Shortly after the firing of Mike Maccagnan, it was widely rumored that the Jets had their sights set on Peyton Manning as a potential candidate to take over the GM job. However, Manning says he never heard from the club about the position (Twitter link via Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post).
“Nobody ever contacted me … And I’m not sure I was qualified anyway,” Manning said after playing a round of golf with Tiger Woods in Ohio.
Manning apparently isn’t on the Jets’ radar, but we know of five candidates who definitely are: Eagles VP of player personnel Joe Douglas, Seahawks co-director of player personnel Scott Fitterer, Bears assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly, Vikings assistant GM George Paton, and Saints director of pro scouting Terry Fontenot.
It’s been 10 days since the Jets suddenly fired general manager MikeMaccagnan, leaving a major hole atop their front office. Yesterday, we finally got some clarity on definitive candidates, as the organization requested interviews with Eagles executive Joe Douglas and Bears assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly.
Following reports of tension between Maccagnan and head coach AdamGase, Kelly would seemingly be a good choice. The two have a history that dates back to their tenures with the Broncos, with Denver earning four division titles during Kelly’s five seasons as Assistant Director of Pro Personnel. Kelly also played a role in signing eight veteran free agents who would go on to earn Pro Bowl nods with the Broncos.
The executive has spent the past four years with the Bears, including the last two as the team’s Assistant Director of Player Personnel. In this role, Kelly has directed both Chicago’s pro personnel and college scouting departments. Kelly was one of the Fritz Pollard Alliance’s recommended GM candidates this offseason, but he didn’t get an interview in the thick of the cycle.
Despite Gase’s connection to Kelly, Douglas is reportedly his top choice for the position. Douglas spent the past three seasons as the Eagles’ vice president of player personnel, and he played a major role in constructing the Super Bowl LII-winning roster. Douglas had a brief stint with the Bears in 2015 after having spent the previous 16 years with the Ravens. Douglas is expected to be choosy when it comes to his next opportunity. Many pundits are questioning the Jets’ power structure given the timing and nature of Maccagnan’s firing, so it’s uncertain if Douglas would be willing to take on the challenge.
Besides Kelly and Douglas, the Jets have also been connected to PeytonManning. Following Maccagnan’s firing, there were rumblings that the Jets were eyeing the future Hall of Fame quarterback for the open GM gig. However, subsequent reports have indicated that the notion of Manning becoming the Jets’ GM is “unrealistic,” with a source stating that being an NFL GM is “not a job he seems to want.”
Of course, there’s also Gase, who earned the interim GM tag following Maccagnan’s ouster. The head coach has been relatively busy since taking on the job; he’s moved on from a pair of former draft picks (tight end JordanLeggett and linebacker DarronLee), and he’s added wideout Deonte Thompson. There were reports that Gase was opposed to Le’Veon Bell‘s lucrative contract, and the organization’s apparent trust in their head coach indicates that he’ll surely have a say in future transactions (assuming he doesn’t maintain the GM role).
There are a number of additional candidates who could emerge in the coming days. We learned earlier this week that Gase would be receptive to a number of GM hires, including the 49ers’ Adam Peters and the Lions’ Lance Newmark. Additionally, Jets ownership is believed to “think highly” of Vikings exec George Paton.
So that brings us to today’s question: who should ChristoperJohnson hire as the team’s next GM? Should they bring on Douglas, Kelly, or another executive from outside the organization? Should they take a flyer on Manning, who has no front office experience? Should they allow Gase to maintain control over the 53-man roster?
Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.
The Jets reportedly want to hire Peyton Manningas their next GM, but it doesn’t sound like the retired quarterback is interested in the job. The latest word on that front comes from Ralph Vacchiano of SNY, who hears from a source close to Manning that the notion of him becoming the Jets’ GM is “unrealistic” and being an NFL GM is “not a job he seems to want.”
Even though the 43-year-old doesn’t have any official front office experience, this isn’t the first time that he has been connected to a top job. In 2017, it was said that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam had interest in hiring Manning to a prominent executive role. He’s also indicated in the past that he would be open to such opportunities.
“I like to listen in on any number of potential chapter two opportunities in my life,” Manning said in July of 2018. “I talked to some TV people and teams on the football side of it. I like listening, and it seems like people are reporting when I’m doing it.”
Gase says that he only wants to focus on being the Jets‘ head coach, but he fired Jets scout Bill Dekraker on Tuesday and told those around him that he wants to streamline the scouting department, Manish Mehta of the Daily News (on Twitter) hears.
The cap hits on cornerback Xavien Howard’s new six-year, $76.5MM deal are as follows (via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald): $10.3MM this season, $13.3MM, $13.5MM, $14.4MM, $13.4MM, and $12.2MM. With his new deal, Howard is the only Dolphin under contract past 2022. But, even with that deal, the Dolphins are still in line to have more than $105MM in cap space next offseason.
Danny Shelton‘s deal with the Patriots is for one-year with a signing bonus of $75K, a base salary of $805K and bonuses/incentives worth up to $150K (Twitter link via Field Yates of ESPN.com). All in all, Shelton will carry a modest cap charge of just over $1MM.
Rich Cimini of ESPN.com passes along a number of interesting notes about the Jets this morning, including a few thoughts and reports on the futures of certain key players and the team’s hunt for a new GM.
For instance, Cimini reports that there is already speculation in league circles that head coach/interim GM Adam Gase is looking to move on from defensive lineman Leonard Williams. That does not mean that Gase wants to trade or cut Williams in 2019, but it sounds as though the new regime would be perfectly willing to allow Williams to sign elsewhere when he becomes a free agent at the end of the year. Cimini suggests that the club could franchise tag Williams or execute a tag-and-trade, but a long-term deal with the Jets does not seem likely at this point.
With respect to Le’Veon Bell, whose signing was a factor in the deteriorating relationship between Gase and former GM Mike Maccagnan, Cimini says it would not be surprising to see the Jets trade Bell after the 2019 season. If they cannot find a trade partner, then Bell can easily be cut after the 2020 season, when all of his guaranteed money will have been paid.
Robby Anderson‘s future with the club is more straightforward. Gase appreciates Anderson’s talent, and if the big-play wideout has a strong 2019, he could be back with Gang Green on a multi-year pact. If he disappoints, he will be gone.
And as far as the club’s GM search is concerned, Cimini says that the rumors connecting Peyton Manning to the job have no substance and that Manning is not on the Jets’ radar at the moment (which jibes with a report from yesterday). Cimini also hears that Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas remains the odds-on favorite for the job. Douglas has been billed as the front-runner since Maccagnan was fired.
One name certainly overshadows the others thus far connected to the Jets GM job. However, the Jets may be the latest team Peyton Manning turns down.
Connected to positions with other franchises since his retirement, Manning was mentioned as a target in Gang Green’s GM search. But the future Hall of Famer is not viewed as likely to be interested in the position, Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com tweets.
Manning has been linked to jobs with multiple teams — including the Browns and Colts — but neither process seemed to advance too far. This one may not move past the interest stage, either.
The former Colts and Broncos quarterback was also believed to be a target to be part of ESPN’s post-Jason WittenMonday Night Football booth, but that did not come to fruition. Manning, 43, is working with ESPN on multiple other projects, however. Manning’s ESPN work has represented his most public role since retiring in March 2016.
However, he did advocate for Adam Gase to land the Jets’ HC job this year. If Manning were to take a GM post, working with Gase would seem like a fit on the surface. The Jets, though, have taken plenty of heat for their mid-offseason ouster of Mike Maccagnan and are run by a relatively new CEO, Christopher Johnson. Several Jets sources told the New York Daily News’ Manish Mehta they do not exactly have confidence in their current boss’ ability to run a football team.
As for the other executives connected with New York’s GM vacancy, Robinson adds the Eagles have not been contacted about an interview with VP of player personnel Joe Douglas in what’s been a “quiet” search thus far. A former Gase coworker in Chicago, Douglas has been labeled the early favorite.
The Jets made news earlier in the week when they fired general manager Mike Maccagnan following free agency and the draft. They could make even bigger news with his replacement, as the team is reportedly interested in filling the role with Peyton Manning, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio writes.
Florio reports that “rumors are flying within league circles” that the team intends to make a run at the future Hall of Fame quarterback, who has ties to new head coach Adam Gase from their time together in Denver. Earlier in the week, Jets CEO and chairman Christopher Johnson told reporters that he wants “a great strategic thinker” for the position rather just a player evaluator.
“I want a great manager, a communicator, who can collaborate well with the building. I’m convinced we’re going to find that person,” he said.
If they want an excellent communicator and a strategic thinker, Manning would seem to be a good fit. One thing remains to be seen and that’s if Manning has any interest in the job. Long thought of for a front-office role or as a commentator on Sundays, Manning undoubtedly has had plenty of opportunities open to him if he wants to get back into the game.
If these rumors turn out to be true and the two sides work to a deal, Manning would be joining a team looking for a fresh start with a young, promising quarterback in Sam Darnold already in tow. Even with a few intriguing pieces, the Jets remain the only team in the NFL to not win at least six games in any of the last three seasons.
One of the top defenders available in a defense-heavy prospect pool, Devin White has begun to set up pre-draft visits. The Giants, Bengals and Buccaneers will host the LSU-developed linebacker, Amie Just of NOLA.com notes. All three teams pick in the top 11, and White has been often mocked to be off the board in between the Bucs’ No. 5 pick and the Bengals’ No. 11 choice. Although the Giants could use a young inside linebacker alongside Alec Ogletree, they have been linked to pass rushers at No. 6 — if they don’t, in fact, select their next quarterback then. The Bengals have a need on their defensive second level, which now lacks Vontaze Burfict. Tampa Bay lost Kwon Alexander but still has Lavonte David. Kendell Beckwith, White’s college teammate, missed all of last season.
Here is the latest from around the league:
Peyton Manning has advocated for Adam Gase on a few occasions, and he did so again to help steer Trevor Siemian to Gase’s current team. Siemian signed with the Jets this week. Siemian said (via Ethan Greenberg of NewYorkJets.com) his decision came down to, like Anthony Barr‘s, New York or Minnesota. After exchanging texts with Manning, the new Jets backup indicated his former teammate’s belief in Gase remains. This and other factors helped the fifth-year quarterback choose the Jets. Manning played three seasons under Gase, setting multiple high-profile records in 2013. Siemian did not arrive in Denver until the Gary Kubiak regime, however. The Vikings were interested in bringing back Siemian and have yet to sign a replacement QB2, though that is the goal.
The Broncos are not planning to bring backDomata Peko, their nose tackle of two seasons. Although Shelby Harris has not yet signed his second-round RFA tender, the Broncos plan to make the emerging interior lineman their starting nose, Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post notes. Harris graded as, by far, Denver’s best defensive lineman last season, per Pro Football Focus, but played the fewest snaps (391) of anyone in the team’s five-man rotation. Four of those players (Harris, Derek Wolfe, Adam Gotsis and the recently re-signed Zach Kerr) remain, but it looks like Harris — PFF’s No. 9 overall inside defender — will see more time in 2019.
The Ravens do not have openings at kicker or punter, but the team has versatile specialist Kaare Vedvik on its roster for potential trade purposes. “I fully expect that he’ll kick well enough for us to trade him. That’s kind of, I would say, the goal,” John Harbaugh said this week (via Clifton Brown of BaltimoreRavens.com). Teams were interested in acquiring Vedvik during the 2018 preseason, when he made 8 of 9 field goal tries — including a 56-yarder — but the Norwegian kicker/punter who kicked at Marshall in college suffered injuries from an assault on Sept. 1 of last year. He spent the season on the Ravens’ NFI list.
Is the Alliance of American Football in trouble? Potentially, as majority league owner Tom Dundon explains to Kevin Allen and Mike Jones of USA Today. “If the [NFL] players union is not going to give us young players, we can’t be a development league,” said Dundon. “We are looking at our options, one of which is discontinuing the league.” The AAF wants the NFLPA to allow active NFL players — especially those on practice squads — to participate in the developmental league. The union, however, is worried that not only would such an arrangement would violate the collective bargaining agreement, but put said players of in danger of being injured in non-NFL-sanctioned action.
Here’s more from around the NFL:
Matt Kalil received a $2.25MM signing bonus and a $3.25MM base salary as part of his one-year deal with the Texans, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Currently projected as Houston’ starting left tackle, Kalil can also earn $125K in gameday active roster bonuses, which could add an additional $2MM to his deal. If he’s healthy and active for each of the Texans’ 16 regular season games, Kalil will take home $7.5MM for the 2019 season. Kalil’s health isn’t a sure thing, of course, given that he missed all of last year with a knee injury.
Colts owner Jim Irsay attempted to hirePeyton Manning for a front office role, first in 2016 and again in early 2017 after firing general manager Ryan Grigson, and those conversations actually went further than previously indicated. “It did get close with Peyton,” Irsay told Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star. “I wouldn’t say super serious close, but enough to kick the tires and say, ‘What are you thinking?’ Because my counsel is there for him whether he comes to the Colts or chooses to do something else. There was definitely some interest on both sides.” Manning has been loosely tied to several front office jobs since retiring after the 2015 season, but he’s thus far resisted every overture.
Sam Darnold spoke with Adam Gase before the Jets ended up hiring him. The Jets‘ second-year quarterback said during an interview with SI.com he “interviewed” Gase prior to the team naming him as Todd Bowles‘ successor. Darnold and Gase share an agent, CAA’s Jimmy Sexton. Rich Cimini of ESPN.com wonders how much of a factor that was in the Jets going with Gase, positing that this connection should not be dismissed in tracing how the Jets arrived on Gase. CAA client Peyton Manning also called Jets CEO Christopher Johnson to endorse Gase, Cimini notes. Gase was Manning’s OC for two years in Denver. A previous report indicated Gase’s interview distinguished him from the other candidates. Gase and Darnold will now go about attempting to revive the Jets.
On the first of many Sundays without NFL games, here is the latest from the AFC East:
Although Isaiah Crowell set the Jets’ single-game rushing record with a 219-yard performance against the Broncos in October, Cimini does not expect the team to keep the veteran running back around for 2019. Crowell tied his career-high yards-per-carry figure with 4.8 but only amassed 685 rushing yards last season. The Jets can save $3MM by releasing Crowell before March 15, when $2MM of his $4MM 2019 base salary becomes guaranteed. The Jets have been the team most linked to Le’Veon Bell, and the team now has $99MM-plus in cap space.
Patrick Chung recently underwent surgery to repair a broken forearm, but the Patriots safety will go back under the knife soon. Chung will undergo an additional procedure to address a shoulder issue that bothered him during the season, Jeff Howe of The Athletic reports (subscription required). It’s the shoulder issue, and not the forearm break, that is expected to sideline Chung for a while. The 31-year-old defender is not expected to participate in Patriots OTAs or minicamp.
The Patriots are going to have to make moves to address their wide receiver situation. Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson are UFAs-to-be, and Josh Gordon‘s return should not be considered likely at this point. Hogan was a key contributor for the Patriots in 2016 and ’17 but could not re-establish himself as a reliable option down the stretch this season. Hogan finished the campaign with a six-target, zero-catch Super Bowl after compiling just 58 receiving yards in the AFC playoffs, and Howe expects the Pats to allow him to depart in free agency.
While there could be significant roster turnover in New England, with several coaches already leaving as well, Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston notes this offseason is expected to feature far less drama than last year’s did. Last year featured more fallout from the Jimmy Garoppolo trade, a lengthy Tom Brady absence and Rob Gronkowski considering retirement. After the Pats’ latest Super Bowl title, their situation looks more stable, even if Gronk is once again pondering leaving the game.
The Bills made multiple moves in order to trade up and land Josh Allen in the 2018 first round, but Brandon Beane may be looking to move back this year. The third-year Bills GM said recently the team does not need to pick in the top 10, and Mike Rodak of ESPN.com expects Buffalo to engage in trade-down discussions from its No. 9 overall slot.
Tepper refuted an April report that he was out of the mix to make this acquisition, and it appears the hedge-fund billionaire is close to moving forward with this purchase. Worth approximately $11 billion, the 60-year-old Tepper has the most capital of any of the men vying to buy the team, per the Observer trio. Tepper’s finances being the least complicated aided his bid, per Person, Peralta and Rothacker, who add Tepper was back in Charlotte on Wednesday meeting with team officials.
This comes after another potential buyer, Ben Navarro, wanted to involvePeyton Manning as a part-owner. Alan Kestenbaum and Michael Rubin represented the other bidders for the team. Richardson’s son, Mark, put weight behind Navarro to be his father’s successor. However, Tepper now appears to be leading the race, with NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reporting Jerry Richardson has zeroed in on Tepper. Although, the Observer reporters caution this deal is not finalized.
Rapoport adds (via Twitter) Tepper wants to keep the Panthers in Charlotte. This deal could be ready to be approved by the next set of owners’ meetings in Atlanta later this month, per Rapoport, who also reports Tepper is the only one of these potential buyers who could be approved by the upcoming meetings. CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora writes he’d be “shocked” if Tepper wasn’t the next Panthers owner, adding this sale could be announced early next week.
The report indicating Tepper was out doesn’t appear to have been entirely off base, either, with La Canfora reporting Tepper has told confidants at multiple times during this process he was out. But evidently he’s back in and ready to finish the process. Additionally, La Canfora reports Manning was unlikely to join Navarro’s ownership group.
Since Tepper has been a part-owner of the Steelers since 2009, he also would not need to be approved by the NFL. Many NFL owners wanted Tepper to win this race, the New York Times reported in April.