New York Jets: Mike Maccagnan was fired, so what’s next?

The Jets made a confusing move by firing general manager Mike Maccagnan. Why did they do that, and where do they go from here?

This is the slow part of the offseason. The draft is over, mandatory offseason activities haven’t started yet, and training camp hasn’t started yet.

The Jets made a surprising move though, firing general manager Mike Maccagnan, who had served as GM for four years. This was shocking on many levels and sent ripple effects throughout the NFL.

NFL franchises don’t generally fire their general managers after the wave of free agency and the draft. The GM has made all the decisions at this point, and his job is almost over. It has happened before, such as when the Chiefs fired GM John Dorsey in June of 2017. But it’s rare. Teams just don’t like to reshape their management this late into the offseason.

That is what makes the Jets move to let go of Maccagnan seem odd. Maccagnan made all the moves for the team this offseason.

Maccagnan spent $191.2 million dollars on free agents this spring. This made sense, as they had over $80 million in cap room coming in, but he spent a lot of his cap space. Maccagnan got two stars in free agency, signing running back Le’Veon Bell and linebacker C.J. Mosley.

Both are some of the best players at their respective positions but were very expensive to get, with a combined 134 million just spent on them alone. Maccagnan also acquired Jamison Crowder, Kelechi Oselmele, and Henry Anderson with the remaining cap room.

He also selected Quinnen Williams at No. 3 overall this year, and Williams will be a day-one starter for them, with Pro Bowl potential in his first year. The year before, he traded up for quarterback Sam Darnold, who has shown signs of being the future face of the franchise. In 2017 he selected star safeties, Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye. Why would the Jets decide to fire Mike Maccagnan now, considering the talent he brought in?

There was clear dysfunction between the front office and the coaching staff. Even though Maccagnan hired Adam Gase, Gase wanted oversight of the front office as well. According to Manish Mehta, Gase didn’t want to sign Le’Veon Bell at all. Gase didn’t want to spend that much money on a running back, which led to major organizational problems.

With Bell being the big piece they brought in this offseason, this hurts the chemistry between coach and GM. The interactions they share has huge repercussions on the franchise, and if both don’t get along, it will cause ripple effects in the organization. Clearly, Christopher Johnson, CEO of the Jets, saw this problem emerge, and he sought to stop it swiftly.

While understandable why the Jets would do that, it wasn’t the smartest thing to do. If the Jets wanted to start over at GM, why didn’t they just fire Maccagnan a few months ago and get a GM and a coach to work together?

This new GM and coach could form a vision for the roster together and could execute it exactly like they want it to look like. Instead, the Jets didn’t do that, and they may have hurt their short and long term future in doing these moves. The Jets made major commitments to the guys they signed this offseason, and those are something they can’t get rid of quickly. Bell and Mosley are both signed for at least four seasons, with high dollar amounts attached.

Not to mention, the rising problem between Gase and Bell. If reports got out about Gase not wanting Bell around, do you think Le’Veon is going to like that? He shouldn’t. He just took a year off to get paid, and chose your franchise, seeing it as a place where he could settle with his family and put his future in the position. Bell committed the rest of his physical prime to them. If Gase doesn’t love Bell, do you think that relationship can work?

Maccagnan wasn’t perfect. He made major errors in his time, such as drafting Darron Lee and Christian Hackenberg in his first draft. Hackenberg has been gone for years, and Lee was traded to the Chiefs. Maccagnan clearly wasn’t great at his job, and it makes sense why they fired him.

What makes zero sense is the timing. The Jets should have done it when Gase was hired, and their future outlook could look much better. For now, though, the Jets future looks kind of grim, without a guy who can lead the front office into the future.

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