Joe Douglas

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Notes: Gase, Douglas, OL

Is Adam Gase already on the hot seat? It would be tough for owner Woody Johnson to retain the second-year head coach if the Jets complete their tenth consecutive season without a playoff appearance, Manish Mehta of the Daily News opines. The Jets are obviously fond of Gase, but Mehta believes that Johnson – who will return to his New York area home later this year – wouldn’t be able to ignore the cries for a coaching change if the Jets finish 6-10.

More on Gang Green:

Longest-Tenured GMs In The NFL

When we ran down the longest-tenured head coaches in the NFL, we found that less than half of the league’s current coaches have been in their positions for more than three years. That’s not quite the case with general managers, but there have been plenty of changes in recent years.

A handful of general managers have gotten to take their coats off and stay for a long while. Among coaches, Bill Belichick had joined his team prior to 2003. Here, you’ll see that five GMs have been with their teams since before ’03 (Belichick, of course, is also on this list). Two of those five – Jerry Jones and Mike Brown – are outliers, since they’re team owners and serve as de facto GMs. But the Patriots, Steelers, and Saints, have all had the same general managers making their roster decisions for well over a decade.

Here’s the complete list of the NFL’s longest-tenured GMs, along with the date they took over the job:

  1. Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys): April 18, 1989[1]
  2. Mike Brown (Cincinnati Bengals): August 5, 1991[2]
  3. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000[3]
  4. Kevin Colbert (Pittsburgh Steelers): February 18, 2000[4]
  5. Mickey Loomis (New Orleans Saints): May 14, 2002
  6. Rick Spielman (Minnesota Vikings): May 30, 2006[5]
  7. Thomas Dimitroff (Atlanta Falcons): January 13, 2008
  8. John Schneider (Seattle Seahawks): January 19, 2010[6]
  9. Howie Roseman (Philadelphia Eagles): January 29, 2010
  10. John Elway (Denver Broncos): January 5, 2011[7]
  11. Les Snead (St. Louis Rams): February 10, 2012
  12. David Caldwell (Jacksonville Jaguars): January 8, 2013
  13. Steve Keim (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2013
  14. Tom Telesco (San Diego Chargers): January 9, 2013
  15. Jason Licht (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 21, 2014
  16. Ryan Pace (Chicago Bears): January 8, 2015
  17. Chris Grier (Miami Dolphins): January 4, 2016
  18. Bob Quinn (Detroit Lions): January 8, 2016
  19. Jon Robinson (Tennessee Titans): January 14, 2016
  20. John Lynch (San Francisco 49ers): January 29, 2017
  21. Chris Ballard (Indianapolis Colts): January 30, 2017
  22. Brandon Beane (Buffalo Bills): May 9, 2017
  23. Brett Veach (Kansas City Chiefs): July 11, 2017
  24. Marty Hurney (Carolina Panthers): July 19, 2017
  25. Dave Gettleman (New York Giants): December 28, 2017
  26. Brian Gutekunst (Green Bay Packers): January 7, 2018
  27. Mike Mayock (Oakland Raiders): December 31, 2018
  28. Joe Douglas (New York Jets): June 7, 2019
  29. Eric DeCosta (Baltimore Ravens): January 7, 2019[8]
  30. Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins): January 1, 2020[9]
  31. Andrew Berry (Cleveland Browns): January 27, 2020
  32. Bill O’Brien (Houston Texans): January 28, 2020

Footnotes:

  1. Jones has been the Cowboys’ de facto general manager since former GM Tex Schramm resigned in April 1989.
  2. Brown has been the Bengals’ de facto GM since taking over as the team’s owner in August 1991.
  3. Belichick has been the Patriots’ de facto GM since shortly after being hired as the team’s head coach in January 2000.
  4. Colbert was initially hired as the team’s director of football operations and received the newly-created general manager title in 2011.
  5. Spielman was initially hired as the team’s VP of player personnel and received the GM title in 2012.
  6. While Schneider holds the title of GM, head coach Pete Carroll has the final say on roster moves for the Seahawks.
  7. Elway was initially hired as the team’s executive VP of football operations and received the GM title in 2014.
  8. In 2018, the Ravens announced that DeCosta would replace Ozzie Newsome as GM for Ozzie Newsome after the conclusion of the season. The Ravens’ ’18 season ended with their Wild Card loss to the Chargers on 1/6/19.
  9. Technically, the Redskins do not have a GM, as of this writing. Rivera is, effectively, their GM, working in tandem with Vice President of Player Personnel Kyle Smith. Smith may receive the GM title in the near future.

Jets GM Joe Douglas On Jamal Adams

Jets safety Jamal Adams‘ future in the Meadowlands remains murky, but GM Joe Douglas continues to rave about his young star. Though the team is reportedly willing to slow-play negotiations with Adams, Douglas remains hopeful that the 2019 First Team All-Pro will be with Gang Green for the long haul.

“[Adams] was a big reason I was excited about coming here,” Douglas said on ESPN NY 98.7 today (via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com). “I feel this guy is a core player. The main goal that I’m trying to do right now is to surround him with like-minded players, because we know Jamal is a dog.”

Coming off his third year in the league, Adams is extension-eligible for the first time. He is planning to skip the Jets’ voluntary virtual offseason program as he seeks a new contract, one that will surely make him the highest-paid safety in NFL history. New York can theoretically control him through the 2021 season, but it doesn’t seem as though Adams will willingly play into the 2020 campaign without a new deal in place, let alone 2021.

A trade remains a possibility, but one of Adams’ most aggressive suitors at the 2019 trade deadline, the Cowboys, are unlikely to trade a first-rounder for him at this point, and the Jets will certainly not deal him for anything less than a first-rounder (and then some). That reality, combined with the fact that an acquiring club would need to give up premium draft capital and authorize a record-breaking contract, makes it increasingly likely that Douglas will get his wish and will get to keep Adams at the core of his defense (even if the two sides to not come to terms for a while).

“We have to surround him with guys that play as hard as he does, that love football as much as he does and can match his intensity,” Douglas said. The neophyte GM will have a chance to do just that this Thursday, when his team is on the clock with the No. 11 overall pick of the 2020 draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Staff Notes: Dennison, Cards, Falcons, Titans

After two players filed grievances against the Jets in recent months, the franchise has an issue with former offensive line coach Rick Dennison. Now on the Vikings’ staff, Dennison spent the 2018 season as the Jets’ O-line coach and run-game coordinator. A dispute about Dennison’s contract has emerged, with the New York Daily News’ Manish Mehta reporting in an expansive piece the Jets and their former assistant have been at odds for a year about his deal. Dennison wanted to stay on as Jets O-line coach, but then-new Jets HC Adam Gase replaced all of Todd Bowles‘ 2018 offensive staff.

The parties are at odds over a roughly $1MM payment. Previous Jets GM Mike Maccagnan, after informing Dennison he would not be on Gase’s 2019 staff, gave Dennison permission to pursue other jobs. The Jets then signed off on the ex-NFL OC receiving the money but subsequently changed their tune, Mehta adds. Gase told some he discussed with Dennison a move to the scouting staff, but Mehta notes no such discussion occurred. Unless the Jets and Dennison reach a settlement, a hearing at the league office is expected to take place this month.

The Jets saw both Luke Falk and Kelechi Osemele file grievances against the team during in the Gase-Joe Douglas regime’s early months. Add the Dennison matter to this interesting list.

Here is the latest from the coaching circuit:

  • Weeks after Jon Gruden brought in Rod Marinelli to take Brentson Buckner‘s job as defensive line coach, the longtime NFL assistant has another gig. Buckner will return to the Cardinals‘ coaching staff, the team announced. Buckner’s first major NFL coaching role came in Arizona; the former 12-year NFL defensive lineman spent all five years of Bruce Arians‘ run as the Cards’ D-line coach. He’ll reprise that role.
  • The Cardinals are making more staff changes. Former 49ers special teams coordinator Derius Swinton signed on to become the Cards’ assistant ST coach. After spending 2018 on the Lions’ staff, Swinton did not coach this past season. Additionally, Spencer Whipple will rise from the quality control level to assistant wideouts coach.
  • Mike Mularkey‘s retirement left a vacancy on the Falcons‘ staff. They filled it by promoting Ben Steele from offensive assistant to tight ends coach, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes. Steele spent five seasons with the Buccaneers — the final two as Tampa Bay’s tight ends coach — prior to joining Dan Quinn’s staff last year.
  • Jason Garrett will bring another ex-Cowboys assistant with him to the Giants. Stephen Brown will join Joe Judge‘s staff as an offensive assistant, according to Sirius XM Radio’s Adam Caplan (on Twitter). Brown spent the past four seasons in Dallas, primarily working with the team’s running backs. Garrett previously hired ex-Cowboys staffers Marc Colombo as O-line coach and Derek Dooley as a senior offensive assistant.
  • The Titans are promoting multiple assistants. Formerly operating as defensive assistants, Scott Booker and Ryan Crow will respectively rise on Mike Vrabel‘s staff. Booker is the Titans’ new assistant special teams coach, and Crow will now coach Tennessee’s safeties under new secondary coach Anthony Midget.