Guest of the League
ADELMAN FANTASY II PLAYOFFS Est. 2012
NFL Playoffs League - FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

Maccagnan sticking around, so it's on GM to turn Jets around

Tue Jan 1 2:48pm ET
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Pro Football Writer

Players: Andre Roberts, Jason Myers, Charone Peake, Devin Smith, Robby Anderson, Elijah McGuire, ArDarius Stewart, Deshaun Watson, Christopher Herndon IV, Patrick Mahomes, Sam Darnold

New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan speaks to reporters in Florham Park, N.J., Monday, Dec. 31, 2018. After firing Todd Bowles on Sunday night, the New York Jets are focused on bringing in someone who will be able to lead a franchise that has missed the playoffs for eight straight seasons but has a promising young quarterback in Sam Darnold and expects to be busy in free agency this offseason. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)


New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan speaks to reporters in Florham Park, N.J., Monday, Dec. 31, 2018. After firing Todd Bowles on Sunday night, the New York Jets are focused on bringing in someone who will be able to lead a franchise that has missed the playoffs for eight straight seasons but has a promising young quarterback in Sam Darnold and expects to be busy in free agency this offseason. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)


NEW YORK (AP) It wasn't long after Todd Bowles was fired as the Jets' head coach that frustrated fans started asking the inevitable question:

What about Mike Maccagnan?

The general manager was hired a day before Bowles in 2015, the two linked together - but separately in the team's reporting structure - for the next four seasons that featured lots of losing and disappointment.

A few hours after completing a 4-12 season, Bowles was fired Sunday night by Christopher Johnson , the team's acting chairman and CEO, who opted to keep Maccagnan in place.

''I think Mike is a good talent evaluator, period,'' Johnson said Monday. ''Looking at the plan we have going forward, I'm a believer in Mike.''

That declaration raised some eyebrows from some fans and media, who don't necessarily share the Jets owner's confidence in the man who will play a vital role in finding a new coach and building a roster around quarterback Sam Darnold with about $100 million in salary cap space to work with this offseason.

Bowles deserved a large part of the blame, of course, for New York's 24-40 record in his four seasons. But, the counter-argument is that the coach didn't exactly have a roster filled with overwhelming talent and depth.

And that falls on Maccagnan.

''I think there are definitely things, where the team is right now, that are the result of some of the things - some of the decisions I made - that did not work out well,'' Maccagnan acknowledged. ''I understand that. I definitely know I need to do a better job in certain areas. But I also feel confident that we have added some good pieces to this organization.''

The trade up with Indianapolis last winter to draft Darnold at No. 3 overall is the biggest positive of Maccagnan's tenure.

Unless, of course, you consider that the quarterback-needy Jets passed on both Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes in 2017 and instead took safety Jamal Adams - who is already a Pro Bowl pick and a team leader, but not a franchise quarterback. And getting one cost New York two second-round selections last year and a second-rounder this year to be sure it was in position to draft one last April.

Adams, by the way, implored the team after the season finale to get more ''dogs'' on the roster, playmakers who can make the difference between wins and losses. That could be considered an unintentional criticism of Maccagnan, whose draft record might be the most glaring strike against him.

Only 12 of the 22 players selected in his first three years are still on New York's roster. The first-rounders are starters - Adams, Darron Lee (2016) and Leonard Williams (2015) - but several other early round picks have been busts.

Second-rounders Devin Smith (2015) and Christian Hackenberg (2016), and third-rounders Lorenzo Mauldin (2015) and ArDarius Stewart (2017) are all out of the league. Williams is the only player of the six the Jets drafted in 2015 still on any active roster, let alone New York's.

''Every team wants better talent,'' Johnson said. ''We'd love to have great talent. This team has to get better. Mike knows that.''

Maccagnan has had some success with some late-round picks, with right tackle Brandon Shell (fifth round, 2016), punter Lachlan Edwards (seventh, 2016), wide receiver/special teamer Charone Peake (seventh, 2016) and running back Elijah McGuire (sixth, 2017) all playing large roles for New York this season. Tight end Chris Herndon, a 2017 fourth-rounder, also had a solid rookie season.

But some big-name, big-money free-agent signings and trades have also underwhelmed or backfired during Maccagnan's tenure, namely Darrelle Revis, Brandon Marshall, Ryan Fitzpatrick and most recently Trumaine Johnson, who struggled in his first season with New York and was benched for the finale.

In fairness, there have also been some big-time hits on under-the-radar signings, including a pair of Pro Bowlers in kick returner Andre Roberts and kicker Jason Myers, along with linebackers Brandon Copeland and Frankie Luvu.

Leading wide receiver Robby Anderson was an undrafted free agent in 2016, and Maccagnan also swung a deal with the Colts during the draft last April to land defensive end Henry Anderson, who tied linebacker Jordan Jenkins - a third-rounder in 2016 - for the team lead with seven sacks.

''I think we have some good, young players and we've positioned this team very well in terms of the salary cap, which is going to give us the ability to definitely augment our talent base,'' Maccagnan said. ''We also have, even with the players under contract, the ability of roster flexibility. So, although it's a difficult situation bringing a new coach into the environment, I do think we have the ability to adjust things to kind of fit different schemes and stuff like that, potentially.''

Johnson reiterated his support for Maccagnan, saying the GM is the right man for the job as the Jets move forward and try to regain respectability.

''I've worked with Mike now for a while,'' Johnson said. ''We've developed what I think is a good plan. It's a plan we're in sync on and it really came together with Sam. Now, we're going to build with Sam, build around Sam and with some great players we have on this team already. I think it's a good plan and I'm looking forward to working with Mike to take us to the next level - including this coach hire.''

That's where the spotlight will be over the next few weeks, with the likes of Mike McCarthy, Eric Bieniemy, Kris Richard and Todd Monken expected to interview for the Jets' coaching vacancy.

After that, it will be largely on Maccagnan to change the narrative on his tenure and mold the Jets into a roster of playoff contenders.

''I think our big thing, like everything else,'' Maccagnan said, ''is to keep trying to make good decisions moving forward.''

Player Notes
Rodney McLeod Jun 18 11:43am ET

Philadelphia Eagles FS Rodney McLeod (knee) expects to be ready for training camp, and he's on schedule in his rehab from torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments.

Mike Evans Jun 18 10:53am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans restructured his contract Tuesday, June 18, which created $3.2 million in 2019 salary cap space.

Trey Burton Jun 18 9:00am ET

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy said he "feels good" about tight end Trey Burton (hernia) being ready for the start of training camp this summer. Burton had hernia surgery this offseason. The 27-year-old caught a career-high 54 passes (76 targets) for 569 yards and six touchdowns in his first year in Chicago with Nagy running the show. In this improving offense, Burton could improve further and will be a strong TE1 as long as he doesn't suffer any setbacks in training camp.

From RotoBaller

Travis Kelce Jun 18 9:00am ET

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (ankle) has missed all of the team's offseason workouts as he recovers from ankle surgery, but he expects to be 100 percent healthy in time for training camp. Kelce is one of a kind at the tight end position and should be the first name off the board at the position in fantasy drafts despite his ankle injury. The 29-year-old caught a career-high 103 passes (150 targets) for 1,336 yards and 10 touchdowns last year and has superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes throwing him passes. Kelce has now gone over 1,000 yards receiving in three straight seasons. He's pretty good.

From RotoBaller

Carlos Hyde Jun 18 9:00am ET

Kansas City Chiefs running back Carlos Hyde, who was signed as a free agent this offseason, has occasionally lined up next to starter Damien Williams in the backfield at minicamp and has frequently been used as a receiver. "It's not just a one-dimensional running back here. You do it all. You line up at receiver. You actually run routes. You're not just a decoy," Hyde said. It's all fine and dandy right now, but it remains to be seen how much run Hyde will actually get when the games matter. At best, he's a handcuff for Williams owners in fantasy drafts. The 28-year-old floundered with both the Browns and Jaguars in a disappointing 2018 season. He had 10 combined receptions in 14 games last year.

From RotoBaller

D.K. Metcalf Jun 18 9:00am ET

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has been very impressed with rookie wide receiver D.K. Metcalf in offseason practices. "Its great seeing DK [Metcalf] make his plays. I think DK is looking really, really special," Wilson said. "He can do anything and everything and hes tremendous." The second-round pick isn't just a physical specimen at 6-foot-4, 229 pounds with a 4.33-yard 40-yard dash and 40.5-inch vertical jump. Wilson has been impressed with his knowledge of the game as well. Metcalf should be the No. 2 in his rookie season behind Tyler Lockett, and he really has a chance to put up special numbers in Year 1 with Wilson slinging him the football deep.

From RotoBaller

Marquez Valdes-Scantling Jun 18 9:00am ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling has been lining up as the No. 2 behind Davante Adams and ahead of Geronimo Allison during offseason practices. Minicamp practices revealed that MVS is a starter and probably the No. 2 behind Adams, with Allison likely to serve as the slot man in three-wide sets. I think this offense is really catered for a guy like him, Adams said of Valdes-Scantling. The fifth-round pick had some standout games as a rookie but was altogether very inconsistent for fantasy owners. Valdes-Scantling finished with 38 catches for 581 yards and had a team-high 15.3 yard-per-catch average. It's looking like he's a perfect fit for new head coach Matt LaFleur's offense, and he'll be coveted by fantasy owners in the later rounds as a potential breakout candidate.

From RotoBaller

Michael Roberts Jun 18 9:00am ET

Detroit Lions tight end Michael Roberts reverted back to the Lions on Friday after the Patriots tried to acquire him in a trade. Roberts failed his physical and has now been waived by the Lions. The 25-year-old was a fourth-round pick in 2017 and had just nine catches for 100 yards and three touchdowns in eight games due to injuries in 2018 with Detroit. It remains to be seen if he'll resurface with another team, but even if he does he won't be on the fantasy radar.

From RotoBaller

David Montgomery Jun 18 9:00am ET

Chicago Bears third-round rookie running back David Montgomery has impressed the team as a route-runner out of the backfield in offseason practices. "We always knew he had great hands. You dont know how great of a route runner a college back is, but hes a really good route runner," head coach Matt Nagy said. Montgomery has had comparisons to former Bears do-it-all back Matt Forte, which is a high bar to match. However, the Bears drafted Montgomery with a purpose and then sent Jordan Howard packing in a trade to the Eagles. Mike Davis will also factor in, but Montgomery has as high of a ceiling as any other rookie back to come out of the 2019 draft.

From RotoBaller

James Conner Jun 18 9:00am ET

Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner had more than 62 percent of the team's carries in 2018 and 64 percent of the targets in the passing game among running backs. However, he thinks the team will spread the ball out more evenly in the backfield among him and Jaylen Samuels in 2019. Samuels had 328 yards from scrimmage in the three games that Conner missed with an ankle injury late in the year. There's also fourth-rounder Benny Snell, who ran for 1,449 yards and 16 touchdowns at Kentucky in 2018. Offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner said he isn't concerned about Conner's durability at all. Conner should be the team's primary back and should be the first target in fantasy drafts, but Samuels should also be useful in PPR formats as the Steelers look to spread things around with Antonio Brown gone.

From RotoBaller

Arik Armstead Jun 18 9:00am ET

San Francisco 49ers rookie defensive end Nick Bosa (hamstring), the team's first-round pick, believes he'll be ready for Week 1 after being diagnosed with a Grade 1 hamstring strain on May 23. He thinks he'll be able to get enough work at training camp to be ready for the regular season. Bosa also hasn't played football for nearly a year after suffering a sports hernia. The pass-rusher could get off to a slow start in his first NFL season after not practicing at all this spring, but in the long run Bosa should be very helpful in improving San Fran's pass rush. Bosa has been watching the team practice and learning the scheme while picking the brains of Arik Armstead and Dee Ford.

From RotoBaller

Noah Brown Jun 18 9:00am ET

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Noah Brown (knee) underwent a scope on his knee last week but is expected to be ready for training camp next month. The 23-year-old had five receptions in eight games played in 2018 and has just nine catches for 87 yards and on scores in 21 games over two seasons after being drafted in the seventh round in 2017. He's buried on the depth chart behind Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Tavon Austin, Allen Hurns and Randall Cobb, so he's well off the fantasy radar.

From RotoBaller

Kirk Cousins Jun 18 9:00am ET

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins had high expectations in his first year in Minnesota after signing a fully guaranteed $84 million deal, but it didn't exactly pay off on the field. Cousins had career highs in completions (425), attempts (606), completion percentage (70.1) and passing touchdowns (30), but the Vikings finished 8-7-1 and missed the playoffs. Cousins is hoping to win more games in 2019, but he's just 34-37-2 as a starter in the NFL and has no playoff wins. The Vikings are expected to focus more on the running game under offensive advisor Gary Kubiak and offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski this year. Cousins could put up decent numbers, but he should be drafted as a low-end QB1 or high-end QB2 this time around.

From RotoBaller

Nick Foles Jun 18 9:00am ET

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone doesn't expect left tackle Cam Robinson (knee) to be ready for the start of training camp this summer. Robinson should be available eventually in training camp, but it's disappointing after he tore his ACL way back in Week 2 of last season. When healthy, Robinson will be tasked with protecting quarterback Nick Foles' blind side in his first year with the team after coming over from the Eagles.

From RotoBaller

Jared Goff Jun 18 9:00am ET

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay is confident that the Rams will give quarterback Jared Goff a contract extension. "Whether it ends up happening this year or next year, there is a zero percent chance this guy's not gonna get an extension he's worthy of," McVay said. "All the narratives out there are wrong. Jared and I couldn't be more connected, and I couldn't be more appreciative of him as our leader. He is so vital and important to us and our success. That extension will get done. It's a matter of when, not if." Goff will make $4.26 million in 2019 and $22.783 million in 2020. He's had growing pains at times but helped lead the Rams to a Super Bowl appearance last year. Consider him a low-end QB1/high-end QB2 going into 2019.

From RotoBaller

Anthony Miller Jun 18 9:00am ET

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy said the team is optimistic that wide receiver Anthony Miller (shoulder) will be ready for the start of training camp this summer. Miller had left shoulder surgery in January after playing through the injury in his rookie season. The 24-year-old was impressive in his first season, catching 33 passes for 423 yards and seven touchdowns in 15 games. Miller will once again be a big part of Chicago's passing game alongside Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel and should be able to improve on those numbers, although don't expect his touchdowns to go up in his sophomore campaign.

From RotoBaller

Carson Wentz Jun 18 9:00am ET

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz and wide receiver DeSean Jackson have had a great connection and good timing throughout the offseason program. Head coach Doug Pederson said that Jackson spent the entire offseason in Philadelphia working with Wentz, and their chemistry is showing through. Jackson, 32, was a bust in his final year in Tampa with 41 catches for 774 yards and four touchdowns, but he's still very fast and averaged 18.9 yards per catch. He's boom or bust as a deep threat, but D-Jax will still have appeal in standard-scoring leagues in a very potent offense. However, his per-game catches will likely fluctuate with tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert and receivers Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor gobbling up targets.

From RotoBaller

Kerryon Johnson Jun 18 9:00am ET

Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson has made an impact as a pass-catcher in organized team activities, and the Detroit Free Press' Dave Birkett thinks he can catch as many as 60 passes in 2019. Theo Riddick has been the team's primary receiving back the last few seasons, but he might not even be a lock for the 53-man roster this year and is a trade candidate. Johnson caught 32 passes in 10 games as a rookie in 2018 and could easily add to that production as the team's lead back if he stays healthy. He may not get more than 20 touches a game with C.J. Anderson, Zach Zenner, Riddick and rookie Ty Johnson being in the mix, but Johnson is in line to take a big second-year leap for fantasy owners in this run-first offense.

From RotoBaller

Cameron Meredith Jun 18 9:00am ET

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Cameron Meredith (knee) said it's the same knee injury that he dealt with last year that kept him sidelined for organized team activities and minicamp this year. However, he's mostly just being smart with it so that he can have a healthy training camp. Meredith had a breakout year in 2016 with the Bears but then missed all of 2017 with his knee injury and played in only six games with the Saints in 2018, catching nine passes for 114 yards and a touchdown as a complete non-factor. If he doesn't prove his health this summer, Meredith is in danger of not making the final roster.

From RotoBaller

Damon Harrison Jun 18 9:00am ET

Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay skipped minicamp last week in hopes of landing a new deal, and he's unsure if he'll report to training camp next month either. Defensive tackle Damon Harrison also sat out of minicamp this week as he seeks a new deal. Both players forfeited $250,000 of workouts bonuses this spring. Slay is scheduled to make $12 million this year and has two years left on the extension he signed in 2016. Harrison also has two years left on his deal and will make $6.75 million in 2019. The Lions have been reluctant to renegotiate contracts of players with multiple years left on their deals, so Slay and Harrison may be barking up the wrong tree. Slay, 28, is coming off his second straight Pro Bowl season and has 11 interceptions over the last two years.

From RotoBaller