Mike Maccagnan

Jets Notes: Enunwa, Tomlinson, Offseason

The Jets signed receiver Quincy Enunwa to a multi-year contract extension yesterday, with the four-year pact coming in at $36MM (and about $20MM in guaranteed money). The 2014 sixth-round pick out of Nebraska has spent his entire career with the Jets, and he’s excited to stick with the organization for the foreseeable future.

“I knew when I got here that I wanted to be a Jet for a very long time,” Enunwa told the team website. “Now, I’ll get my opportunity and it feels really good.”

The 26-year-old broke onto the scene in 2016, when he hauled in 58 receptions for 857 yards and four scores. He missed the entire 2017 season with a neck injury, and he’s appeared in only 11 games this year. However, he’s clearly gaining the trust of quarterback Sam Darnold, and Enunwa is confident that the duo will continue to improve.

“I’m excited for the future and for some more big plays,” Enunwa said. “And I think there is a lot in store for us as a team.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes out of New York…

  • The Enunwa extension was the “first big contract” that was negotiated by Dave Socie, points out Brian Costello of the New York Post (via Twitter). Socie was hired as the team’s Senior Director of Football Administration during the summer after previously serving in the role back in 2006. In this role, Socie works with general manager Mike Maccagnan on all things contracts and salary cap.
  • The Jets placed tight end Eric Tomlinson on injured reserve earlier this week, but it doesn’t sound like the 26-year-old suffered his injury on the field. Rather, Costello tweets that Tomlinson dropped a weight on his foot, leading to a pair of lacerated toes. The accident forced the tight end to undergo surgery, ending his season. Tomlinson had started 12 of his 15 games this season, serving mostly as a blocking tight end. The former Texas-El Paso standout has 16 career receptions for 193 yards and one touchdown.
  • Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.TV believes the Jets should be prioritizing experience as they search for a new head coach. The writer opines that the organization “can’t afford to be wrong with their next hire,” as they’ll be risking Darnold’s formative seasons. Fortunately, Vacchiano believes Maccagnan and CEO Christopher Johnson recognize this, as the team has already been connected to experienced coaches like Jim Harbaugh and Mike McCarthy. The writer also believes the team should give a look at former Colts and Lions head coach Jim Caldwell.
  • ESPN’s Rich Cimini writes that the Jets should use their draft picks and $100MM+ in cap space to build a formidable team around Darnold. Specifically, Cimini says the team should make a “serious run” at running back Le’Veon Bell, and he also lists offensive line, receiver, and edge rusher as positions of need. The writer also suggests shopping defensive end Leonard Williams, who is set to earn $14.2MM next season.

Latest On Jets, Jim Harbaugh

The Jets are expected to fire Todd Bowles in less than a week, and they may well be going after an impact replacement in Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh.

Responding to the Pro Football Talk report, Jets chairman Christopher Johnson denied the organization has any interest in Harbaugh (Twitter link). Johnson said Bowles is the team’s head coach. Although, this does not indicate Bowles will be the team’s head coach in 2019. PFT stands by its report connecting the Jets and Harbaugh (via Twitter).

If the Jets are able to pull off this coup, Mike Maccagnan would be on board, Florio notes. Of course, with the fourth-year GM’s job not exactly stable, he may not be in a position to provide strong resistance here. Frequent tension surfaced between Harbaugh and former 49ers GM Trent Baalke, and that divorce pushed that franchise into a rebuild.

While the Jets are denying this, doing so after Harbaugh said earlier this month he was staying at Michigan, there figures to be more news coming on this front. It’s possible the Jets looked into Harbaugh and learned he was not going to be available, ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini tweets. Harbaugh has not addressed the Jets rumors.

Harbaugh led the 49ers to three straight NFC championship games in his first three years as their head coach. The Jets are reportedly willing to give him a raise from his $7MM Michigan salary, as he will almost certainly be the highest-profile name involved in this coaching search.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets HC Todd Bowles Disputes Reports Of Tension

Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported earlier this week that there was a serious division between Jets head coach Todd Bowles and GM Mike Maccagnan. Predictably, Bowles was quick to dismiss the rumors in an interview with SNY, and he attributed the rumors to one unknown individual in the organization.

“There’s never been any tension with me or anybody else in this building,” Bowles said (via Mehta). “It’s a professional place. There’s a lot of good people in here and we treat people the same way. It’s unfortunate someone has their own agenda in mind. I guess that’s between him and Manish (Mehta), whoever that person is. But usually the person that throws the first stone is usually the culprit. So, they’re probably trying to protect or hide something. But most of the organization is not like that. It’s unfortunate that we had that said.”

The initial report indicated that the two men have been professional towards each other throughout their tenure in New York, although Mehta says the underlying tension “has created an unproductive working environment.” The team is reportedly set on retaining Maccagnan and firing Bowles, although the Jets will have to show improvements on the field if the general manager hopes to keep his job beyond 2019.

As our own Zach Links pointed out, Maccagnan will have to showcase the scouting skills that got him his gig in the first place (64% of players drafted by the Jets from 2015-2018 are still on an active NFL roster, versus the league average of 76%). The general manager also has to wisely use the team’s $100MM+ in cap space, although he shouldn’t necessarily be blamed for previously costly contracts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Major Rift Between Jets’ Bowles, Maccagnan

It has not been a happy marriage for Jets head coach Todd Bowles and GM Mike Maccagnan, as Manish Mehta of the Daily News details. While the two have been professional in their interactions with each other, Mehta hears that there has been a serious division between the two and a whole lot of mistrust. 

There have been numerous disagreements between the two men, including a dispute over Alvin Kamara in the 2017 draft. Jets coaches begged the GM to trade up for the University of Tennessee running back, but Maccagnan refused to pay a premium for him. Maccagnan attempted to satisfy then-offensive coordinator John Morton by selecting Alabama wide receiver ArDarius Stewart that year, but he quickly washed out and so did Morton.

Morton was the second of three OCs to serve under Bowles, and the lack of continuity has undoubtedly hurt the Jets and their efforts to build a potent offense. That’s probably part of the rationale in the team’s reported plans to keep the GM and fire Bowles this offseason.

If Maccagnan hopes to stay with the Jets beyond 2019, he’ll have to display the scouting acumen that got him hired in the first place. Only 64% of players drafted by the Jets from 2015-2018 are still on an active NFL roster, versus the league average of 76%. While he’s hit on his first round picks and found some keepers in the late rounds of the draft, Maccagnan’s track record in rounds 2-5 leave much to be desired.

Maccagnan must also use the Jets $100MM+ in cap room wisely. The Jets had tons of cash to spent last spring, but they whiffed on quarterback Kirk Cousins and settled for a monster deal with cornerback Trumaine Johnson. The former Rams standout has struggled all season and his five-year, $72.5MM deal may prove to be a costly error.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Jets, Browns, Harris, Ravens

Mike McCarthy may well have options going into this coming hiring period, but the Jets might not be a great fit. The status of GM Mike Maccagnan will likely be a deterrent for a coach with other options — in the likely event Todd Bowles is fired soon — multiple NFL executives told Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv. The New York GM has just one more season remaining on his deal and is not expected to follow Bowles out the door. A lame-duck decision-maker could spook McCarthy. With former Packers execs John Dorsey, Alonzo Highsmith and Eliot Wolf in Cleveland, many people around the league believe McCarthy will end up with the Browns, Vacchiano notes. The Browns also have a young quarterback and are projected to possess more than $86MM in cap space. While that’s not on the Jets’ level ($106MM-plus), Vacchiano adds McCarthy is known as being a bit sensitive to criticism. That might be an issue in jumping from the league’s smallest market to its biggest.

Here’s more from the Jets and the latest from the AFC:

  • Josh McCown received another start for the Jets on Sunday, doing so despite Sam Darnold being at or close to 100 percent. The rookie quarterback lobbied to play against the Titans during warmups, Albert Breer of SI.com notes, but Bowles stuck with McCown. Bowles would not commit to Darnold starting against the Bills in Week 14, but Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports Darnold showed he was healthy in practice and will likely return Sunday.
  • On the subject of possible quarterback switches, the Ravens may be able to put off their decision for another week. Joe Flacco was not moving too well this week, walking with a noticeable limp, Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com tweets. While the Ravens could be forced into a choice of benching Lamar Jackson (3-0 as a starter) and returning to Flacco for a pivotal game in Kansas City, this call might be tabled. The possibility of Flacco returning as the starter at some point this month is not out of the question, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, but Jackson may see more work off the bench than he previously did when Flacco was healthy. The difficult prospect of preparing for the quarterbacks’ disparate skill sets intrigues John Harbaugh, per Rapoport, so the Ravens may keep it quiet if they do intend to pivot back to Flacco.
  • Although the Broncos improved to 6-6 Sunday, it came at a cost. Denver lost one of its top players in Chris Harris to a fractured fibula. However, the All-Pro cornerback is not going to be placed on IR and has a goal of returning before a potential playoff game. The eighth-year defender wants to return by Week 17, when the Broncos play the Chargers in what could be a key game — if Denver wins out and receives help — for Vance Joseph‘s team. “I always heal fast,” Harris told Aric DiLalla of DenverBroncos.com.“I’ve got the right people around me to help me get back fast and I’ll work night and day to get back. My goal is three weeks, but they said four. My goal is three weeks because I want to play against [the Chargers].” Harris’ other notable injury (a torn ACL) came against the Chargers in a 2013 divisional playoff game, but the corner returned by Week 1 in 2014.
  • By intercepting three passes, Harris already cashed in $200K of the incentive package he agreed to in the offseason. But another key financial bump is tied to playing time. Despite standing to miss perhaps the rest of the regular season, Harris can still earn an additional $300K if his 736 snaps end up being 65 percent of Denver’s season total, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic notes (subscription required), adding that scenario is in play.

Jets Notes: Maccagnan, Bowles, Anderson, Darnold

If the Jets’ season continues to go the way it has gone so far, it’s very likely that head coach Todd Bowles will be fired after the season. GM Mike Maccagnan is apparently in far better shape with ownership, and “all indications” are that “Maccagnan will survive this mess of a season and get a chance to finish his rebuilding project”, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. While Maccagnan seems like a heavy favorite to survive, Cimini writes that it’s unclear exactly how much power he’ll have.

Cimini writes that it’s an open question whether or not Maccagnan will get to be the one who hires New York’s next head coach, and notes that the pairing of Bowles and Maccagnan was an “arranged marriage” from ownership. For what it’s worth, Cimini thinks the Jets will “add a couple of years to Maccagnan’s deal” if they keep him, so it doesn’t send the impression that the GM has less job security than the new coach. While Maccagnan will hang on by the skin of his teeth, the way everyone is talking now it seems like a foregone conclusion that Bowles’ days are numbered.

Here’s more from New York:

  • Robby Anderson is a very talented young receiver, but has dealt with multiple off-field incidents as well as injuries this season, so Cimini thinks he might not be long for the team. Anderson will be a restricted free agent this offseason, and while Cimini expects the Jets to tender him, he thinks they might look to trade him next offseason. He mentions the Eagles as a possible trade destination, and notes that the Eagles “tried to pry him away” from the Jets at the trade deadline. He also thinks the team might just let him walk if a team signs him to a huge offer sheet this spring. It was reported earlier this week that the Jets are trying to get an extension done with fellow receiver Quincy Enunwa, and it seems like the team definitely values Enunwa more than Anderson moving forward.
  • Sam Darnold isn’t playing today against the Patriots, and it looks like he might not play next week either. While Darnold could still possibly return in Week 13, “the following week is more likely”, sources told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Rapoport writes that the Jets want to take it easy on Darnold and make sure he’s 100 percent healthy before returning. The team isn’t going to rush him back, so it’ll likely be Josh McCown again next week against the Titans.

Todd Bowles Likely To Be Fired At End Of Season

This will not come as much of a surprise, but Jets head coach Todd Bowles is facing an “uphill battle” to keep his job at the end of the season, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Rapoport echoes earlier reports that Bowles is not expected to be fired until the 2018 campaign is over, but in an interview with Rich Eisen of the NFL Network, RapSheet adds that the team does plan to give Bowles the pink slip at season’s end, barring an unforeseen change in circumstances (video link).

The Jets are coming off a horrific 41-10 loss to the lowly Bills, and while Rapoport indicates that there is no dysfunction in the team’s locker room, a number of players, including high-profile veterans, did not appear to be playing particularly hard during the Buffalo game. That obviously reflects poorly on the head coach, and while Bowles has been saddled with mostly uninspiring rosters during his time in New York, he has also not done much to suggest that he will be able to right the ship moving forward.

Of course, the same can be said for GM Mike Maccagnan — the architect of those mediocre rosters — though Rapoport also confirms a report from earlier this week that Maccagnan is likely to be given at least another year in his post. That means that he will also have a significant voice in determining who the next head coach will be, so the Jets are putting a lot of faith in a man who has done little to deserve it to date. But, with a promising young quarterback in tow and a ton of cash to spend, Gang Green is hoping Maccagnan can assemble a playoff-caliber squad in 2019.

Bowles has compiled a 23-35 record during his three-plus years as the Jets’ head coach, but he will not be hurting for opportunities even if he does get fired. Rapoport suggests that Bowles — who turns 55 today — is nonetheless expected to receive interest for head coaching positions around the league.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Notes: Johnson, Bell, Maccagnan, Bates

The Jets signed Trumaine Johnson to a five-year, $72 million contract this past offseason, and they were surely hoping that the veteran cornerback would provide some stability to their secondary for the foreseeable future. Well, through his first five games with New York, it looks like the team’s assessment may have been a bit off.

Of course, this fact isn’t lost on the organization. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets that Johnson has been “profoundly disappointing to people inside the organization.” One source told the reporter that they “[t]hought he’d be better.” Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com writes that “many league observers” have believed that Darryl Roberts (who’s playing on a minimum salary) has been more productive than his richer teammate.

In five games this season, Johnson has compiled 16 tackles, two passes defended, one forced fumble, and one interception, and the defense has look significantly better when the veteran was out of the lineup.

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

  • Responding to a reader’s mail, Mehta writes that the Jets have to pursue Le’Veon Bell this offseason, or else the “rebuilding talk has been nothing but lip service.” The running back is undoubtedly the most talented impending offensive free agent, and the team is sitting with more than $90MM in cap space. Most importantly, the front office should be focused on providing Sam Darnold with as many reliable options as possible, and they have a three-year window to do some spending before they have to ink the franchise quarterback to a lucrative extension.
  • With Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan‘s tenure with the organization potentially coming to an end, Darryl Slater of NJ.com graded each of the executive’s notable transactions during his four-year stint. Some of his best moves included the acquisitions of quarterbacks Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Teddy Bridgewater, and Darnold, while the signings of Darrelle Revis, Terrelle Pryor, and Johnson each earned “F” for a grade.
  • Matt Stypulkoski of NJ.com takes a look at some offensive coordinator candidates if the Jets ultimately fire Jeremy Bates. The writer ends up pointing to a long list of quarterback coaches, including Zac Taylor (Rams), Press Taylor (Eagles), Mike Kafka (Chiefs), Dave Ragone (Bears), Kevin Stefanski (Vikings), Greg Knapp (Falcons), and Joe Lombardi (Saints). Other notable names on Stypulkoski’s list include former Browns head coach Hue Jackson and former Jets offensive coordinator John Morton.

Jets Unlikely To Fire GM Mike Maccagnan

The Jets are unlikely to fire GM Mike Maccagnan, several sources familiar with the Jets’ thinking tell Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. Head coach Todd Bowles, however, is on the hot seat. 

Vacchiano hears that Maccagnan’s long-stated plan has been to compete for a playoff berth in 2019 and therefore his roster has not fallen short of expectations in the eyes of ownership. The Jets will enter the offseason with upwards of $100MM in cap space and they have a promising young quarterback in Sam Darnold, so they could conceivably put themselves in the postseason mix next year.

Still, Maccagnan’s lack of success in the draft has been alarming. Only 12 of the 22 players picked in his first three drafts (2015-2017) remain on the team and the wisdom of some of his hits can be questioned. For example, second-year safety Jamal Adams has promise, but the Jets passed on the opportunity to take Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson when they took him at No. 6 overall in 2017.

It’s also worth noting that Maccagnan had a boatload of cash to work with this past offseason, but failed to fix the team’s porous offensive line or improve the team’s stable of receivers. The club’s biggest expenditure was free agent Trumaine Johnson, a $72.5MM cornerback who has struggled to stay healthy and has done little to impress in his five games on the field.

Despite all of that, the Jets appear willing to exercise patience and stay the course with Maccagnan. Unfortunately for Bowles, that patience will probably not extend to the head coach.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Tannehill, Parker, Bills, Ivory, Jets, Maccagnan, Bowles

The Dolphins will have a lot of tough decisions to make this offseason, including what to do with Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill is set to have a cap hit of over $26MM in 2019, hasn’t been able to stay healthy, and hasn’t been great on the field even when he is. Deciding Tannehill’s fate “clearly tops” the list of Miami’s priorities for the offseason, according to Adam Beasley of The Miami Herald, who writes “Tannehill would need to be exceptional when he returns from his shoulder injury” for the Dolphins to bring him back at that salary next year.

Tannehill missed the end of the 2016 season with a torn ACL, then missed all of the 2017 season when he re-tore the ACL. This year, Tannehill started the first five games, then went down with a mysterious shoulder injury. He’s been sidelined for four games, and it’s not clear when he’s coming back. It’s still very early, but at this point it would be a surprise if Tannehill is brought back at his current cap number. For what it’s worth, Beasley writes that the Dolphins like Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Speaking of decisions the Dolphins have to make, they’ll also have to decide the fate of receiver DeVante Parker and right tackle Ja’Wuan James this offseason, according to Beasley. Parker is owed $9.4MM next year, and Beasley writes that keeping him “seems unlikely now, but if he strings together several games like the one last Thursday in Houston (six catches, 134 yards), it becomes a strong consideration.” James will be a free agent after this season, and Beasley writes that “unless he’s great the final eight games, the Dolphins again figure to explore outside options” this March.
  • The Bills’ offense has already been an injured mess this year, and they got even more bad news today. Running back Chris Ivory “was taken to Erie County Medical Center, a level 1 trauma center, for evaluations on his left shoulder”, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). It’s unclear the exact nature of the injury, but it seems clear Ivory will miss some time, and he’s been playing a fairly big role in the offense lately.
  • Jets GM Mike Maccagnan “was noticeably less effusive” when talking about Todd Bowles in his ‘state of the team’ press availability than he was in last year’s availability, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. Cimini thinks that Maccagnan “is safe, no matter what” and is trying to separate himself from Bowles and from the narrative that the two are joined at the hip, in case Bowles needs to be fired. Bowles is on a very hot seat, and it wouldn’t be surprising if a change is made soon with the Jets suffering another loss today.