A big, bald, bearded badass is coming to One Jets Drive to clean up a half-century of messes.
Three weeks after Gang Green fired Mike Maccagnan, the wayward franchise agreed to terms with Eagles executive Joe Douglas to become the new general manager. The Johnson brothers are all-in with Adam Gase, who will work with his top choice after driving the search process (before and) after Maccagnan’s ouster.
Douglas’ concerns about ownership instability were alleviated, in part, by his six-year deal worth more than $3 million per year, according to sources. (The Jets initially offered $1.5 million/year).
Douglas’ reputation as a no-nonsense, straight shooter with an eye for talent should also dismiss concerns that the Jets hired a yes man for Gase, who quickly realized that he wasn’t compatible with Maccagnan.
The hope from the powers that be is that Douglas, who was the VP of player personnel in Philly for three years, and Gase will have a synergy that was clearly lacking with the head coach and former GM. Douglas, highly respected in the scouting community, could have waited to survey the landscape after the season before diving into his first GM job.
He was a man with options, but chose the Jets.
Make no mistake: Sam Darnold’s presence was a significant factor for Douglas, who could have his franchise quarterback in place for the next decade. Although Douglas had reservations about some control/reporting elements of the job, the idea of having a potentially dynamic young quarterback, a roster that was in better shape than some people might think and a sufficient budget to bring talented people to bolster the personnel department were too much to pass up.
Douglas’ hiring came hours after the Texans fired general manager Brian Gaine, fueling speculation that Houston would make an eleventh-hour push for a guy they were blocked from interviewing last year.
In the end, agent Jimmy Sexton completed a hat trick. He now represents the Jets GM, head coach and franchise quarterback.
The Jets, frankly, couldn’t afford to blow this after the organization botched the offseason by letting Maccagnan hire a head coach, spend more than $120 million in free agency and run the draft before ultimately whacking him.
CEO Christopher Johnson’s inexperience and indecisiveness notwithstanding, the Jets had little choice but to go all-in with Gase after cutting ties with Maccagnan. Hiring someone other than Gase’s preference would have made a bad situation even worse.
Thankfully for them, Douglas is a top-notch choice regardless.
Gase did the heavy lifting during the search process, including calling candidates to sell them on the the job before they came in for formal interviews. The reality, of course, was this was always Douglas’ job if he wanted it.
Gase and Douglas worked together with the Bears in 2015, which gave Christopher Johnson a comfort level that there likely wouldn’t be a repeat of the dysfunction from the previous five months. Although Johnson has already said the reporting structure will remain the same with the head coach and general manager reporting directly to him, Douglas will retain control of the 53-man roster.
The larger concern for Douglas was the uncertainty at the top of the organization.
Woody Johnson could return from his appointment as the U.S. Ambassador to the UK as early as 2020 depending on the outcome of the next presidential election. (Johnson might return even if Trump is reelected). So, there needed to be assurances that Woody Johnson wouldn’t blow up the entire operation upon his return if the Jets weren’t trending in the right direction.
Douglas’ six-year pact all but eliminated that possibility. There is virtually no chance that Johnson would fire an executive with four years left on his deal. In fact, barring an implosion of epic proportions, Douglas essentially is guaranteed to stay with the Jets for at least four seasons (three drafts).
The hope obviously is that Douglas, who spent 16 years with the Ravens as a respected personnel voice, will turn the Jets into champions. His drafting M.O.: Bring in high-floor players with standout college production.
Douglas, who has been a part of three Super Bowl winners in his career, helped put together the Eagles’ championship team two seasons ago. He was integral adding veterans like Nick Foles, Alshon Jeffery, Chris Long, Tim Jernigan and Torrey Smith to help Philly win their first Lombardi Trophy in franchise history.
Douglas is a smart talent evaluator with a chance to do something special for an organization searching for relevance.
After a historically weird offseason for the Jets, they’re keeping their fingers crossed that Douglas can bring some long-awaited hardware to them as well.
If so, they can thank — believe it or not — Adam Gase.