The New York Jets made an abrupt change on Wednesday with the , the same man who led their headlining plunge into free agency and the draft this offseason. In his place they have turned the keys over to new headcoach Adam Gase.
It’s a big, albeit unsurprising, move for an organization that’s modeled upheaval better than most in recent years, especially considering the Jets won just 14 games over Maccagnan’s last three seasons following a 10-win outing in 2015.
But it doesn’t make the change any less confusing.
This is a move, after all, that arrives three weeks after the 2019 NFL Draft, during which Maccagnan managed the team’s third overall selection, and just two months after the start of free agency, in which the GM helped New York drop almost $200 million on big-name veterans like Le’Veon Bell — a player Gase may not have even wanted to pay.
With the latest Big Apple turmoil front and center, there’s never been a better time to relive some of the Jets’ other most confusing decisions in recent memory:
Drafting QB Christian Hackenberg in 2016
The Jets were right to look for a new signal-caller after the days of Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith and Michael Vick (remember that?!), but there’s no pretty way to paint the Hackenberg selection. Not only did the Penn State product leave college as a wildly inconsistent boom-or-bust QB, but he’s still yet to throw a single pass in the NFL — and probably never will.
Throw in the fact that New York picked him in the second round just a year after nabbing Bryce Petty in the fourth, and it’s easy to see why we’re just now getting a taste of “franchise QB” potential in Gang Green — and from a completely different QB, no less.
Replacing Todd Bowles with Adam Gase
Gase has yet to coach a single game running the Jets’ staff, so call this premature if you want, but color this writer skeptical. Bowles never topped his own initial bar in New York alongside Maccagnan, but you’re telling me the best possible replacement was a whose locker room openly split beneath him? A guy who managed a 13-19 record the last two years?division rival
Unless Gase’s takeover continues with Joe Douglas and/or Daniel Jeremiah joining the front office, this seems like a dangerous marriage.
Signing CB Trumaine Johnson for $72 million
It’s hard to call out big-money deals when the Jets have had so much cash to spend in recent years, but then again, if they’d have used the money better, maybe Maccagnan wouldn’t be out of a job right now. Like Gase, Johnson shouldn’t entirely be written off just yet, but the former Rams cornerback looked like an overpay the instant he coaxed $45 million guaranteed from New York in 2018.
He flashed before hitting the market, and free agency demands lucrative market-value deals, but come on. No one’s listing him among the game’s most deservedly paid CBs. One year in, reports suggest he “isn’t wired for the New York market,” and yet the Jets would be on the hook for $24M this season if they opted to move on.
Signing LB C.J. Mosley for $85 million
Mosley’s luxurious deal falls right in line with Johnson’s. Was he a player worth pursuing? Heck yes, especially with the team already assembling an up-and-coming defense. Was he worth his price tag? Well, it depends if you think $51 million guaranteed for an inside linebacker is reasonable. (Hint: It’s probably not).
Consider that just a year after the Jets gave Avery Williamson an $8M/year deal, they’ll be allocating almost 6.5 percent of their entire salary cap to a guy who was a tackle machine in Baltimore but will make $3.5M/year more than the severely overpaid Kwon Alexander. Maybe it’ll work out, but it’ll almost certainly require a restructure down the road.
Signing CB Darrelle Revis in 2015
Look, Revis was tremendous during his first run with the Jets. He deserves even more credit than he gets. But the whole notion that he was as good a businessman as he was a cornerback can pretty much be summed up by how he absolutely robbed New York in 2015. By that point, Revis was approaching 30, and while he ultimately eked out one more Pro Bowl in green, he was never, ever worth $70 million over five (!) years — no matter how cool it was for Jets fans to resurrect his jersey.
Revis lasted just two injury-riddled years in his second Jets go-round before his unceremonious release amid four felony charges.