Joe Douglas

Jets Likely To Roll Over Most Of Their Cap Space?

As Rich Cimini of ESPN.com observes, the Jets are second in the league with roughly $25MM of cap space, and they will still be in good shape after signing their top four draft picks (which will result in a $9.1MM cap charge). That $25MM figure does not include the cap savings the team will realize from guard Alex Lewisrecent paycut, and New York could create still more room if it’s able to hammer out an extension with franchise-tagged safety Marcus Maye. Even if that doesn’t happen, GM Joe Douglas will have a ton of flexibility.

However, Cimini gets the sense that while Douglas may acquire a veteran or two to fill a specific need, he will not make any major moves. Instead, Douglas will be perfectly content to roll the bulk of his unused dollars into 2022. And if the cap takes the massive spike that was recently reported, the Jets could be armed with around $80MM to attack the first wave of free agency next year. Douglas would obviously love to see his club take a step forward in its rebuild in 2021, which might allow him to be more aggressive next offseason than he has been to date.

Cimini’s report is not terribly surprising, as there just aren’t many big-money additions to be made at this point in the league year. The Jets are not in the mix for the top two trade candidates at the moment, Aaron Rodgers and Julio Jones, and while another edge rusher like Everson Griffen might make sense, such a transaction won’t have a major impact on the team’s cap.

Cimini does believe the club must add a cornerback. New head coach Robert Saleh might be interested in reuniting with Richard Sherman, though Cimini believes that is highly unlikely to happen, which leaves Steven Nelson as the best FA option at the moment. Of course, a player could always become available via cut or trade.

A veteran QB is also a must-add, in Cimini’s estimation. The Jets did make a run at Brian Hoyer before he elected to rejoin the Patriots, and like several of his fellow Jets beat writers, Cimini thinks a post-June 1 trade for Bears QB Nick Foles makes plenty of sense.

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Jets Notes: Douglas, Darnold, Wilson

Joe Douglas didn’t take the Sam Darnold trade lightly, and the Jets GM acknowledged how difficult it was telling the quarterback that he had been traded to the Panthers.

“[T]he swallow-hard moment for me was just making that call to Sam,” Douglas told SI’s Albert Breer. “You know how much work and dedication he’s put in the last three years here, how many rough situations he’s been through, and never wavered with his confidence. Still, when we had the call, I know in his heart of hearts that he feels he was the right guy to turn this franchise around. I just have so much admiration for how he carries himself.”

During the interview with Breer, Douglas revealed that the front office took their time determining how to proceed at quarterback. While the team would have normally completed their scouting much earlier in the offseason, they didn’t get a chance to see the top quarterback prospects in person until late March. Eventually, the organization decided that they’d feel comfortable taking a signal-caller with the No. 2 pick.

“I don’t know how every team approaches a quarterback [evaluation], but I’ve always thought it was a golden rule—you don’t ever take a quarterback until you stand near or next to a guy and watch him throw the football,” Douglas said. “None of the top brass were able to get out to a BYU game this year. There were no all-star games, no combine. You could see Mac Jones at the Senior Bowl. But other than that, your only opportunity to stand there and watch them throw was at a pro day.”

We explored some of the GM’s other soundbites earlier tonight, including the fact that the Jets had a competitive offer for Darnold earlier in the offseason.

Some more notes out of New York:

  • Joseph Person and Connor Hughes of The Athletic provided a detailed timeline of the Darnold trade, dating back to Jets season-ending loss to the Patriots in early January. Among the notable revelations from the article was the fact that the Panthers starting offer for the quarterback was a fourth-round pick, while the Jets were initially requesting a first-rounder (even if it was conditional). Douglas considered holding out until after the draft in pursuit of that first, but he ultimately decided to avoid the risk of the Panthers pivoting to a rookie or another veteran quarterback.
  • BYU quarterback Zach Wilson is the favorite to be selected second overall by the Jets. Wilson underwent shoulder surgery back in 2019, but NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that the team continues to have no concern about the shoulder, especially after they got positive news from a recent physical. Based on advice from “trusted medical sources,” the organization has “zero issues about Wilson’s shoulder,” per RapSheet.
  • The 2020 sixth-round pick that the Panthers sent to the Jets in the Darnold trade is a compensatory selection, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini (on Twitter). That pick comes in at No. 226 overall.
  • We learned earlier tonight that the Jets re-signed cornerback Bennett Jackson. The 2014 sixth-rounder didn’t appear in a regular season game until the 2019 season, when he appeared in six games with the Jets and Ravens. He appeared in four games this past season for New York, collecting a single tackle.

Jets GM Joe Douglas On Draft, QBs, Darnold

The Jets made one of the biggest moves of the offseason on Monday, trading Sam Darnold to the Panthers. Rather than shying away from the splashy deal, New York GM Joe Douglas gave a press conference on Tuesday to update the media. At that press conference, he made several interesting revelations. You can read most of those revelations in full courtesy of this Twitter thread from Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.

Perhaps most interestingly, Douglas said that the Jets weren’t looking to move on from Darnold at all costs. In fact, he said if they didn’t have the second overall pick, Darnold would’ve been returning for a fourth year in New York. “Having the No. 2 pick, I think it’s safe to say if our pick was a little bit later we wouldn’t be having this discussion right now. We’d be comfortable moving ahead with Sam,” he explained.

When asked if the team was locked in on taking a quarterback at number two, he didn’t try to obfuscate too much. “I think that’s a fair assessment to say,” he replied. Douglas said the team did consider keeping both Darnold and a rookie on the roster, like Josh McCown and others floated recently, but ultimately decided it wouldn’t have been good for the locker room.

Douglas declined to name a specific quarterback the team is after, although they’re now widely expected to take BYU’s Zach Wilson. He also seemed to indicate that Darnold’s impending price tag (the Panthers will pay him $18.9MM in 2022 by picking up his fifth-year option) was a factor.

We felt ultimately at the end of the day this was an opportunity to hit the reset button financially, so to speak,” Douglas said. Wilson will be pretty cheap for a handful of years on a rookie deal. While he didn’t explicitly confirm that’s where the team is looking, he may as well have. He was asked about Steve Young recently saying the team was committed to taking Wilson. To that, Douglas replied “Steve’s plugged in to BYU pretty well.”

He also said the team is “very excited” about 2020 fourth-round pick James Morgan, who could potentially backup Wilson. It sounds like the Jets could forego a veteran backup and roll with a very young quarterback room in 2021.

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Jets To Make ‘Waves’ In Free Agency?

Free agency is right around the corner, and tonight is like Christmas Eve for NFL fans. The real action will start in the morning, but we’re already starting to get reports about what’s to come. The more we hear, the more it sounds like the Jets are going to be big players in what will be a very interesting market due to the lowering of the salary cap.

We already heard the Jets will pursue Patriots guard Joe Thuney, and that apparently isn’t the only big target they’re interested in. The expectation from sources around the league is that the Jets will “make waves” in free agency, Connor Hughes of The Athletic tweets. GM Joe Douglas is apparently ready to be a big spender, and “there is absolutely no financial restriction on Douglas this offseason,” Hughes writes.

Hughes goes on to say Douglas “has means & green light to build team however he wants. That means pursuing top-tier FAs and giving them top-tier $, if he wants.” In a separate tweet, Hughes says one source told him the Jets “want the big guys.” When asked whether that meant size or money, he replied “both.”

Thuney would certainly fit both of those criteria. Finally, Hughes tweets that while Douglas will be “aggressive,” he won’t be reckless, and that he’ll have “his walk-away numbers.” One source told Hughes that “Joe doesn’t do desperate.”

Jets GM Joe Douglas On Sam Darnold, Coaching Search, Offseason

When speaking to the media at his end of year press conference, Dolphins GM Chris Grier took the opportunity to commit to Tua Tagovailoa as his starting quarterback. Jets GM Joe Douglas opted not to do the same with Sam Darnold.

Douglas was steadfastly non-committal, saying “we have a lot of decisions to make” when asked if Darnold would be the team’s quarterback in 2021, via Connor Hughes of The Athletic (Twitter link). Hughes notes that Douglas did say he had a good conversation with Darnold on Monday, and that he thinks the former second overall pick has a “bright future.” Additionally, Douglas said he thinks Darnold is going to be a “great quarterback,” but wouldn’t commit to him because he doesn’t have a coach yet, Brian Costello of the New York Post tweets.

We heard just recently that the Jets plan on either trading Darnold or the second pick in the 2021 draft to a team looking to take a quarterback, so don’t expect them to stand pat and add an offensive lineman or weapon for Darnold. Speaking of that coaching search, Douglas said the team is going to cast a “very wide net,” and will consider coaches from the college ranks with no NFL experience.

They’re looking at candidates on both sides of the ball, and just yesterday requested interviews with a couple of young defensive coordinators. Of course, quarterback isn’t the only thing Douglas needs to shore up this offseason. To that end, Douglas said re-signing impending free agent safety Marcus Maye is a “priority” for him.

Maye started 16 games each of the last two seasons, and missed only a couple of defensive snaps this year. The 2017 second-round pick just played out the end of his rookie deal and is surely looking to cash in. We heard back in November that Maye could seek a deal in the range of $7MM annually. The Jets discussed trading him this past offseason, but clearly the team wants him back after his strong campaign.

One last note just to ruffle some feathers of Jets fans, Douglas said that firing head coach Adam Gase was a difficult decision for him. “This was hard for me. I know people outside this building, they may not see it at this time, but he did some really good things here that will help us moving forward,” Douglas said via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

GM Notes: Colts, Ballard, Jets, Douglas, Broncos, Kelly, Texans, Khan, Jaguars, Fontenot

We’ve been passing along a ton of notes on GM interviews and searches, so we thought we’d switch things up a little bit with a couple of non-vacancy related GM items. First off, Colts GM Chris Ballard has done a great job leading Indy through some bumpy times, and it sounds like he’s about to be rewarded. The Colts intend on extending his contract, which runs through May of 2022, before training camp starts in July, owner Jim Irsay told Zak Keefer of The Athletic. Head coach Frank Reich is under contract longer so his situation isn’t as pressing, but Irsay also told Keefer that Reich isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, which obviously isn’t surprising.

Even after Josh McDaniels famously backed out of taking the head coaching job at the last minute, and even after Andrew Luck retired right before the start of last season, Ballard has done a commendable job keeping things steady and under control. He’s also made some great middle round draft picks, his blockbuster trade for DeForest Buckner has worked out really well, and his bold move to sign Philip Rivers this offseason resulted in an 11-5 record and a playoff berth. The Colts have a few question marks, but things seem well set up for the future, and Ballard will be the architect for a long time it sounds like.

Here’s more from front offices around the league:

  • The Jets fired Adam Gase this week, and when they hire a new head coach, there could be a change in the hierarchy to go with it. Recently Jets coaches and GMs have both reported directly to owners/chairman Woody and Christopher Johnson, which has led to a fair bit of drama and chaos. Now with Joe Douglas as GM, that might no longer be the case. Christopher raved about Douglas during his end of year media availability, and said “a change in structure is under consideration, no question,” meaning the new head coach may work under Douglas and report to him, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY tweets. It looks like Douglas is cementing his grip on power in the building this offseason, and the new head coach might not have as much clout within the building as guys like Gase, Todd Bowles, and Rex Ryan did.
  • Ok, now back to interviews. As soon as the Broncos announced their major shakeup yesterday with John Elway hiring a GM and giving up roster control, people highlighted Champ Kelly as a name to watch. Kelly, currently an exec with the Bears, was in Denver from 2007-14. Now the interest is official, as the team has requested an interview with him, Mike Klis of Denver 9 News tweets. It’s early in the process, but by all accounts Kelly is one of the favorites for the job. The most interesting thing to come out of this search though might be the dynamic between the new GM and Elway, who will still be lingering over the whole operation as president of football ops. It has the potential to get messy.
  • The Texans continued their search as they start from scratch in the post-Bill O’Brien era, interviewing Steelers exec Omar Khan on Monday. Khan has been in Pittsburgh in various roles since all the way back in 2001, and currently serves as their chief contract negotiator. He’s received a bit of GM buzz in the past, but not a ton.
  • Meanwhile, the Jaguars have requested to interview Saints assistant GM Terry Fontenot, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. We’ve already heard that Fontenot will interview with the Lions and Falcons, so he appears to be a hot candidate this time around. We heard yesterday that Fontenot is a “very strong” candidate for the Detroit job.

Jets GM: Adam Gase Is Part Of Solution

The Jets have a whole host of problems, but head coach Adam Gase isn’t among them, according to GM Joe Douglas. Gase, he says, is “part of the solution,” (Twitter link via Brian Costello of the New York Post). 

[RELATED: Latest On Darnold, Jets’ Plans]

Most Jets fans wouldn’t agree. The Jets are 0-8, mired in yet another lost season. Sunday’s game against the Chiefs was predictably brutal — the Jets lost by 26 points and did not manage a single touchdown. Making matters worse, starting quarterback Sam Darnold suffered a shoulder injury though, thankfully, his MRI did not reveal serious damage.

Things aren’t going to get much easier for Gase and Gang Green moving forward. Around the league, there’s little confidence that the Jets will keep Gase as their head coach, and increasing chatter about a potential plan to tank for Trevor Lawrence. At this rate, they’re looking at pretty great odds of landing the Clemson star, universally regarded as the top talent in the 2021 class. The Jets, of course, deny any tanking plans, but they look a sizable step towards the No. 1 pick this week by trading veteran linebacker Avery Williamson to the Steelers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Douglas, Pats, White

Jets head coach Adam Gase may soon receive his walking papers, and though the leash for GM Joe Douglas will be a bit longer, Douglas is not without blame for the club’s struggles over his first 16 months or so on the job. In a piece that colorfully recounts all of Douglas’ missteps, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News includes an interesting nugget indicating that Douglas nixed an impending agreement for free agent DB Logan Ryan — whom Douglas reportedly coveted — because he was unhappy that the agreement was leaked to the media.

To be fair, other reporters wrote that Ryan’s asking price was the real obstacle to the deal, and Mehta himself has noted on more than one occasion that Douglas is operating under owner-imposed financial constraints, so it’s unclear what actually prevented Ryan from joining Gang Green. And obviously the Jets would still look just as directionless with Ryan as they do without, but when Douglas’ body of work is laid out in black-and-white, one can understand any skepticism Jets fans might feel about the GM’s abilities.

Now for more from the AFC East:

  • Doug Kyed of NESN.com believes the Patriots should try to trade for a top-flight wide receiver. His piece was published before QB Cam Newton threw the ball all over the place in the team’s narrow loss to the Seahawks in Week 2, but in New England’s Week 3 triumph over the Raiders, it was clear that Newton could use another receiving threat. After posting eight catches for 179 yards against Seattle, Julian Edelman caught just two passes for 23 yards against Las Vegas, and the Pats want to reduce Edelman’s snap count. Meanwhile, N’Keal Harry is still coming into his own, and Damiere Byrd is hardly irreplaceable. Kyed believes a player like the Bears’ Allen Robinson would be a great fit, and that New England should not be hesitant to give up 2021 draft capital.
  • Prior to the Patriots‘ win over Las Vegas, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com suggested that Sony Michel needed a big game to keep his job as New England’s RB1, and Michel delivered. He reeled off 117 yards on just nine carries, though he and J.J. Taylor both had 11 touches and Rex Burkhead had 13 (three of which ended in touchdowns). As usual, it looks like the Pats will take a committee approach to their backfield, and the committee will become even more crowded when Damien Harris returns from IR. Still, it’s encouraging for New England that Michel, who has not exactly lived up to his status as a former first-rounder, looked as good as he did.
  • The Bills signed cornerback Tre’Davious White to a massive extension shortly before the season started, a deal that temporarily positioned him as the highest-paid CB in the league in terms of AAV ($17.25MM). But as Jason Wolf of the Buffalo News writes, some league observers believe Buffalo came out ahead in that deal, as Jalen Ramsey signed a five-year, $105MM extension shortly after the ink dried on White’s contract. The NFL world knew that Ramsey’s deal was coming soon, so pundits like Joel Corry of CBS Sports believe White could have gotten himself at least $19MM per year if he had been more patient, and that the Bills were wise to strike when they did. Of course, with $55MM in guaranteed money coming his way, most people won’t be too sad for White.

Jets Notes: Gase, Bell, Ngakoue

Earlier this week, there was yet another tense moment between Jets head coach Adam Gase and running back Le’Veon Bell. As Rich Cimini of ESPN.com details, Gase pulled Bell after two series during Wednesday’s scrimmage because of hamstring tightness. That prompted Bell to take to Twitter to say that there was nothing wrong with his hamstrings and that “it’s tough to stay loose when you do a bunch of standing around.”

Gase said that he spoke with Bell for a long time after the Twitter posts and that the two sides are on the same page. But as Cimini writes in a separate piece, the latest episode might not be the last one. Bell has reportedly had an unimpressive camp, and Gase has previously indicated he wants to reduce Bell’s workload in 2020. So Bell, who needs a productive season in order to avoid being cut — or to land a lucrative contract with another club — is unlikely to appreciate his fellow backs siphoning off his carries. It remains a situation ripe for future turmoil.

Now for more from Gang Green:

  • Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News has previously reported that GM Joe Douglas is under cash-flow restrictions imposed by Jets ownership, and he reiterated that report today. He says ownership gave Douglas a “hard time” after last year’s one-year, $8.4MM contract for Ryan Kalil didn’t pan out, and he also suggests that the club’s tight-fistedness prevented the team from pursuing Yannick Ngakoue, who was just traded to the Vikings (Twitter links).
  • On the other hand, the restraint that Douglas showed in free agency this offseason was generally lauded in light of the team’s recent history with splashy signings, so it’s difficult to say whether that restraint was due to a mandate from ownership or just a deliberately measured approach. And as Brian Costello of the New York Post tweets, the Jets were not hugely interested in Ngakoue to begin with given his struggles against the run and the fact that the deadline for an extension passed on July 15.
  • Backup QB Joe Flacco is eyeing a Week 3 return, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Jets signed the former Super Bowl MVP to back up Sam Darnold, and Flacco has been working his way back from neck surgery.

Jamal Adams: Adam Gase Isn’t “Right Leader” For Jets

They say that time heals all wounds. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case for the Jets and Jamal Adams. In an interview with Manish Mehta of the Daily News, the Pro Bowl safety slammed Jets head coach Adam Gase and GM Joe Douglas

[RELATED: Adams Has Bucs, Cowboys, 49ers On Wish List]

I don’t feel like he’s the right leader for this organization to reach the Promised Land. As a leader, what really bothers me is that he doesn’t have a relationship with everybody in the building,” Adams said, in reference to Gase. “At the end of the day, he doesn’t address the team,”. “If there’s a problem in the locker room, he lets another coach address the team. If we’re playing s—-y and we’re losing, he doesn’t address the entire team as a group at halftime. He’ll walk out of the locker room and let another coach handle it.”

Adams hasn’t spoken to Gase since the end of the regular season and hasn’t received the extension offer he says he was promised in January. In February, Douglas told the world that he wanted Adams to be a “Jet for life.” The delay in talks could be attributed to the pandemic, but Mehta hears that the Jets front office was told to ease up on spending long before COVID-19 reached the U.S. In May, Adams says the Jets asked his camp to table talks until next year, so that they could monitor Adams and see if he was still committed to the game and the team.

It was very insulting,” said Adams, who has built a reputation as one of the NFL’s hardest working players. “You know I bust my ass for that organization every day. I work my ass off. For them to say that to me, I was like ‘Okay… Whoa! That was little bit too far.’”

If they would have just simply said, ‘You know what, Jamal — we’re not going to look to pay you this year, we want to keep adding players — I would have respected that more. I would say, ‘You know what? I respect it. As a man, I get it. I understand it’s a business.’ But for them to tell me that they’re going to pay me and then not send over a proposal after they said that’s what they were going to, that’s where we go wrong. And then for you to ignore me, that’s why I have a problem.”

Despite the animosity, Adams confirmed that he will report to camp on July 28th. Meanwhile, Adams says that Douglas is now open to trading him before the start of the season. After months of subtweets, pointed comments, and flat-out trade demands, the saga between Adams and Gang Green could be nearing its finale.

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