New York Jets: Rumors link Peyton Manning, Joe Douglas to general manager vacancy

New York Jets CEO Christopher Johnson fired general manager Mike Maccagnan last week. While the move drew questions from several people considering Maccagnan was allowed to run the Jets during the draft and free agency, it seems as if the move was made simply because Maccagnan wasn’t a good fit anymore in the Jets’ front office, and he didn’t seem to be working well with new head coach Adam Gase.

Rumors go as far as a report from New York Daily News’ Manish Mehta that Gase and Maccagnan had a disagreement regarding Le’Veon Bell, the star running back that Gase did not want to invest in. But in the end, Maccagnan had to bring in the Brinks truck to pay the former Steeler.

Johnson told reporters this past week that his next general manager, who will take over for Gase, who is the interim general manager, will be “a great strategic thinker.”

“It’s more than a talent-evaluation guy,” said Johnson. “I want a great manager, a communicator, who can collaborate well with the building. I’m convinced we’re going to find that person.”

Former Colts and Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has been mentioned in the latest flurry of rumors. While the majority of these claims don’t all link the future Hall of Famer to the vacant general manager role, they all connect him to a significant front office role.

At the same time, it’s worth noting that Gase worked well with Manning in Denver, and a possible reunion could be prompted by the duo’s ability to work well together.

But perhaps the question remains whether Manning is able to be the guy who, per Johnson’s request, can be “a great manager, a communicator, who can collaborate well with the building.”

It seems like he would be that guy. Assuming Manning is interested in the position (he hasn’t hinted or commented on his stance), it would “fulfill a match more than 20 years in the making,” writes Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, who points out that in 1997, “Manning supposedly would have left Tennessee early if he had an assurance that the Jets would make him the first overall pick in the draft.”

On the other hand, perhaps the Jets could take a more traditional approach and hire someone with significant front office experience. Philadelphia Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas was the first name to be linked to the general manager role immediately after it became vacant.

Douglas worked with Gase in 2015 when the now-Jets head coach was the Chicago Bears offensive coordinator and Douglas was the team’s college scouting director. Not only does he have a strong working relationship with Gase, but he also has front office experience of several years, something that Manning is lacking.

And since we’re talking about a former quarterback with no front office experience, it’s worth mentioning two names from beyond the front office realm that have been linked to New York.’s Darryl Slater writes that the Jets could look at NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah to a front office role that would allow him to report to the general manager, while ESPN’s Louis Riddick has over a decade of NFL front office experience but may not want to leave the comfort of ESPN.

Of course, hiring an analyst or sports TV personality to a general manager role isn’t unheard of; just a few months ago, the Oakland Raiders announced a move that snatched Mike Mayock off the NFL Network staff and into the warm Oakland air.

So in the end, perhaps it comes down to creativity and, as Christopher Johnson said, whoever is a great strategic thinker. But Johnson himself will need some creative thinking, too, as he has a tough call to make when it comes to who will be tasked with figuring out the Jets’ transactions.

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