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FFL: Offseason | NFL: Offseason

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
Jarvis Landry Feb 20 10:40am ET

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry had surgery on his hip on February 4, according to a post from his personal Instagram account. The surgery comes as somewhat of a surprise as Landry had previously stated that he would not need surgery on his hip, which bothered him throughout the 2019 season. Landry is expected to make a full recovery and should return to the team at some point in training camp, which begins in late July. According to reports, Landry had visited with multiple hip specialists since the end of the season and eventually decided that surgery was the proper route to take. He will remain a solid WR2 for fantasy in 2020.

From RotoBaller

Jarvis Landry Feb 20 8:43am ET

Cleveland Browns WR Jarvis Landry (hip) changed his mind and underwent hip surgery this week. He's expected to be back at some time in training camp.

Fantasy Spin: Landry's 83-1174-6 showing was one of the better showings of his career, and his 14.1 yards per catch was a career high. He's a low-end WR2 or a high-end WR3 in PPR leagues.

From TheHuddle

Feb 20 12:43am ET

Impending free-agent S Nate Ebner (Patriots) is one of 19 New England Patriots set to hit free agency this spring, but he is hopeful the two sides will be able to come together on a contract that will keep him with the team that drafted him in the sixth round of the 2012 draft.

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Stefon Diggs Feb 19 9:43pm ET

Minnesota Vikings WR Stefon Diggs may be the subject of some trade calls this offseason, but he faces 'plenty long' odds of getting traded, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. Diggs recently prompted discussion about potential unhappiness with his situation when he removed Vikings photos from his social media accounts.

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Demetrius Harris Feb 19 9:00pm ET

The Chicago Bears agreed to terms on a one-year deal with tight end Demetrius Harris on Wednesday, according to sources. Harris was cut by the Browns recently and spent time with head coach Matt Nagy when they were both with the Chiefs. The 28-year-old caught just 15 passes for 149 yards and three touchdowns in 2019 despite David Njoku missing most of the year with an injury in Cleveland. Chicago was looking to upgrade their tight end room after both Trey Burton and Adam Shaheen missed large chunks of last season due to injuries. Harris will have an opportunity with his new team, but it's still unlikely he has a huge pass-catching role is Burton and Shaheen are on the field.

From RotoBaller

Demetrius Harris Feb 19 5:43pm ET

Free-agent TE Demetrius Harris (Browns) agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears Wednesday, Feb. 19, according to sources. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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Nigel Bradham Feb 19 4:53pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles LB Nigel Bradham was officially released Wednesday, Feb. 19.

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Jihad Ward Feb 19 4:23pm ET

Baltimore Ravens impending free-agent DT Jihad Ward is one of the players the Ravens want to re-sign this offseason, and the two sides have had discussions this week.

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Jordan Reed Feb 19 3:33pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: Reed has dealt with multiple injuries during his career, so it is not known if he would receive a lot of interest in free agency. He has posted decent numbers when he has been healthy but probably can be considered a No. 2 fantasy tight end if he is able to find a starting job.

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Michael Roberts Feb 19 3:23pm ET

Free-agent TE Michael Roberts (Packers) agreed to terms with the Miami Dolphins Wednesday, Feb. 19, according to a source. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

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Jordan Reed Feb 19 3:10pm ET

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From RotoBaller

Josh Rosen Feb 19 3:10pm ET

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From RotoBaller

Will Dissly Feb 19 2:50pm ET

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From RotoBaller

Stefon Diggs Feb 19 2:40pm ET

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From RotoBaller

Baker Mayfield Feb 19 1:33pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: Mayfield was 16th in fantasy points at the position last year in what was a colossal bust of a season. He'll be drafted highly anticipating a breakout again this season, but there are at least seven or eight quarterbacks that should go ahead of him.

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From RotoBaller

Adrian Peterson Feb 19 12:10pm ET

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From RotoBaller

Adrian Peterson Feb 19 11:33am ET

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Fantasy Spin: Peterson will have a $2.25 million base salary and will count $3,109,375 against the salary cap. Peterson will serve as insurance as Derrius Guice must stay healthy. Peterson has RB5 appeal, but he has little upside.

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Greg Olsen Feb 19 9:59am ET

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