Mike Maccagnan

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.

Extra Points: QB’s, Tannehill, Jets, Maccagnan, San Antonio

Every year there’s a so-called “quarterback carousel” in the NFL offseason where a group of second-tier signal callers end up changing teams. This upcoming offseason could be the busiest yet, with a large crop of quarterbacks that have front offices that aren’t committed to them longterm. This year’s draft class is currently seen as being relatively weak, so many teams will likely be seeking to address the position through trades or free agent signings.

Former NFL agent and current CBS Sports Analyst Joel Corry took a look at the quarterbacks most likely to change teams this offseason, and it was a long list. He included 11 names, with some high profile ones like Derek Carr, Eli Manning, and Jameis Winston making the list. The whole article is worth reading for Corry’s analysis as someone who’s been involved in these negotiations before.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Speaking of quarterbacks, Ryan Tannehill will miss his fourth straight game this weekend when the Dolphins play the Jets, and it looks like he’ll be out beyond this week. Tannehill is not expected back for the team’s Week 10 game against the Packers, according to Ian Rapoport (Twitter link). It sounds like the earliest Tannehill could return would be after Miami’s bye week, in Week 12. Coach Adam Gase revealed the nature of Tannehill’s injury for the first time today, describing it as a “shoulder capsule” injury.
  • If Jets GM Mike Maccagnan fails to lead the team to the playoffs in 2019 he should be fired, opines Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Maccagnan has said he will be “very active” in free agency this offseason, and the pressure will be on for him to finally end the years-long rebuild and deliver tangible success. If the Jets don’t start winning more games in Sam Darnold‘s second season, it’s likely it’ll be a new regime in New York in 2020.
  • There’s been a lot of noise about the prospect of an NFL team relocating to London, or even one going back to San Diego, but there’s apparently a new market in the mix. San Antonio mayor Ron Nirenberg said recently that the city would have an NFL team “in the next 10 years”, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk. San Antonio was in the running to get the Raiders before they settled on Las Vegas, and they have a team in the upstart AAF league, so they’re clearly serious about professional football.

Jets To Be “Very Active” In Free Agency

With a 3-5 record and a rookie quarterback under center, the Jets do not look the part of a playoff team in 2018. But, things could change next year, GM Mike Maccagnan says, as the team plans to be “very active” in free agency next spring. 

This is an offseason we feel really good about,” Maccagnan said (via Darryl Slater of NJ.com). “We’ve done a lot of work already and we’re going to do a lot more work on the pro free agency. But I think there is definitely an opportunity — not only to keep some of our own good, young players that are going to be free agents — but also to add some players at key positions going forward. Right now, we think there are a lot of good, young players in the [free agent] market potentially for next year. And we feel pretty well situated with our salary cap standpoint.”

The Jets’ most glaring need is in the pass rush department. They’ve tried to land some big fish this year – including Khalil Mack and Dante Fowler – but missed out on trading for both players. Building the edge rush through free agency is a pricey proposition, but the Jets are projected to enter the offseason with nearly $107MM in cap space, second only to the Colts’ ~$126MM.

If Maccagnan goes for the big fish in March, he can explore a free agent pool that may include the likes of Demarcus Lawrence (Cowboys), Jadeveon Clowney (Texans), Frank Clark (Seahawks), Trey Flowers (Patriots), and Dee Ford (Chiefs). Lions standout Ezekiel Ansah is also scheduled to hit the open market, though his shoulder injury has kept him from playing ever since the season opener.

Maccagnan may also seek to bolster the pass rush through the draft, but his results have been spotty outside of the first round. The GM defended his draft record when pressed about it on Thursday, but there’s no way to sugarcoat it – Maccagnan has missed an awful lot in the last four years, and that’s disappointing for an executive who was hired for his scouting acumen.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft QB Fallout: Darnold, Allen, Mayfield

A draft that produced one of the longest rumor cycles surrounding quarterbacks in recent memory continues to generate fallout. And some of it centers on the quarterback that fell to No. 3.

Among the emotions expressed in the Jets’ war room after the Giants chose Saquon Barkley over Sam Darnold were disbelief and joy, per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. But the Giants weren’t the only team many NFL executives and scouts believe helped out the Jets.

The Browns’ Baker Mayfield pick went against the grain, with Matt Miller of Bleacher Report writing that he only confirmed two teams — the Browns and Patriots — that rated the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner as the top quarterback in this draft. Conversely, 15 different teams rated Darnold as their top QB, Miller reports.

Mike Maccagnan decided to keep an airtight lid on his quarterback hierarchy, only informing Christopher Johnson and Todd Bowles of which signal-caller he had as his top-rated passer. The fourth-year Jets GM didn’t bother to assign final grades to the top five QBs in fear of that information seeping out, but grades were given to every other player on the Jets’ board, per Mehta. While the precise order here is not known, Mehta reports Darnold was the Jets’ top-rated passing prospect — one the team did not think would get past the Browns at No. 1 until very late in the process.

The Jets weren’t certain the Giants would pass on Darnold, either, but were aware of Dave Gettleman‘s interest in Barkley. One source informed Miller that Gettleman, indeed, did not pick up the phone regarding trade interest in the No. 2 overall pick. While Gettleman himself confirmed one team made a strong offer for No. 2, it’s unclear when on draft night that proposal emerged. Wowed by none of these QBs, the Giants did not have a consensus on which of these players was the best prospect.

While the Cardinals wound up with Josh Rosen, Miller reports Josh Allen was their top-rated quarterback. The team that actually drafted Allen, the Bills, had the Wyoming talent rated as this class’ No. 2 passer, Miller reports. Buffalo was one of the teams that viewed Darnold as this draft’s top QB.

No reports of Allen visiting the Cardinals emerged until he confirmed just before the draft he took a trip to Arizona. Miller notes the Cards may have tried to trade up for Allen prior to landing Rosen. Additionally, the Twitter controversy did not appear to affect Allen’s stock. Miller adds no sources indicated that played a role in their teams’ respective assessments of Allen.

Jets Called Browns About No. 1 Pick

The Jets moved up to the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft, but not before aiming for the top selection on the board. Jets GM Mike Maccagnan says that he called the Browns about potentially acquiring the No. 1 pick as a part of due diligence (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini). 

[RELATED: Jets Offered Ndamukong Suh One-Year Deal]

Meanwhile, Maccagnan did not call the Giants about potentially landing the second overall pick. Reading between the lines, it seems that the Jets were unwilling to surrender next year’s first round pick to the Browns and had extra reservations about making such a deal with the rival Giants.

It is widely believed that the Jets are targeting a quarterback with the third pick, but it’s not clear which one(s) they are eyeing. In theory, they could open up their options by trading up again with the Giants at No. 2, but it seems unlikely that they’ll go down that road since they did not engage with them before pulling off the Colts deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Pouncey, Jets, Draft

The Dolphins are overhauling their roster this offseason, looking to improve the culture of the club. A move that wasn’t motivated by the locker room, however, was the release of veteran center Mike Pouncey, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets.

Rapoport notes the All-Pro center received rave reviews for his leadership skills and toughness, but was simply cut because the Dolphins invested more money in the signing of Josh Sitton and the trade for Daniel Kilgore. Pouncey, who had three years left on his current deal, asked and was granted his release earlier this week after declining to take a pay cut. The Dolphins saved $7MM against the cap with the move.

Despite playing in all 16 games, Pouncey struggled through a hip injury in 2017. Pro Football Focus noted his down year, grading Pouncey as just the No. 27 center in the NFL. It’s possible Pouncey will require hip replacement surgery down the road, while at least one doctor has reportedly recommended that Pouncey retire, but he’s rejected that advice tho this point.

Since the trade deadline in 2017, the Dolphins have now parted ways with top producers like Jarvis Landry, Ndamukong Suh and Jay Ajayi, while also releasing veterans Lawrence Timmons and Julius Thomas.

Here’s more from around the AFC East:

  • Sticking with Pouncey, it was reported earlier in the week that he would take his first visit to meet with the Chargers on Sunday. That meeting is expected to be an extended one that will last through Monday and include a physical, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora tweets. The Buccaneers and Colts have also shown interest in the center, but Tampa Bay could be more content now after signing Ryan Jensen to the richest deal for a center in NFL history.
  • After acquiring the No. 3 pick in the upcoming draft from the Colts, the Jets have not ruled out moving up even further, ESPN’s Rich Cimini writes. Cimini thinks that if they have one or two quarterbacks markedly ahead of the rest of the pack, New York could swing a deal for the Giants’ No. 2 pick or Cleveland’s No. 1. He does not that it is unlikely and would probably be “too rich for the Jets’ blood.”
  • Cimini also thinks the Jets prefer Josh Allen, Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen to Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield. He notes general manager Mike Maccagnan typically prefers prototypical signal-callers, rather than the undersized Mayfield. “My hunch is that Maccagnan and coach Todd Bowles wouldn’t be fans of the Mayfield sideshow.” 



Jets Extend Todd Bowles, Mike Maccagnan

The Jets are going forward with their current management structure. The team announced extensions for both Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan, and Brian Costello of the New York Post reports (on Twitter) these are two-year agreements.

Both of these re-ups run through 2020, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Both were headed into the final years of their initial Jets contracts.

We are very happy to have extended both Mike and Todd,” Jets CEO Christopher Johnson said. “During their time here, they have worked together to help the organization build a foundation on which to grow. I believe we are headed in the right direction. This provides us continuity and stability as we continue to move this team towards sustained success. We still have a lot of work to do and I am excited to work closely with both of them as we move forward.”

Bowles had been a fringe hot-seat occupant, but as the season went along, his overachieving team showed promise unexpected of a roster that was purged of many veterans this past offseason.

Although the Jets may finish 5-11 for the second straight season, they were expected to vie for the 2018 No. 1 overall pick. Bowles looks to have shown ownership he deserves more time to attempt to thrust Gang Green back to contention. This season had Jets sources “raving” about Bowles’ performance as recently as a month ago, but no extension appeared imminent at that point.

Since being hired together in 2015, Maccagnan and Bowles have steered the Jets to a 20-27 record. Maccagnan cut numerous vets this offseason, severing ties with many of the franchise’s higher-profile talents brought in prior to his arrival, but observed Bowles lead the team to wins over the playoff-bound Jaguars and Chiefs while having a team that was perhaps favored to land the ’18 No. 1 selection to an over-.500 mark in October.

The Jets narrowly missed the 2015 playoffs and won 10 games before regressing to 5-11 last season. Barring an upset as a two-touchdown-plus underdog Sunday in New England, the Jets are going to repeat that five-win showing. But some recent investments — like Josh McCown, Jamal Adams, Robby Anderson, Jermaine Kearse and Leonard Williams — have paid dividends for this year’s iteration. And Gang Green will have more cap space than it’s held in years this coming offseason. The Jets are projected to possess more than $80MM in space. That figure expected to approach $100MM only by jettisoning Muhammad Wilkerson, about whom Maccagnan clearly has buyer’s remorse, and will be able to augment their roster in a number of ways.

And Christopher Johnson, making a big decision after Woody Johnson ceded day-to-day control of the team after becoming U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom, is confident in the current power structure’s ability to manage this cap space and further place the Jets in position to contend in the near future.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.