Mike Maccagnan

Coaching Notes: McDaniels, Cowboys, Rhule

Two years ago, Josh McDaniels had assistants ready to follow him to the Colts. Multiple staffers did so, even though the Patriots assistant backed out of the agreement. This time around, McDaniels looks to have a staff lined up again. McDaniels is now “very much ready” to leave New England, Albert Breer of SI.com notes, adding that the longtime Patriots play-caller has Redskins OC Kevin O’Connell and Colts defensive backs coach Jonathan Gannon set to be key players on his staff (should McDaniels accept a job if offered). The Redskins are interested in retaining O’Connell, their offensive coordinator this season, but his NFL years began as a quarterback under McDaniels during the latter’s first stint as Patriots OC. Gannon joined the Colts’ staff in 2018. Like McDaniels, Gannon is a Cleveland-area native. He was a scout with the Rams during McDaniels’ one season in St. Louis.

McDaniels is the frontrunner for the Browns job. He will interview with the Panthers on Tuesday, the Giants on Wednesday and the Browns on Friday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

Here is the latest from the coaching carousel:

  • Matt Rhule had issues with the Jets attempting to overrule him on staff decisions, but Ralph Vacchiano of SNY notes the Giants would not do the same. The Giants would let Rhule select his assistants, and the Baylor HC is believed to have candidates in place to follow him to New York if hired. Former Giants assistant and current Lions QBs coach Sean Ryan and Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Snow are believed to be Rhule’s coordinator choices should he land either the Giants’ or Panthers’ HC jobs, Vacchiano reports. Ryan, 47, held a key role with the Texans from 2017-18 but was with the Giants for nine years, including in 2012, when Rhule was on staff. Snow, 64, has been Rhule’s DC at Temple and Baylor. He coached with the Lions from 2005-08.
  • Had the Jets hired Rhule last year, Jets management would have insisted Gregg Williams be attached as defensive coordinator, per Vacchiano. Previous GM Mike Maccagnan also had an issue with Ryan bringing brought aboard as OC. Ryan ended up in Detroit instead.
  • As for Giants incumbent defensive coordinator James Bettcher, the front office was not exactly pleased with his game management nor were Giants brass happy with the entire defensive staff, Vacchiano adds. Lacking in talent and depth at linebacker and cornerback, the Giants ranked 31st in pass-defense DVOA. Bettcher’s better-stocked defensive front, however, produced the No. 7 run-defense DVOA figure.
  • Not only is Mike McCarthy a fan of 30-year-old Cowboys OC Kellen Moore, Jerry Jones spoke of his desire to keep the young coordinator on staff in each of the Cowboys’ interviews, Breer notes. The Cowboys promoted Moore to OC last year, and Dak Prescott had by far his best season as a passer under the former Dallas quarterback’s guidance.
  • The Falcons will not retain passing-game coordinator/defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson, according to The Athletic’s Jason Butt (on Twitter). Henderson has been with the Falcons since 2016. Additionally, the Falcons interviewed Joe Whitt for their secondary coach position, Butt notes. Whitt spent the 2007 season as Atlanta’s assistant DBs coach before being on Green Bay’s staff for the next 10 seasons. He coached the Browns’ DBs under Freddie Kitchens.

Poll: Which Top 10 Pick Has The Highest Bust Potential?

The NFL Draft is just barely in the rear view mirror, which means that teams are full of hope for their young rookies. But, of course, the NFL Draft is largely a crapshoot, and not every player will realize their full potential. 

This year’s draft had talent, but lacked a true consensus on the top player. Many evaluators pegged defensive end Nick Bosa as the player with the highest ceiling in the 2019 class, but other saw Alabama’s Quinnen Williams as the “safest bet.” The 49ers pounced on Bosa with the No. 2 pick while the Jets (and former GM Mike Maccagnan) were delighted to land Williams at No. 3 overall.

Leading up to the draft, much of the attention was on Oklahoma quarterback (and one-time MLB hopeful) Kyler Murray. When Murray announced that he would ditch the Oakland A’s, his stock exploded – Murray was considered a borderline first-round prospect in the winter, but wound up as the Cardinals’ choice at No. 1 overall. Murray has the speed that teams crave at the QB position, but questions persist about his size and overall lack of experience as a full-time starter.

The Cardinals’ long flirtation with Murray brought us the expected result, but the Raiders gave us the real first shock of the draft when they tapped Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 overall. Not to be outdone, the Giants snagged Duke’s Daniel Jones at No. 6 overall. Heading into the draft, neither player was thought to be anywhere near Top 10 consideration, but Mike Mayock and Dave Gettleman were unwilling to trade down and risk losing out on their guys.

The domino effect created by those picks allowed the Bucs to grab inside linebacker Devin White (No. 5 overall), the Jaguars to land outside linebacker Josh Allen (No. 6), the Lions to snag top tight end T.J. Hockenson, the Bills to draft defensive tackle Ed Oliver (No. 9 overall), and the Steelers to finish out the Top 10 with linebacker Devin Bush. Most of those picks were warmly received, but nothing is certain in the draft.

Which Top 10 pick do you think has the highest bust potential? Click below to cast your vote (link for app users) and back up your choice in the comment section.

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Jets Shopped Before Firing Bowles, Maccagnan

The Jets started their hunt for a new head coach and GM before firing Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan, according to Manish Mehta of the Daily News and Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). 

[RELATED: Jets To Interview Joe Douglas This Weekend]

Maccagnan, exec Brian Heimerdinger, and agent Erik Burkhardt huddled up with Christopher Johnson at his Manhattan condo in late November and early December to discuss the possibility of hiring former Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury, Mehta hears. Bowles, meanwhile, was not dismissed until Dec. 30.

During that same four-week window, Johnson also had back-channel conversations with at least two established coaching candidates without the knowledge of Maccagnan. Those coaches would have had the power to either keep Maccagnan or fire him in favor of their preferred GM.

Eventually, Maccagnan got his turn in the barrel. The Jets sacked Maccagnan in May, but they reached out to at least one potential GM candidate a week before he was handed his pink slip, according to Volin.

This latest example of the Jets’ dysfunction may give pause to the team’s current group of GM candidates.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Jets, Gase, Bills, Eagles

It has been widely reported that Adam Gase forced Mike Maccagnan out of the Jets’ front office, but the head coach/interim GM denied those accusations in a press conference on Thursday.

Me and Mike had disagreements on a few things. There was no personal rift,” Gase said (Twitter link via Darryl Slater of NJ.com).

Gase claims that team CEO Christopher Johnson called and told him Maccagnan was gone, and did not ask Gase for input on the decision (Twitter link). Whether or not that’s really the case, we know that Gase will have input in the hiring of the team’s next GM.

Here’s more from the East divisions:

Adam Gase Denies Power Struggle Led To Mike Maccagnan’s Firing

Barely four months after Mike Maccagnan hired Adam Gase, the Jets fired their GM. Gase now stands as the team’s interim GM and is helping with the search for Maccagnan’s successor.

It would appear, given the reports thus far, that the first-year Jets coach won a power struggle. He staunchly denied that Monday and that he will have control of the Jets’ 53-man roster after Maccagnan’s successor arrives.

I disagree with that … as far as a power struggle,” Gase said, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. “Whoever’s going to be hired is going to have the same control: Control of the roster. … I coach the football team. Nothing’s changing in that structure.”

Jets CEO Christopher Johnson said last week Gase would be in charge of the 53 in the interim, so it will be interesting to see how power is divided once a new GM arrives. Johnson, Gase and Jets VP of business affairs/general counsel Hymie Elhai will conduct the GM search, with Mehta adding it will be the team’s new HC that will play the lead role in selecting the next GM.

Eagles VP of player personnel Joe Douglas and NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah have been mentioned as candidates, though interviews have been requested with neither.

That’s what it was,” Gase said (via NJ.com’s Darryl Slater), indicating he was surprised when Johnson told him of Maccagnan’s ouster. “He’s the owner. In this business, (expletive) like that happens all the time. It happened to me last year. I think that’s what it is. I mean, I work for (Johnson). That’s how we’re aligned, is the GM and the head coach both report to the owner.”

Over the weekend, Mehta reported Maccagnan heavily restricted Gase’s pre-draft input, leading to Gase moving his chair away from cameras during the draft and essentially letting the since-fired GM run that operation. Gase denied a large-scale rift existed.

Since we’ve started, we just constantly were in communication, whether he’s coming down to my office or I’m going to his office,” Gase said of his work with Maccagnan. “That’s all we’re trying to do, is just make sure we’re on the same page all the time and making sure that we’re trying to put this thing together as well as we can in a short period of time.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Draft Led To Mike Maccagnan’s Firing?

While disagreements about the free agency cost of Le’Veon Bell and C.J. Mosley came up in the wake of the Jets breaking up their newly formed Mike MaccagnanAdam Gase decision-making duo, the team’s draft appears to have played a bigger role.

The Jets’ pre-draft process did not consist of much input from Gase, with Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reporting Maccagnan did not want his new head coach affecting his scouts’ views on prospects. Gase then remained quiet during the Jets’ draft-related meetings and was not a factor in the team’s decision-making on draft night.

It pissed Adam off,” a Jets source told Mehta of Maccagnan limiting his input before the draft. “Mike didn’t want him to speak up too much. It’s a weird philosophy.”

While Mehta adds Maccagnan used this strategy with Todd Bowles as well, Gase took his discontent to another level. The new Jets HC, who “badly” wanted to make recommendations on the types of players he wanted for his system, voiced frustration to many in league circles and prior to the draft moved his seat in the team’s war room — which was captured on video for the networks airing the event — away from camera view.

Draft weekend did not feature any Gase objections to Maccagnan’s picks and scant input from what Mehta refers to as a “detached” coach. This marked Maccagnan’s fifth and final draft with the Jets.

(Gase) literally took his seat and moved it,” a Jets staffer in the war room informed Mehta. “That was extreme.”

The Jets, who currently have Gase in the interim GM role, have taken understandable heat due to the timing of this firing. Some members of the franchise’s brain trust would have given the go-ahead for CEO Christopher Johnson to fire Maccagnan in January, when Bowles was axed, but Johnson was leery of his ability to conduct simultaneous searches for a new coach and a new GM, Mehta reports. However, the awkwardness in the Jets’ draft room looks to have pushed the relatively new decision-maker to break up the Maccagnan-Gase duo.

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Latest On Jets’ Firing Of GM Mike Maccagnan

Earlier today, the Jets fired GM Mike Maccagnan. Maccagnan was known to be on the hot seat, but the timing of his dismissal was an absolute head-scratcher.

On Wednesday afternoon, team CEO Christopher Johnson took questions from local media, though he didn’t give a ton in the way of answers. Here are the highlights from Johnson’s presser and the latest on the newly created vacancy:

  • The issue of control over the 53-man roster figures to be a major issue for top candidates, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter) hears. As it stands, head coach Adam Gase has final say on the roster. For what it’s worth, Gase reportedly wants the Jets to hire Eagles exec Joe Douglas, so he could conceivably be willing to cede control in order to bring his old Bears buddy on board.
  • Meanwhile, Johnson says Gase will remain in charge of the 53-man roster (Twitter link via Brian Costello of the New York Post).
  • Johnson did his best to downplay talk of a serious rift between Gase and Maccagnan. “I think there was very good synergy (between Maccagnan and Gase), but it was not everything that I was hoping for. I made the decision I want to find a better fit for this building,” Johnson said (Twitter link via SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano).
  • The CEO said he made the decision to fire Maccagnan “in the last few days,” (Twitter link via Manish Mehta of the Daily News). He then added: “I’m not going to get into a lot of specifics about why we’re moving on from Mike.
  • Johnson said he’s looking for more of a “strategic thinker” with the new Jets GM and “someone who could collaborate with the building,” (Twitter link via Vacchiano).

Jets Fire GM Mike Maccagnan

The Jets have fired GM Mike Maccagnan, according to a team announcement. New head coach Adam Gase will take over as the team’s interim GM. 

This morning, I informed Mike that he was being relieved of his duties as General Manager of the team, effective immediately,” Jets CEO Christopher Johnson said in a statement. “Mike helped to execute the strategic vision of the organization during the last four seasons and especially the past few months. However, I came to the decision to make a change after much thought and a careful assessment of what would be in the best long-term interests of the New York Jets. I will start a search for our new General Manager immediately. In the interim, Coach Gase will be the acting General Manager. I would like to thank Mike for his time and efforts during his tenure, and I wish only the best for him and his wife Betty.”

Maccagnan has long been rumored to be on the hot seat in New York, but few saw the longtime exec getting the hook after the initial waves of free agency and the draft. The GM had two years to go on his deal and the assumption was that Maccagnan would be given at least one more year to turn things around.

Still, Maccagnan’s misses have been glaring. While he has hit on early draft picks such as defensive tackle Leonard Williams and safety Jamal Adams, he’s missed badly in the lower reaches of the draft, which is especially disappointing given his previous track record as a talent evaluator.

The Jets have also whiffed in free agency under Maccagnan’s watch, including the 2018 offseason in which the club failed to land quarterback Kirk Cousins and settled for a monster deal with cornerback Trumaine Johnson. The former Rams standout struggled all season and his five-year, $72.5MM is already looking like a misfire.

Despite all of that, Maccagnan was entrusted to allocate $100MM+ in cap room this offseason and use the team’s No. 3 overall pick in April. The Jets used a big chunk of their cap space to sign Le’Veon Bell, giving the franchise an elite running back in his prime for the first time since Curtis Martin. Meanwhile, Maccagnan used the No. 3 overall pick to select Quinnen Williams, who may prove to be the best overall talent in the 2019 class.

Vice President of Player Personnel Brian Heimerdinger will follow Maccagnan out the door, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Jets’ Adam Gase, Mike Maccagnan

We heard last month that there was friction between Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan and new head coach Adam Gase. Maccagnan had already downplayed the reports, and Gase also dismissed those whispers yesterday.

“I don’t know who decides to put that stuff out there,” Gase said (via Brian Costello of the New York Post). “It kind of pisses me off a little bit. We have discussion on everything. That’s our job. We have to work through so much stuff. That’s what we have to do. That’s all we’ve done since we’ve been here.

“Since we started, we’ve been in constant communication whether he’s coming down to my office or I’m going to his office, that’s all we’re trying to do is make sure we’re on the same page all the time. We’re trying to put this thing together as well as we can in a short period of time.”

The initial report said that Maccagnan and Gase disagreed over the Jets’ free agent strategy. CEO Christopher Johnson subsequently visiting team facilities to “observe the dynamic between the coach and general manager.”

Costello acknowledges that the duo hasn’t always seen eye to eye during their brief stint together. Specifically, the two had differing opinions on how much the organization should pay star free agent running back Le’Veon Bell. Ultimately, the writer says that the “issues were settled and things were overblown.”

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Changes Coming To Jets Front Office?

Many in the league expect changes in the Jets front office after the draft, Mike Lombardi of The Athletic hears. Lombardi notes that GM Mike Maccagnan is on the hot seat, which could lead to a shakeup in the scouting department. It’s not immediately clear whether Maccagnan himself could be in jeopardy after the draft wraps up, though it would be a shock if the GM were to get the axe before the start of the season.

Meanwhile, ESPN’s Rich Cimini echoes other reports of friction between Maccagnan and new head coach Adam Gase. Specifically, Cimini says the two had disagreement over free agency strategy, with CEO Christopher Johnson visiting team facilities to “observe the dynamic between the coach and general manager.” Predictably, the GM downplayed the friction between the two.

“Actually, I think Adam and I have worked very well together,” said Maccagnan. “I’m sure, like in any process, there are times where … you know, you work through the process.

“It’s just like in a scouting meeting. You might have different opinions on a player. But, from my standpoint, I’ve actually had a very good working relationship with Adam. Quite frankly, as I’ve said before, he has a very good sense of humor. He makes me laugh quite a bit, which is one of the reasons why I like working with him.”

While some pundits ran with Lombardi’s story and assumed that Maccagnan’s job was in jeopardy, Cimini says “from all indications, the Jets have no plans to make a change.” The general manager naturally wouldn’t discuss his job security, noting that his focus is on the draft.

“I don’t think I’m really going to sit here and comment about my job,” Maccagnan said. “I’m focused on the draft. I feel good about the situation we’re in. I feel very good about working with Adam going forward.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.