Woody Johnson

Jets Owner Endorses GM Joe Douglas, HC Robert Saleh

The Jets hit another low this past Sunday. Not only did they get blown out by their divisional rival, but they also lost rookie quarterback Zach Wilson for the next few weeks. While no one in New York is happy with the team’s 1-5 record, owner Woody Johnson told reporters that he continues to have faith in general manager Joe Douglas and coach Robert Saleh.

“I’ve been around for, this is going on 22 years, with my little absence that I had recently, and this is a good group,” Johnson said (via ESPN’s Rich Cimini). “We will get it right. Last week, you know, [was] frustrating, but now we turn the page and we’re off to the Bengals.”

The Jets have struggled during Douglas’s two-plus seasons in New York, but he’s also put together the league’s youngest roster and has a clear vision for the future. This is Saleh’s first season at the helm, and even if the Jets finish with one of the worst records in the league, there’s practically no chance the team moves on from their head coach.

“Just talking to the leadership — Joe, Robert, and seeing how their plans are put together,” Johnson said. “How they’re deep thinkers, they want to do things like establish a culture and they’re getting the right players in the right positions.

“It’s just a very young team with a young quarterback. He’s 22 years old, he just turned 22. So he’s seeing things for the first time like a lot of the quarterbacks now, a lot of the young quarterbacks. It’s going to take him a little bit of time, but I have a lot of confidence in Zach, too.”

Staff Notes: Johnson, Lions, Ravens, Browns

Jets owner Woody Johnson is back running his team, after his United Kingdom ambassadorship under President Donald Trump ended. Johnson now oversees a staff hired while his brother — Christopher Johnson — was operating as owner. Woody Johnson is behind the Jets’ current Joe DouglasRobert Saleh power structure, despite not being involved in their respective hirings.

They’ve got a tremendous amount of leeway,” Johnson said of Douglas and Saleh, via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. “I’m totally in sync with these guys. Chris [Johnson] made some unbelievable choices, and we’re lucky to get both of those gentlemen. I couldn’t be more excited,” he continued. “I’m very optimistic, generally, but I’m particularly optimistic now when I see what happens on the field [in practice].”

It will be interesting to follow Johnson’s relationship with Douglas and Saleh, given the unique circumstances behind this power trio. The returning owner does not plan to interfere with the Douglas regarding personnel, Cimini adds. The Douglas-Saleh partnership follows two unsteady pairings formed during Christopher Johnson’s interim ownership tenure, with the Adam GaseMike Maccagnan tandem lasting less than six months together and Douglas firing Gase — who helped him land the GM gig — after the 2020 season.

Here is the latest from the front office and coaching ranks:

  • Although the Lions hired a new GM (Brad Holmes), several Bob Quinn-era staffers will remain going forward. Holmes will keep Lance Newmark (player personnel director), Dave Sears (college scouting director) and Rob Lohman (pro scouting director) on staff, with select other scouts from Quinn’s regime remaining in place, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. Newmark turned down an offer to join Scott Fitterer‘s Panthers front office, per Birkett. Both Newmark, who has been with the Lions for nearly 25 years, and Lohman, who joined the Lions in 2007, interviewed for the Lions’ GM job that went to Holmes.
  • Holmes did hire some new personnel. Former Panthers and Texans exec Mike Martin will join the Lions as director of scouting advancement, while ex-Miami Hurricanes football ops director Don Corzine is now in Detroit as a senior advisor. These two join John Dorsey and assistant GM Ray Agnew as key new arrivals under Holmes.
  • Going into his third season with the Ravens, Nick Matteo will rise to the position of director of football administration. Matteo, who worked in the league office for 10 years, will be involved with the Ravens’ salary cap. Additionally, Andrew Raphael will rise from an area scout to a national scouting role.
  • Browns assistant coach Callie Brownson was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated last month, 92.3 The Fan’s Daryl Ruiter tweets. Brownson pleaded guilty to the charge, and the Browns suspended her. However, Kevin Stefanski said Brownson will be back for training camp. Currently working as the team’s chief of staff, Brownson became the first woman to coach a position group during a regular-season NFL game — when the team’s COVID-19 outbreak led to her coaching wide receivers and tight ends in separate games last season.

Jets’ Woody Johnson Won’t Interview Coaches

After firing Adam Gase this week, the Jets’ head coaching search is underway. However, owner Woody Johnson won’t be among those interviewing candidates, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets

[RELATED: Jets To Trade Darnold Or No. 2 Pick?]

Woody Johnson is currently rounding out his term as the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom. While he ties up those loose ends, his brother and CEO Christopher Johnson will lead the search. Woody will be kept in the loop, but he won’t chat directly with the candidates.

For all of their warts, the Jets still hold appeal for candidates. Playing in the country’s largest media market, the Jets are armed with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. Trevor Lawrence probably won’t be available, but they could still choose from prospects like Ohio State’s Justin Fields, BYU’s Zach Wilson, and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance. Many believe that they will take a QB and deal Sam Darnold, but moving the No. 2 pick and keeping the USC product is also an option.

In addition to the Jets, the Lions, Falcons, Texans, Jaguars, and Chargers are also seeking a new head coach. Before the week is through, we could see more NFL teams join the list.

Latest On Jets Owner Woody Johnson

At the end of last month, we heard that Jets owner and current U.S. ambassador to Great Britain, Woody Johnson, was said to have made racist and sexist comments during his time as an ambassador. Those allegations triggered a State Department investigation, and as Rich Cimini of ESPN.com reports, the State Department thinks the matter requires a more thorough review (Twitter links 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

The State Department’s report says that Johnson “sometimes made inappropriate or insensitive comments on topics generally considered Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)-sensitive, such as religion, sex, or color.” Within the report is a statement from the Office of the Inspector General indicating that Johnson’s comments, gathered through interviews and questionnaires from employees at the U.S. Embassy in London, could represent a violation of EEO laws, which is why it’s pushing for a comprehensive inquiry.

Johnson’s comments are included in the report. He said, “[i]f I have unintentionally offended anyone in the execution of my duties, I deeply regret that, but I do not accept that I have treated employees with disrespect or discriminated in any way.” He added that, in order to address the “perceived or real” allegations in the report, he has reviewed courses on workplace discrimination and has asked his staff to do the same.

Even assuming an additional review is conducted, it seems unlikely that Johnson’s ownership will be seriously threatened. After all, Washington Football Team owner Dan Snyder will not be made to sell his club in the wake of sexual harassment allegations made against members of his staff, and as disappointing and offensive as racist or sexist comments might be, it would be surprising to see them trigger an ouster.

Johnson’s brother, Christopher Johnson, is Gang Green’s CEO and chairman and has been serving as the club’s operating head during Woody’s ambassadorship. When news of Woody’s alleged comments surfaced last month, Christopher called almost every player on the Jets roster to listen to their concerns.

Jets Notes: Adams, Johnson, Clowney, Long

Joe Douglas confirmed the Jets had trade talks with several teams regarding Jamal Adams but categorized the sweepstakes-winning Seahawks as the most aggressive suitor. The Jets and Seahawks began talking weeks ago, and Seattle’s two-first-rounders-and-change offer swayed Douglas from planning not to trade his All-Pro safety to pulling the trigger (Twitter links via SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano). Adams lobbed salvos at Douglas and Adam Gase, and when Douglas listened to offers for the decorated defender at last year’s trade deadline, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link) Adams reached out to several Cowboys players to inform them of his interest in going to Dallas. This irked Jets teammates, coaches and team brass. While Douglas said he wanted to make Adams a Jet for life earlier this year, the second-year GM said this week he never promised him a contract, per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (on Twitter).

Here is the latest coming out of Jets headquarters:

  • Although the 49ers have made some big trades under their current power structure, John Lynch said they did not call the Jets about Adams, via NBC Sports Bay Area. However, ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler reported (via Twitter) involved parties believed the Cowboys and 49ers were both involved in talks with the Jets for Adams. The 49ers, who joined the Cowboys on Adams’ list of preferred destinations, re-signed Jimmie Ward this offseason and have starter Jaquiski Tartt back as well.
  • New Jets safety Bradley McDougald said Jadeveon Clowney remains interested in a deal (Twitter link). The former No. 1 overall pick expressed Jets interest in April as well. The Jets were linked to Clowney in March but, despite an apparent need for pass-rushing help, are not believed to be interested in the three-time Pro Bowler. Adams finished as Gang Green’s second-leading sacker in 2019.
  • Douglas convinced Ryan Kalil to unretire and become the Jets’ starting center last season, so reports of him being in talks with recently retired guard Kyle Long earlier this year carried a bit more weight. But Douglas said those talks were merely friends catching up. Douglas spent 2015 in the Bears’ front office prior to leaving for Philadelphia. That said, Mehta notes the two indeed discussed Long unretiring. The Jets re-signed Alex Lewis and added Greg Van Roten to a guard group that includes longtime starter Brian Winters.
  • Amid larger headlines involving current U.S. ambassador to Great Britain Woody Johnson, the Jets owner was reported by CNN to have made racist and sexist comments during his time as an ambassador. Johnson has denied the allegations, which prompted a State Department investigation. Following the report, however, acting Jets owner Christopher Johnson called almost every player on Gang Green’s roster to listen to their concerns, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes.

AFC East Notes: Jets, Patriots, Mayo, Bills

While it is not known when the Jets will make their GM decision, they do appear to be done interviewing candidates. The four executives the Jets spoke toJoe Douglas (Eagles), Scott Fitterer (Seahawks), Champ Kelly (Bears) and Terry Fontenot (Saints) — remain in contention, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets (video link) the team has since discussed salary expectations with the candidates. These follow-up talks occurred Tuesday night, per ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). The favorite since this process started, Douglas has not done anything to remove himself from that perch, but Fitterer has gained steam after a strong interview, Rapoport adds.

These meetings may have also been for the benefit of the candidates, with Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweeting multiple interviewees are concerned about the Jets’ atypical ownership situation. CEO Christopher Johnson is working in brother Woody Johnson‘s place, with the latter having accepted an ambassador position with the Trump administration. Woody Johnson will sign off on this GM pick, Mehta adds.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • A Patriots contingency plan for if presumptive left tackle Isaiah Wynn is not ready: perhaps Joe Thuney sliding over one spot. The Patriots’ fourth-year left guard worked with their first-string offense at left tackle Wednesday, according to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe (subscription required). Brian Schwenke and Ted Karras have been rotating at left guard during Pats minicamp. A 2016 third-round pick, Thuney has started every game at left guard since entering the league. Wynn, a 2018 first-rounder who tore his Achilles’ tendon during camp last year, is not yet ready for team drills.
  • Bill Belichick is expected to call Patriots defensive plays this season, but the team is using minicamp to try out some other possibilities. First-year full-time assistant Jerod Mayo was calling Pats plays for a second straight day at minicamp, according to Howe. The Patriots hired their former linebacker as assistant inside ‘backers coach this offseason, and Howe adds the 33-year-old calling plays during the season is now a “serious possibility.”
  • Quinnen Williams sustained a calf injury recently and will be limited for the rest of Jets minicamp, Adam Gase said (via Mehta), calling it a scare. However, the No. 3 overall pick is expected to resume full work when the team, interestingly, holds another OTA session next week.
  • Former Buccaneers seventh-round pick Stevie Tu’ikolovatu worked out for the Bills on Wednesday, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com tweets. The former USC defensive tackle has not played since being drafted, with injuries keeping him off the field.
  • One of the Dolphins‘ 18 priority free agent signings hit the waiver wire Tuesday. The Dolphins parted ways with cornerback Tyler Horton (Boise State) via left-squad designation, veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer notes (on Twitter).

Jets Notes: Bridgewater, Woody Johnson, Wilcox, Smith

Teddy Bridgewater has only been a Jet for a couple of months now, but trade rumors have been swarming pretty much non-stop since Bridgewater first signed with the team. Many have speculated that the New York could look to move Bridgewater if he shows he’s healthy during the preseason but the Jets decide to roll with Josh McCown and Sam Darnold as their quarterbacks.

But what kind of compensation could the Jets expect to get assuming he plays well in the preseason? The team could expect “maybe a third-rounder or fourth-rounder in a trade” according to Darryl Slater of NJ.com. Slater thinks that’s the maximum the team could get because Bridgewater is only on a one year deal. As for which teams may inquire about Bridgewater, Slater thinks it will come down to which team suffers a “quarterback injury in the preseason.”

Here’s more on the Jets:

  • When Jets owner Woody Johnson accepted an ambassadorship to the United Kingdom, he ceded control of the team to his brother Chris. Whenever Woody returns from his appointment, it’s unlikely that Chris goes away quietly, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN (Twitter link). Cimini says “I can’t see Chris just walking away. He’s really invested in the team.” Cimini goes on to speculate that the Jets may work out a situation where “both are involved.”
  • Slater thinks the recently signed J.J. Wilcox has an inside track at a roster spot. Among the safeties currently competing for the backup roles behind Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, Slater thinks Doug Middleton “could be the odd man out.”
  • Slater thinks both 2015 second-rounder Devin Smith and 2016 seventh-rounder Charone Peake are on the roster bubble as the team’s wide receiver depth chart sorts itself out. Smith has been plagued by injuries since entering the league as the 37th overall pick.

AFC East Notes: Fins, Anthony, Timmons, Jets

The Dolphins discussed acquiring linebacker Stephone Anthony from the Saints even before the club suspended veteran Lawrence Timmons, head coach Adam Gase told reporters, including Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald (Twitter link). That’s not entirely surprising, given that Miami had been short on linebackers even before the Timmons saga began. Rookie Raekwon McMillan, pegged to start at middle linebacker for the Dolphins, tore his ACL before the season began, so adding a former first-round talent such as Anthony for the cost of a fifth-round pick makes some sense.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • While Timmons is suspended indefinitely, it’s not out of the question that he returns to the Dolphins at some point, as Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes. Expected to be an integral part of Miami’s defense after agreeing to a two-year contract this spring, Timmons would likely ingratiate himself to teammates with an apology, opines Salguero. “I think every situation is different,” Gase said of Timmons. “And I would say you can be forgiven if the right steps are taken.”
  • Despite a seemingly gaping hole at left guard, the Dolphins did not express interest in Alex Boone after he was released by the Vikings earlier this month, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Instead, Miami is content to rotate Anthony Steen and Jesse Davis on the interior, with Steen handling roughly two-thirds of the club’s offensive snaps. Boone went on to sign a one-year, $1.4MM deal with the Cardinals.
  • New Jets owner Christopher Johnson says his brother — newly sworn-in UK ambassador Woody Johnson — will have no role with the club while serving in his new capacity, tweets Mike Garafolo of NFL.com. Meanwhile, Christopher Johnson also indicated New York is “definitely” not tanking, and that general manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles won’t be based on wins and losses alone, per Darryl Slater of NJ.com. Instead, the Jets’ decision-makers will be judged on the team’s gradual improvement and development.
  • Based on early-season performance, the Jets‘ decision to part with veterans such as Nick Mangold, Darrelle Revis, Ryan Clady, and Brandon Marshall has turned out well, opines Brian Costello of the New York Post. Mangold and Revis have yet to land a contract, Clady is retired, and Marshall hasn’t performed through two games with the Giants.

Jets Owner Sworn In As UK Ambassador

The Jets announced that owner Woody Johnson has been formally sworn in as the United States’ ambassador to the United Kingdom. With that in mind, Woody’s younger brother Christopher Wold Johnson will take over as the Jets’ chairman and CEO. Woody Johnson (vertical)

Christopher is twelve years Woody’s junior, so he could potentially hold down the fort for a while. We first learned that Christopher would ascend to this role back in June.

While Woody Johnson will face some challenges in his new role, Christopher Johnson has a difficult task of his own. This year’s Jets team may be one of the least talented squads assembled in the modern era. Meanwhile, the team is without a promising young quarterback to groom for the future.

The Jets also may have to make a decision on the club’s decision-making structure in the coming months. If Gang Green struggles again in 2017, the team could be looking to replace general manager Mike Maccagnan and/or head coach Todd Bowles.

AFC East Rumors: Jets, Glenn, Dolphins

While the Josh McCownChristian Hackenberg battle for this season’s quarterback job looks closer than expected exiting minicamp, the Jets‘ focus could be on the 2018 crop of passers. As of now viewed as a better quarterback draft class than 2017’s, the 2018 contingent is where the Jets are expected to look for their next starter here, per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. Hackenberg’s development is the caveat here, Cimini writes, with the former Penn State starter still tentatively the quarterback of the future entering this season. Noting the Jets could have upwards of $80MM in cap space in 2018, Cimini doesn’t hear Gang Green planning for a monster offer to Jimmy Garoppolo or Kirk Cousins — should those players become available.

This draft-based thinking follows an Albert Breer TheMMQB.com report that indicated many in the league are under the impression the Jets are positioning themselves to make a run for the No. 1 pick and use this as a developmental year. Tanking, essentially. Specifically, Breer wrote that owner Woody Johnson, and not the football staff, has his eyes on the No. 1 pick and a potential franchise quarterback. USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen and Wyoming’s Josh Allen are the early prizes, but Breer cautions in planning too far ahead, noting Mitch Trubisky and Patrick Mahomes were not thought to be first-round picks a year ago.

Here’s more from the AFC East.

  • New Bills HC Sean McDermott expects Cordy Glenn to be ready for training camp, but the cornerstone left tackle spent all three minicamp practices in a walking boot, Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News reports. Glenn suffered a high ankle sprain during training camp last year and missed five regular-season games. This ankle problem intervened last season and has plagued the sixth-year left tackle for many months now. The Bills drafted Dion Dawkins in the second round and re-signed right tackle Jordan Mills, so they have a bit more depth this year on the edge.
  • The NFL is investigating an alleged incident that took place between Jets linebacker Darron Lee and his girlfriend at a music festival earlier this month. Todd Bowles described it as an argument between Lee and his girlfriend, and Cimini (Twitter link) doesn’t expect a suspension to come for the second-year inside linebacker. Lee was a part-time starter last season, but now that David Harris is off the roster, Cimini expects the ex-Ohio State standout to be a locked-in starter.
  • DeVante Parker has drawn immense praise from the Dolphins this offseason. OC Clyde Christensen said he expects the third-year wideout to have a “gigantic year.” Breer wonders where Jarvis Landry fits into this equation, especially if Parker follows through on this offseason promise. Miami re-signed deep threat Kenny Stills to a four-year, $32MM deal. Parker would be on course to surpass that should he progress, but the 24-year-old wideout is under team control through 2019 — provided the Fins pick up his fifth-year option next May. Landry is entering a contract year and confirmed the team and his camp are discussing an extension, but the slot dynamo said those talks aren’t in the serious stage yet. Landry does not plan to hold out, but with the 24-year-old wideout having been the Fins’ most reliable receiver over the past three years, this wideout contract puzzle is a situation worth monitoring.
  • The veteran purge the Jets have orchestrated this summer could conceivably include Buster Skrine, but Cimini doesn’t expect the cornerback to be cut (Twitter link). Skrine is signed through 2018, and it would cost the Jets $5MM in dead money to cut him. That number drops to $2MM next year. He’s owed $8.5MM in each of the next two years. New York, which has created significant cap space this offseason, has Morris Claiborne and Marcus Williams signed through this season. Skrine is the only notable Jets corner signed beyond 2017.