Todd Bowles

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.

Jets Unlikely To Fire Bowles During Season

Jets head coach Todd Bowles is on the hot seat, but he’s unlikely to lose his job before the end of the calendar year. If a change is made, it will likely come after the season, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. 

Bowles and CEO Christopher Johnson met on Monday morning to discuss the future, which invited speculation of a coaching change during the team’s bye week. Even after the Jets made Bills quarterback Matt Barkley look like Jim Kelly, the Jets plan to keep their embattled head coach for at least the next couple of months.

Jets owner Woody Johnson generally does not believe in firing head coaches during the season. In 2014, Johnson ignored calls to fire Rex Ryan after a 1-8 start to the year and did not dismiss him until after the season when the Jets finished 4-12.

It’s also likely that the Johnsons do not see a logical replacement for Bowles on the coaching staff. The team has struggled on both sides of the ball, so neither offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates nor defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers would make sense as a temporary solution. And, even if Rodgers was viewed as an interim candidate, his health situation would complicate matters.

The locker room is said to still hold Bowles in high regard, but he’s as good as gone if the team cannot rally over the final six games of the season. After the bye, the 3-7 Jets will face the Patriots on Nov. 25.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Jets, Bowles, Patriots

Jets coach Todd Bowles was already on the hot seat entering today. Then the Jets were demolished at home by the Bills, and Bowles’ seat got even hotter. Seemingly everyone is assuming Bowles will get fired, and it appears to be just a matter of time before there’s an opening in New York. With that in mind, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY took a look at possible candidates to be his replacement.

The list includes some of the most frequently mentioned candidates like Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, but also includes some under-the-radar names. Washington University coach Chris Peterson is listed, as is Stanford coach David Shaw. One intriguing name he brings up is Michigan and ex-49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, although Vacchiano notes “he’d only be a candidate in New York if GM Mike Maccagnan goes too”, due to Harbaugh’s desire for decision-making power.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Speaking of Bowles, the embattled coach will meet with Jets CEO Christopher Johnson Monday morning, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. Cimini noted that a “lack of energy on the Jets’ bench” was noted by the team’s higher-ups, which doesn’t “bode well” for Bowles. Nothing is certain, but it’s definitely possible Bowles is relieved of his duties this week as the team enters its bye.
  • Patriots receiver Josh Gordon is set to be a restricted free agent after the season, and New England will have several options about what to do. “Giving Gordon a first-round tender makes the most sense for the Patriots”, according to Doug Kyed of NESN.com. If the Patriots place a first round tender on him, any team that signed him to an offer sheet would have to give the Patriots their first round pick if New England let him walk. The Patriots could save some money by attaching a lower tender to him, but then they’d risk having him poached.
  • Speaking of the Patriots, they’ll have a different decision to make in the coming weeks. The team has until Wednesday to activate second round pick Duke Dawson from injured reserve, notes Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Reiss notes that Dawson, a rookie cornerback, has been practicing with the team for a couple of weeks but it’s unclear whether or not New England plans on activating him.

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.

AFC Rumors: Jets, Nagy, Conley, Bengals

Todd Bowles and Matt Nagy will face off Sunday when the Jets head to Soldier Field, but this matchup’s visiting coach wanted Nagy to be his offensive coordinator last year, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports. The Jets ended up hiring the since-fired John Morton to be their OC in 2017, but Mehta writes Bowles’ top choice to replace Chan Gailey was Nagy, whom he’s known for decades. However, Nagy did not take an interview, continuing as Andy Reid‘s top offensive lieutenant with the Chiefs. Reid did not want to lose Nagy, per Mehta. Nagy stayed in Kansas City and served as a part-time play-caller last season. That ended up being a critical decision, with Nagy overseeing a dynamic Chiefs offense — one that continued to incorporate college concepts and doubled as one of the league’s most innovative attacks — and the season leading to the Bears hiring him as their head coach. Jeremy Bates is now the Jets’ OC.

Here’s the latest out of the Big Apple and other AFC cities:

  • Bilal Powell‘s career may be in jeopardy. The Jets placed their longtime passing-down running back on IR today, and the neck injury Powell’s sustained will need to be surgically repaired. Bowles said (via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, Twitter link) this could be a career-threatening setback. Powell’s played with the Jets since arriving in New York as a fourth-round pick in 2011. He’s by far the longest-tenured Jet, having served as a backfield complement to the likes of LaDainian Tomlinson, Chris Ivory and Matt Forte.
  • Patrick Peterson is either off the market, or the Cardinals are orchestrating an impressive smokescreen, so cornerback-needy teams will need to look elsewhere. Some are gauging whether the Raiders would trade another Reggie McKenzie first-round pick, with Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweeting teams are inquiring about Gareon Conley. Janoris Jenkins is the other player contenders are monitoring, but Conley is only in his second season. He is, however, one of the many Raiders who’ve seen their stock drop under Jon Gruden. The Raiders benched Conley prior to their London game; he’d started the previous five Oakland games after missing almost all of his rookie season due to a shin injury. However, the Raiders aren’t believed to be ready to part with Conley. JLC adds the Eagles, Patriots and Steelers are among the teams exploring what it would take to land a corner.
  • An NFLPA grievance against the Bengals filed on behalf of Eric Reid did not go in the union’s favor, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com reports. An arbitrator denied the grievance, ruling the Bengals were within their rights to ask the then-free agent safety if he planned on continuing to kneel during the playing of the national anthem. The NFLPA argued the Bengals passed on Reid solely because of the anthem controversy, per Garafolo. Now on the Panthers, Reid has knelt during the anthem with Carolina. His collusion grievance against the NFL is still pending and isn’t expected to be heard in the near future, Garafolo adds.

Jets Not Considering Coaching Change

Although the Jets have struggled to a 1-3 start, and although head coach Todd Bowles‘ job has not felt particularly safe for the last couple of years, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that Gang Green is not considering any staff changes at this point.

Indeed, the fact that the team is starting a rookie signal-caller will certainly buy Bowles — who signed an extension that runs through 2020 last December — a little bit of time. But Sam Darnold‘s development over the course of the season will be critical to Bowles’ status with the club moving forward, especially since the Jets seem to have regressed in many ways from last year, when a weak roster scrapped its way to a 5-7 record through the first 12 games of the season (before finishing 5-11 and in the AFC East cellar for the second straight campaign).

Plus, Bowles’ game management has again come under fire in 2018, and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com criticized Bowles this morning for his conservative approach. While ownership is not mulling a coaching change right now, things could change if the Jets do not begin playing more soundly as the season progresses. La Canfora says he would not be surprised if New York is in the market for a new head coach in 2019, especially if a candidate with a strong offensive resume becomes available. To date, Bowles has compiled a 21-31 record with the Jets and has failed to make the playoffs (though the team did come close in 2015, Bowles’ first year on the job).

In related news, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv tweets that Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers could be out for several weeks as he deals with a serious illness. Bowles will call the team’s defensive plays in Rodgers’ absence.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Jets, Bowles, Seahawks, Thomas, Saints, Crawley, Raiders, Hall

Not too long ago, the Jets were riding high off their Week 1 Monday Night Football win over the Lions as they kicked off the Sam Darnold era and all was well in New York. Now things have gone south quickly, as the team has dropped two straight games to the Dolphins and Browns. And although coach Todd Bowles recently landed a contract extension that locks him up through the 2020 season, his job isn’t necessarily safe writes Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.

While Vacchiano cautions that these first couple games wont determine Bowles’ future, he writes that “the feeling around the Jets is still that the 54-year-old Bowles isn’t really that safe at all.” It’s an interesting development considering Bowles was widely praised last season for leading the team to a surprise 5-11 record. Before last season, Bowles had been thought to be on one of the hottest seats in the entire league. It will be interesting to watch play out, but it looks like Bowles might not be the coach of the future in New York.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Earl Thomas didn’t practice for the Seahawks today, and coach Pete Carroll was extremely vague about why according to Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times. Carroll said it wasn’t an injury and was something the team was dealing with, but wouldn’t commit to Thomas playing this Sunday. This immediately revived trade rumors that have surrounded Thomas all year, but it doesn’t seem like he’ll be on the move at this point. The team that was most-linked to Thomas this offseason, the Cowboys, aren’t pursuing him at the moment as EVP Stephen Jones said the team was “not exchanging any calls or any information at this time” according to Jon Machota of Dallas News (Twitter link). It’s a strange situation, and while it doesn’t seem like he’ll be traded, Condotta writes “no one will say” why he isn’t practicing.
  • The Saints’ defense, particularly their secondary, has struggled mightily this year. A large part of the problem has been cornerback Ken Crawley, who has now been benched ahead of the team’s Week 3 matchup with the Falcons according to Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com (Twitter link). Fourth-year player P.J. Williams will move into the lineup in his place.
  • Raiders cornerback Leon Hall was hospitalized after the team’s Week 2 game against the Broncos according to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Hall has a sickle cell trait issue that can flare up at altitude. He’s expected to play for this team this Sunday in Miami.

 

Poll: Who Will Be The First Coach To Get Fired This Season?

It’s a new year for every coach in the NFL, but not every coach will survive the year. Already, there’s speculation about which coaches could be on the hot seat in 2018. Some coaches with shaky job security may include:

  • Hue Jackson, Browns: Jackson is the oddsmaker’s favorite to lose his job first. After compiling a 1-31 record in his two seasons at the helm in Cleveland, it’s hard to argue with the professionals. Jackson certainly has more talent to work with thanks to the arrivals of running back Carlos Hyde, wide receiver Jarvis Landry, and a vastly improved secondary, but along with that comes raised expectations. When also considering that Jackson is a holdover from the previous regime and not necessarily the preferred choice of new GM John Dorsey, it’s quite possible that Jackson could be ousted with another bad start.
  • Adam Gase, Dolphins: When Gase was hired in 2016, he was the league’s youngest head coach at the age of 38. He earned a playoff appearance in his first year on the sidelines, but last year turned ugly after quarterback Ryan Tannehill was lost for the season and replaced by Jay Cutler. Tannehill’s return should help matters, but it’s fair to wonder whether this team has improved much at all after losing Ndamukong Suh on the other side of the ball. The Dolphins’ early schedule may also hurt Gase as they open against the Titans, Jets, Raiders, and Patriots. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Dolphins split those games, like they did in 2017, but it’s also conceivable that they could open the year 0-4. As you can probably guess, an 0-4 start is historically difficult to climb out from. Of the 117 teams that have started 0-4 in the 16-game era, the ’92 Chargers are the ones to have reached the postseason with with an 11-win campaign. The 2004 Bills and the 2017 Chargers both rallied to win nine games, but neither club reached the playoffs.
  • Marvin Lewis, Bengals: The Lewis saga took some weird twists and turns last season. In the midst of a second-straight season without a playoff appearance, there was speculation about Lewis’ job security. Then, in December, we started hearing rumblings that Lewis might leave the Bengals to pursue opportunities elsewhere. Ultimately, Lewis was signed to a two-year extension to, theoretically, keep him under contract for his 16th and 17th seasons in Cincinnati. Lewis has avoided lame duck status for 2018, but there’s no guarantee that he’ll survive the year if the Bengals falter.
  • Vance Joseph, Broncos: Joseph was nearly axed after the 2017 season before John Elway ultimately decided to retain him. The Broncos’ defense is still jam-packed with talent and they have a capable quarterback in Case Keenum, so anything short of a playoff appearance will be a disappointment in Denver. This will be Joseph’s second season at the helm in Denver, but it’s clear that he is under pressure it win.
  • Dirk Koetter, Buccaneers: Koetter was already believed to be on the hot seat but he was placed squarely behind the 8-ball last week when quarterback Jameis Winston was suspended for the first three games of the season. Even if the Bucs come out of September unscathed, they’ll be up against an overall schedule that is the fourth-toughest in the NFL, based on the combined win percentage of opponents in 2017.

The list goes on from there. Jay Gruden (Redskins), Todd Bowles (Jets), Bill O’Brien (Texans), Jason Garrett (Cowboys), John Harbaugh (Ravens), and Ron Rivera (Panthers) could also be in varying degrees of jeopardy with disappointing seasons. We’d be surprised to see a quick hook for Garrett, Harbaugh, or Rivera no matter what happens, but you may feel differently.

Click below to make your pick for who will be the first to get the axe. Then, you can head to the comment section to back up your choice.

[RELATED: The Average Age Of NFL Head Coaches In 2018]

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.

NFL Draft Notes: Dolphins, Browns, Jets, Raiders, Bucs

The Dolphins are serious about moving back in the draft if the board operates as the team expects, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald writes.

Beasley says if the quarterbacks the team are targeting all go early, the team would be more than happy to trade back, pick up additional assets and target a linebacker like Boise State’s Leighton Vander Esch.

Though the team did not have Vander Esch in for a pre-draft visit, Miami did meet with him at the Combine in February and not having a pre-draft visit did not stop it from selecting Charles Harris in 2017.

Trading back with the hopes of landing the Boise State standout could be a risky proposition. The quick linebacker has been one of the fastest rising names in the days leading up to Thursday’s NFL Draft.

Here’s more concerning the upcoming draft:

  • The MMQB’s Peter King released his first-round mock draft on Monday and has Sam Darnold pegged as the No. 1 pick to the Browns. King cites his pick on the team’s need to be safe and a source who is “someone I trust, who is very often right and is very well-connected, told me Sunday it’s not [Josh] Allen.” 
  • In the same mock draft, King tabbed Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea to the Dolphins at No. 11. Miami was believed to be one of the teams looking to move up for a quarterback like Baker Mayfield. “I’ve started to think, through what I’ve heard in the pre-draft process, that Miami is more likely to stick with Ryan Tannehill (who has missed the last 19 games with injury) and continue the progress he was making with Adam Gase in the 2016 season.”
  • Unlike the Browns, who plan to have their drafted quarterback watch from the sidelines in 2018, the Jets are not opposed to having their top pick — should they draft a quarterback — starting from Day One, Jets head coach Todd Bowles tells Newsday’s Calvin Watkins“It depends on the progress,” Bowles said. “I’m not afraid to play young players at any position. You go in and compete and as you gain confidence in the system, understand what you’re doing and go through training camp.” New York is highly expected to take a signal-caller at No. 3.
  • The Buccaneers could trade back with a team looking to land a quarterback and pick up a running back or pass rusher with the move, Florida Football Insiders speculates. Though the Broncos and Colts have been heavily linked to trade back, the Bucs also make sense. Should they land in the middle to late in the first round, they could target LSU running back Derrius Guice or UT San Antonio defensive end Marcus Davenport.
  • The Raiders are looking to upgrade their receiver depth and could target the position in the upcoming draft, Scott Bair of NBC Sports writes. Though it won’t likely look for a receiver at No. 10, several options like Christian Kirk and James Washington could be on the board in the second round.