Woody Johnson

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Extra Points: Jets, Kap, OBJ, Megatron

The Jets moved on from linebacker David Harris and wide receiver Eric Decker solely for financial reasons, reports Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Jets owner Woody Johnson, realizing that the team wasn’t going to compete this year even with Harris and Decker, decided it would make more sense to save $13.75MM than spend it on the two veterans. Committing to a rebuild is a commendable approach, writes Mehta, though he questions the way the Jets handled the Harris situation. Jets bigwigs assured Harris back in March that he’d return to the team for an 11th year, but they then approached him about a pay cut 72 hours before releasing him, per Mehta. Johnson’s desire to save money drove that decision, and Harris is now looking for work at a time when free agency has died down. Harris’ agents complained Tuesday that the Jets didn’t just release the defender over the winter, as doing so probably would’ve led to a stronger market for his services.

As for two of Johnson’s highest-ranking employees, general manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles, they should be in line to return in 2018 if the rebuilding club’s young players progress this year, writes Mehta. But Brian Costello of the New York Post passes along somewhat different information, relaying that Maccagnan will probably stay on but that “Bowles is viewed as a goner by nearly everyone.” Talent-wise, the deck is stacked against Bowles as he enters his third season with the Jets and the penultimate year of his contract. “They have the worst roster in the league and it’s not close,” one executive told Costello. Harris’ release added another hole to the roster, and his exit hit Bowles “hard,” according to Costello.

  • Colin Kaepernick‘s inability to find a job as a backup quarterback continues to be a popular topic, and one of his friends, Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin, weighed in on the matter after Seattle signed Austin Davis instead of Kaepernick. “The organizations, they’re going to be giving the younger guys the first and second look. They know what Colin can do,” Baldwin told the Associated Press on Tuesday. “They know he’s a starter in this league. They’re going to give every opportunity for the young guys to compete, show their talents, and then whatever falls he’ll get his opportunities once all this dust settles.” While many believe Kaepernick is unemployed largely because the then-49er refused to stand for the national anthem last season, Baldwin doesn’t see that as a significant factor. “To some degree, but I think that’s really minor,” Baldwin said. “There are 32 teams out there. Not all of them really care about that. I have no doubt in my mind he’ll have a job here rather quickly.”
  • With one report suggesting that Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. hasn’t attended OTAs because he wants a raise, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk contends that it would likely take a multiyear deal with at least $30MM guaranteed to lock him up. Meanwhile, Steve Serby of the New York Post proposes a six-year, $103.5MM contract – including $47.5MM guaranteed – that would make Beckham the game’s highest-paid wideout.
  • Contrary to a prior report, Calvin Johnson did not repay the Lions $320K of his $3.2MM signing bonus when he retired in March 2016. The former receiver actually forked over a much larger sum, at least $1MM, according to Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press.

Latest On Jets Ownership

A notable shakeup is on the way atop the Jets organization: Owner Woody Johnson will serve as the United States ambassador to the United Kingdom under President-elect Donald Trump. Johnson’s appointment has looked like a strong possibility for weeks, though he downplayed it as speculation earlier this month.

Woody Johnson

While Johnson will remain the Jets’ owner while he serves in his new post over the next three yeas, he’ll have to cede day-to-day control of the franchise for the first time since he purchased it in 2000. He’ll also likely have to resign from the NFL’s Finance Committee, Business Ventures Committee and Media Committee, according to the New York Daily News’ Manish Mehta

Johnson’s position is unlikely to have a significant effect on the Jets organization, writes Mehta, who notes that Steelers chairman Dan Rooney previously gave up control of the Pittsburgh organization to his son, Art Rooney II, while serving as the U.S. ambassador to Ireland under President Barack Obama from 2009-12. In Johnson’s case, his brother – Christopher Wold Johnson – is reportedly in line to grab the Jets’ reins. Johnson confidant Ira Akselrad could have involvement as an advisor, adds Mehta.

Woody Johnson decided at the end of a disappointing regular season to retain general manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles for 2017, but the owner’s role as an ambassador doesn’t guarantee either job security beyond then.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Jets, Titans, Bills, Raiders

While the Jets have two recently drafted quarterbacks on their roster in 2015 fourth-round pick Bryce Petty and 2016 second-rounder Christian Hackenberg, the franchise has little faith in either, reports Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. General manager Mike Maccagnan opined Thursday that Petty has starting-caliber potential, but the organization only regards him as a backup behind the scenes, according to Mehta. Petty struggled mightily this season in his first taste of NFL action, completing 56.4 percent of attempts, tossing three touchdowns against seven interceptions and posting a 60.0 passer rating in parts of six games. Hackenberg wasn’t even active until Week 17, when he backed up Ryan Fitzpatrick, and a team source scoffed at the notion Thursday that the ex-Penn State Nittany Lion could be the Jets’ long-term solution. “He will never make it,” the source told Mehta. “Never.” Although Maccagnan stated that Hackenberg made progress during the season, the executive also implied that the Jets will look for an outside starter, revealing that “all options are on the table.”

More from New York and three other AFC cities:

  • As a reward for a strong debut season as the Titans’ GM, controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk decided Thursday to make Jon Robinson the second-highest-ranking member of the organization. Robinson is now the team’s executive vice president/GM after helping the Titans go from three wins in 2015 to nine victories this season. “This is an acknowledgement of his work and it puts him on equal footing with others in the league who direct football operations,” Strunk said in a statement (via Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com).
  • Woody Johnson could be under consideration to become the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom when President-elect Donald Trump takes office later this month, but the Jets’ owner downplayed it as speculation Thursday, per the Associated Press. If chosen, Johnson would reportedly hand control of the Jets over to his brother until the appointment ends.
  • Bills linebacker and pending free agent Zach Brown posted a message Thursday on Instagram referring to his time in Buffalo in the past tense, as Mike Rodak of ESPN.com points out (on Twitter). After spending the first three years of his career in Tennessee, Brown signed a modest deal with the Bills last April. The 27-year-old then emerged as a major bargain, playing 16 games for the fourth time in a row and totaling an AFC-high 149 tackles to go with four sacks and two forced fumbles. Brown, whom Pro Football Focus graded an impressive 17th among 89 qualified linebackers, should fare much better on the open market this offseason.
  • The Raiders are still optimistic that Matt McGloin will be able to serve as the primary backup to Connor Cook in Saturday’s wild-card game round game in Houston, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. “Moxy,” who’s dealing with a shoulder injury, got some light work in Wednesday.
  • The Jets worked out Olympic sprinter Tre Houston on Thursday, writes Mehta. Houston competed in the 200 meters for Bermuda at the 2016 Rio Games and projects as a wide receiver.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Changes Coming To Jets’ Ownership?

Despite a highly disappointing 5-11 finish this season, Jets owner Woody Johnson decided Sunday to give both general manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles another chance in 2017. It now appears that will be Johnson’s last significant act as the Jets’ owner for at least a little while.

Woody Johnson (vertical)

Johnson, 69, is likely to become the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom once President-elect Donald Trump takes office Jan. 20. Johnson will then have to relinquish control of the Jets until his appointment ends. The franchise will remain in the Johnson family, per Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, who reports that Woody Johnson will cede the reins to younger brother Christopher Wold Johnson.

Since Woody Johnson purchased the Jets in 2000, they’ve gone .500 or better in nine of 17 seasons and made six playoff trips. They’re currently stuck in a six-year postseason drought, though, with Maccagnan and Bowles having been around for a pair of those campaigns. The forthcoming change to the franchise’s ownership situation may have helped those two retain their jobs, according to Florio.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Notes: Panthers, Bears, 49ers, Jets

After going 15-1 and losing the Super Bowl last season, the Panthers have taken a huge step back in 2016. The team enters the final week of the season with a 6-9 record, and both the offense and the defense rank towards the bottom half of the league in several team stats.

Despite the struggles, coach Ron Rivera indicated that he isn’t anticipating any changes to his coaching staff…as long as it’s his decision.

“Remember, it’s the same group that was 15-1, same group that led the league in scoring,” Rivera told Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review. “And in the last five years, we’ve had a top-10 defense. So as I look it and break things down, yeah, there’s some things that we have to work on and change. You guys heard me talk about evolving. We have to.”

As Darin Gantt of ProFootballTalk.com points out, Rivera hasn’t stuck to similar promises in the past. For instance, the team relieved special teams coach Richard Rodgers of his duties following the 2014 campaign. Gantt believes that offensive coordinator Mike Shula and quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey could find themselves on the hot seat.

Let’s take a look at some other coaching notes from around the NFL…

  • Things haven’t gone as planned during John Fox‘s second season with the Bears. The team is looking to avoid their worst 16-game record in franchise history, and blame will naturally lie on the head coach. Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune writes that chairman George McCaskey will likely wait until the end of the season to make any decisions on his coaching staff’s fate. Campbell notes that the organization waited until the 2014 offseason to fire general manager Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman.
  • Eric Branch of SFGate.com wonders if head coach Chip Kelly‘s unwillingness to adjust his fast-paced gameplan could ultimately lead to his demise with the 49ers. As the writer notes, the coach wasn’t necessarily put in a position to succeed with a lack of talent on the roster. However, Campbell believes the coach’s devotion to his gameplan could come up during offseason discussions with CEO Jed York and a new general manager (assuming Trent Baalke is fired). For what it’s worth, Kelly hasn’t indicated that he’s willing to change his ways. “I think we always look at everything on a weekly basis trying to see how we can improve,” Kelly said following his team’s overtime loss to the Jets in early December. “You look at the game yesterday: It’s about making one more play than the other team. It’s not like we’re getting taken to the woodshed and don’t have an opportunity to compete and play.”
  • Jets head coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan are expected to receive a “mulligan” from owner Woody Johnson for the team’s subpar performance this season, writes ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini. The writer acknowledges that it’s been a tough year for the organization, but he also notes that it’d be a knee-jerk reaction to fire the tandem after only two seasons.

Growing Sense That Todd Bowles Is Safe

Second-year Jets head coach Todd Bowles, widely thought to be on the hot seat as a result of his club’s disappointing 2016 campaign, has a good chance of righting the ship in 2017, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. Cimini reports that sources familiar with owner Woody Johnson‘s thinking say that Johnson remains a Bowles supporter and is not planning to cut him loose.

Todd Bowles

The reason, Cimini writes, is that Johnson feels he would be punishing Bowles–and GM Mike Maccagnan, both of whom were hired in January 2015–for the sins of previous regimes. Although the duo nearly lifted Gang Green to the playoffs last season with considerable help from veteran free agents, that performance was something of an illusion, as the core of the team was weak, and that weakness has manifested itself in a big way this year. As Cimini observes, only five current starters remain from the 2008 to 2014 drafts: Muhammad Wilkerson, Brian Winters, Quincy Enunwa, Calvin Pryor, and Sheldon Richardson. It is difficult to hold a new head coach and GM responsible for that poor level of inherited talent, and Johnson is therefore expected to give Bowles and Maccagnan a little extra rope (Maccagnan and Bowles are equals and report to Johnson directly, so Maccagnan has no say in Bowles’ fate).

ESPN’s Adam Schefter is apparently thinking along the same lines as Cimini, tweeting that there is a growing sense that Bowles’ job is safe.

Of course, Johnson is an impulsive owner who is capable of changing his mind at the drop of a hat. But whether or not Bowles keeps his job, Cimini does expect there to be at least one major change in the coaching staff, and that change would likely be the ouster of offensive coordinator Chan Gailey. Meanwhile, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reiterates the notion that Bowles is safe (Twitter link), but Rapoport is expecting a significant roster overhaul, with several big-money veterans jettisoned from the club. Players who fit that description include Ryan Fitzpatrick (whose contract will expire at the end of 2016 anyway), Darrelle Revis, Brandon Marshall, and Nick Mangold. With respect to Mangold, Cimini reports that his ankle injury is pretty significant and at least one source close to the 33-year-old would not be surprised if he decided to call it a career.

But Johnson may not even be the one operating the Jets when all these decisions need to be made. As Rapoport writes in a separate piece, Johnson is a leading contender to be the United States ambassador to the United Kingdom under President-elect Donald Trump, and if that were to happen, Johnson would likely not be running the team on a day-to-day basis. In addition, Johnson would almost certainly resign from NFL committees on which he currently serves (the NFL’s Media Committee, Finance Committee, and Business Ventures Committee).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.