they do appear to be done interviewing candidates. The four executives the Jets spoke toJoe Douglas (Eagles), Scott Fitterer (Seahawks), Champ Kelly (Bears) and Terry Fontenot (Saints) — remain in contention, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets (video link) the team has since discussed salary expectations with the candidates. These follow-up talks occurred Tuesday night, per ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). The favorite since this process started, Douglas has not done anything to remove himself from that perch, but Fitterer has gained steam after a strong interview, Rapoport adds.

These meetings may have also been for the benefit of the candidates, with Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweeting multiple interviewees are concerned about the Jets’ atypical ownership situation. CEO Christopher Johnson is working in brother Woody Johnson‘s place, with the latter having accepted an ambassador position with the Trump administration. Woody Johnson will sign off on this GM pick, Mehta adds.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • A Patriots contingency plan for if presumptive left tackle Isaiah Wynn is not ready: perhaps Joe Thuney sliding over one spot. The Patriots’ fourth-year left guard worked with their first-string offense at left tackle Wednesday, according to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe (subscription required). Brian Schwenke and Ted Karras have been rotating at left guard during Pats minicamp. A 2016 third-round pick, Thuney has started every game at left guard since entering the league. Wynn, a 2018 first-rounder who tore his Achilles’ tendon during camp last year, is not yet ready for team drills.
  • Bill Belichick is expected to call Patriots defensive plays this season, but the team is using minicamp to try out some other possibilities. First-year full-time assistant Jerod Mayo was calling Pats plays for a second straight day at minicamp, according to Howe. The Patriots hired their former linebacker as assistant inside ‘backers coach this offseason, and Howe adds the 33-year-old calling plays during the season is now a “serious possibility.”
  • Quinnen Williams sustained a calf injury recently and will be limited for the rest of Jets minicamp, Adam Gase said (via Mehta), calling it a scare. However, the No. 3 overall pick is expected to resume full work when the team, interestingly, holds another OTA session next week.
  • Former Buccaneers seventh-round pick Stevie Tu’ikolovatu worked out for the Bills on Wednesday, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com tweets. The former USC defensive tackle has not played since being drafted, with injuries keeping him off the field.
  • One of the Dolphins‘ 18 priority free agent signings hit the waiver wire Tuesday. The Dolphins parted ways with cornerback Tyler Horton (Boise State) via left-squad designation, veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer notes (on Twitter).

AFC East Notes: Jets, Harry, Harris

Let’s take a quick swing around the AFC East:

  • Rich Cimini of ESPN.com says the Jets may have their new GM by the end of the week, and in keeping with all other reports we’ve heard to date, he says that Eagles VP of player personnel Joe Douglas is expected to be the guy. Gang Green began their meeting with Douglas last night, and the visit is continuing today.
  • Cimini says the weakest position group on the Jets‘ roster may be the cornerbacks. The position was suspect last year, and New York did little to address those deficiencies this offseason. The free agent cupboard is predictably pretty bare at this point, but the team could still reunite with Morris Claiborne, and the Jets will surely be on the lookout for other clubs’ cap casualties.
  • The Patriots have typically deployed smaller, shiftier players as their punt returners, but Mike Reiss of ESPN.com says the club has tried first-round draft pick N’Keal Harry (6-2, 228) in that role during OTAs. Reiss says Harry, who returned 14 punts over his final two collegiate seasons — including a 92-yard house call — has acquitted himself well thus far.
  • Dolphins 2017 first-rounder Charles Harris finds himself at the top of the team’s edge rusher depth chart despite his disappointing performance over his first two years in the league. But as Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com writes, new head coach Brian Flores is encouraged by what he has seen thus far. This offseason, Harris has spent more time upright as an OLB instead of with his hand in the dirt as a traditional 4-3 DE, and that may better suit his strengths. Flores said, “I can’t say enough good things about [Harris]. … Honestly, I don’t care about his past. I care about right now. … He’s smart. He’s hard-working. He’s got a lot of ability.” If Harris does not begin to live up to his potential, he may not be in Miami in 2020.
  • We wrote earlier today that the Dolphins hope to trade Reshad Jones.

Extra Points: CBA, Jets GM Search, Wilkerson, Ravens

Fears of a potential future lockout picked up again earlier this week, when we learned the NFLPA was telling agents to advise their clients to save money in the event of a work stoppage in 2021, when the current CBA expired. Turns out, things might not be so dire after all. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports wrote about that leak, as well as the recent rumors the league would push for an 18-game regular season, and he thinks it’s all performative. La Canfora writes that both sides have to publicly posture, and that “no one wants to give off the air they are rolling over too much.”

La Canfora hears that preliminary negotiations are actually going very well, noting that the NFL and NFLPA “seem more aligned than anytime in recent memory.” In regards to an 18-game schedule or work stoppage, he says he’s “yet to speak to anyone on either side who envisioned either of these scenarios actually playing out.” One source told La Canfora that “everyone involved in this process feels really good about the negotiations.” Interestingly, La Canfora predicts that an “extra playoff game will be added to each conference,” and roster sizes will be expanded when it’s all said and done.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Jets’ general manager search continues to barrel on, but a resolution seems increasingly near. Eagles exec Joe Douglas has been viewed as the favorite for a while now, and La Canfora goes even further. In the same piece, La Canfora writes that “sources said there was already some contact between those parties prior to Douglas’ scheduled formal interview, and people in other front offices would be shocked if he does not take this job.” He adds that Douglas “will be the team’s next general manager barring some unforeseen breakdown between the sides.” La Canfora also scoops that if things do unexpectedly go sideways in the negotiations, “then Chicago exec Champ Kelly, who also has a prior relationship with Adam Gase, is viewed as the next in line.”
  • We found out earlier tonight that free agent Muhammad Wilkerson had been arrested and charged with DWI, and now we have more details. Wilkerson admitted to drinking, telling officers he “had one shot and two beers,” per Rebecca Rosenberg and Larry Celona of the New York Post. Wilkerson had some tough luck, as he was just barely over the legal limit. Wilkerson apparently had a BAC of .09, only slightly above the legal limit of .08. It’s unclear if that will help with his potential discipline from the league, but it could potentially earn him some leniency.
  • We have an update on the Ravens’ two rookie wide receivers, courtesy of Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic (Twitter link). First round pick Marquise Brown is still recovering from his Lisfranc foot surgery, and “training camp remains the hope for his return.” Initially the hope was minicamp back in March, but that turned out not to be the case. Meanwhile the Ravens’ third round pick, Miles Boykin, is dealing with a hamstring strain, and Zrebiec writes he “should be getting closer to return.” Boykin and Brown are the only two of the Ravens’ draft picks not to sign yet, although that’s likely not related to their respective injuries. Still, it’s not great that they’re having to miss significant portions of their first offseason.

East Rumors: Norman, Jets, Dolphins

As teams continue studying their respective rosters during OTA sessions, here is where some of the franchises in the East divisions stand:

  • While Josh Norman has not lived up to the contract that pays him $15MM per year, the Redskins do not appear to be planning anything radical regarding his employment. The team has not engaged in discussions on a possible post-June 1 Norman release, J.P. Finlay of NBC Sports Washington writes. Washington would save $11MM by cutting the 31-year-old cornerback, who graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 50 corner last season, but old-school post-June 1 releases do not occur often anymore. The Redskins’ corner corps would obviously take a hit without Norman. Two seasons remain on Norman’s deal.
  • The Jets wrapped up their interview with Saints exec Terry Fontenot. They will begin their Joe Douglas meetings tonight and continue them on Sunday, per ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini (on Twitter). Douglas remains Adam Gase‘s preferred hire, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets, adding there does not seem to be a big chance CEO Christopher Johnson goes in a different direction.
  • Mark Walton is facing three pending legal cases but remains in contention for a Dolphins backup job. Two of the running back’s hearings will occur this week. In one of those, a Wednesday matter that overlaps with Dolphins minicamp, his attorney will be making a court appearance for him to allow the embattled ex-Bengal to practice with his new team, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald notes. Walton is trying to secure Miami’s No. 3 running back job, behind Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage. Miami drafted Washington alum Myles Gaskin in Round 7 and picked up former Chargers back Kenneth Farrow earlier this year.
  • In addition to the ACL tear Reuben Foster suffered, the former first-round pick also must rehab LCL damage.
  • Ezekiel Elliott‘s run-in with a security officer at a Las Vegas concert could produce another suspension for the Cowboys’ two-time rushing champion.