The New York Jets fired general manager Mike Maccagnan on Wednesday and named first-year head coach Adam Gase as the interim GM.
Hired in January of 2015, Maccagnan had two years remaining on the contract extension he signed at the end of the 2017 season.
Team chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson issued a statement saying the decision was made “in the best long-term interests of the New York Jets.”
“This morning, I informed Mike that he was being relieved of his duties as General Manager of the team, effective immediately,” Johnson said. “Mike helped to execute the strategic vision of the organization during the last four seasons and especially the past few months. However, I came to the decision to make a change after much thought and a careful assessment of what would be in the best long-term interests of the New York Jets.”
Speaking to reporters later Wednesday on a conference call, Johnson said he made the decision to fire Maccagnan only after “diving deep into the organization,” but he declined to go into specifics.
“This was a learning process for me, too,” Johnson said. “I’m going to get some things right, and I’m going to get some things wrong, but I think I’m getting this right.”
Other than Gase, no other active NFL coach has the title of general manager, although Bill Belichick essentially holds the role with the New England Patriots.
Johnson said the Jets’ search for a permanent general manager would begin immediately.
Multiple outlets report that Philadelphia Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas has been rumored around the league as the Jets’ potential GM for some time. Douglas and Gase were both with the Chicago Bears in 2015, Douglas as director of college scouting, and Gase as offensive coordinator.
ESPN reports former scout and current NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah is “under serious consideration for a prominent front-office position,” calling Douglas and Jeremiah “a potential package deal.” Before stints with Cleveland and Philadelphia, Jeremiah spent four years in the Baltimore Ravens’ personnel department (2003-06), where Douglas worked in various roles from 2000-15.
NFL Network’s previous lead draft analyst, Mike Mayock, was hired as the Oakland Raiders’ general manager earlier this year.
During the NFL draft last month, Maccagnan denied reports of simmering turmoil with Gase.
“Actually, I think Adam and I have worked very well together,” Maccagnan said at the time. “I’m sure like in any process, there’s times you may have different opinions. It’s just like in a scouting meeting, you may have different opinions on a player.
“But from my standpoint, I’ve had a very good working relationship with Adam. He has a very good sense of humor. He makes me laugh quite a bit, which is one of the things I really like working with him.”
Multiple reports indicated that Gase wasn’t pleased with the Jets’ approach in free agency, but Gase told reporters last week he was ” off” at the idea that there was a rift between him and Maccagnan.
Maccagnan maneuvered to add at least three starters in March, including running back Le’Veon Bell. Linebacker C.J. Mosley signed a five-year deal and the Jets acquired offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele from the Oakland Raiders.
“I don’t think I’m really going to sit here and comment on my job,” Maccagnan said last month. “I’m focused on the draft. I feel very good about the situation we’re in. I feel very good about working with Adam going forward.”
Johnson told reporters on the conference call later Wednesday, “This had nothing to do with Adam.”
According to multiple reports, the Jets’ front-office shakeup also included the dismissal of vice president of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger.
Maccagnan was named the NFL Executive of the Year in 2015 by the Pro Football Writers Association.
Before joining the Jets, he worked in the scouting department for the Houston Texans from 2000-14 and scouted for the Washington Redskins from 1994-2000.
–Field Level Media