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Jets Pick Really Weird Time to Fire Maccagnan

The New York Jets have announced the firing of general manager Mike Maccagnan. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that vice president of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger has also been fired.

The Jets went 10-6 in Maccagnan's first season in 2015 but have gone just 14-34 since, so this didn't come out of nowhere, but the timing is bizarre. Why give Maccagnan an entire offseason to make moves only to fire him before we see how those moves play out? What changed in New York in the few weeks since the draft?

The team has announced that newly hired head coach Adam Gase will take over as interim GM as the search for a permanent replacement begins.

UPDATE: NFL Network's Ian Rapoport is reporting that Maccagnan was dismissed in part because Gase felt he overspent on contracts for Le'Veon Bell and C.J. Mosley in free agency while failing to acquire Gase's preferred target, Matt Paradis. Which begs the question: if Gase and Maccagnan had such radically different philosophies of player evaluation, why didn't it come up months ago when Gase was hired? Why saddle Gase with contracts he (allegedly) didn't want only to fire the man who made those decisions? Unless Gase is able to maintain long-term control of the team, this seems like a lose-lose for everyone involved.

Comments

26 comments, Last at 18 May 2019, 11:49am

1 Re: Jets Pick Really Weird Time to Fire Maccagnan

by Noah Arkadia // May 15, 2019 - 12:36pm

Since the scouting year starts with the college season and ends with the draft, the timing is not so strange in that regard. Except, of course, for the fact the Jets hired a new coach in January. It would make more sense to hire the new GM first and then the HC than the other way around.

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7 Re: Jets Pick Really Weird Time to Fire Maccagnan

by CaffeineMan // May 15, 2019 - 3:03pm

It kinda depends on who the organization wants to hold the primary power, the coach or the front office. I think both methods could be made to work, as long as the choice is clear and the team operates consistently within the framework of that choice. Regardless of whether Gase is worthy of being the primary power, I think this is the right move.
Power struggles are worse for a team, because it's harder to assess whether the front office and coach are competent. If you hand Gase the reins and it all goes up in smoke, then it's obvious and you can get rid of him. Another season of finger-pointing and infighting is just going to prolong the agony. Gase was hired, so now time to figure out if he can do it.

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2 Re: Jets Pick Really Weird Time to Fire Maccagnan

by Cogitus // May 15, 2019 - 1:43pm

BIlls did the same thing when they hired McDermott then fired Whaley after the draft, because of that scouting reason. Ultimately this caused them to pass on Mahomes and Watson so they could wait to get a more compatible GM to pair with Coach McMuscles before making their franchise QB decision, spending a year blaming Tyrod Taylor for the franchises ineptitude and causing to trade up for and land Josh Allen the next year instead.

The point I’m trying to make is that this is what incompetent organizations do, and why the Jets and Bills are probably not going anywhere soon

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3 Re: Jets Pick Really Weird Time to Fire Maccagnan

by Richie // May 15, 2019 - 2:06pm

And Gase came from the other AFC East franchise that is run like a rudderless ship.

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4 Re: Jets Pick Really Weird Time to Fire Maccagnan

by Junior // May 15, 2019 - 2:15pm

McCaggnan sure was no great shakes as GM but the initial move of replacing him with Gase is like trading your new house in for a tent

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5 Re: Jets Pick Really Weird Time to Fire Maccagnan

by theslothook // May 15, 2019 - 2:17pm

Doesn't everyone love dysfunctional franchises? The Patriots are what they are, but it sure helps to have bozo the clown running their primary division opponents year after year.

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6 Re: Jets Pick Really Weird Time to Fire Maccagnan

by Led // May 15, 2019 - 3:00pm

As my old Pop always says, there's no bad time to fire the GM that drafted Christian Hackenberg in the second round.

More seriously, the timing on this obviously looks bad and probably is bad. If they quickly bring in replacements for Maccagnan and Heimerdinger (Joe Douglas and Daniel Jeremiah are rumored) and let them run the show, then the timing will just be an unfortunate blip. If Gase remains in charge of everything for a prolonged period, that's not good. Ultimately, all that really matters is whether the team plays better and wins games.

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8 Re: Jets Pick Really Weird Time to Fire Maccagnan

by Raiderjoe // May 15, 2019 - 3:11pm

so maccagnan getgs to hire head coach [ro supposedly did} and taht samne guy fgets him fired a few moths later. when maccagnan was gired eh did nto get to puck his head coahc. him and t. bowles were hired separel;ty and each repiorted to owner. very weird.

in earlier tuimes team ghad fired m. tannenbaum after 2012 seaosn if recall right and let r. ryan keep copacjhing job. then opwnership forced new GM on r. ryan. that didn't work otu,. then both were finished by end of 2014.

mian reaosn jets stink most of time is spotty ownership. dolphisn another afc eats team with shaky ownership and as reasult cannot get out of own way.

these teams, and bills too throw them in there, are liek Afghan hound spinning around in circles tyrign to catch its tail btu looses its bearings anf fall down due to confusion abotu all the hair in its face

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9 Re: Jets Pick Really Weird Time to Fire Maccagnan

by Junior // May 15, 2019 - 3:14pm

Spot-on.

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10 Headline: AFC Eats Team!

by RobotBoy // May 15, 2019 - 5:44pm

Dead right, RJ.
The reason the Jets hired Gase and not somebody who might be, you know, good, is because top HC candidates wouldn't accept the GM restrictions on their power.
That maniac cackle you hear coming from the dungeon under Gillette just got very loud.

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14 Re: Headline: AFC Eats Team!

by RobotBoy // May 16, 2019 - 5:10am

Pats just reacquired Jamie Collins. Really misused in Cleveland. That linebacker squad looks pretty intimidating.

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11 Re: Jets Pick Really Weird Time to Fire Maccagnan

by serutan // May 15, 2019 - 9:52pm

Right on the money. And 'afc eats' takes it to the next level.

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12 Re: Jets Pick Really Weird Time to Fire Maccagnan

by Dan // May 15, 2019 - 11:28pm

According to the 2019 Free Agency Cost-Benefit Analysis from Bryan Knowles, published on this site a week ago, the Jets overspent on all 4 of their big-money signings this offseason:

Val Player
-1.5 Le'Veon Bell
-1.6 Jamison Crowder
-2.1 Henry Anderson
-6.3 C.J. Mosley

(negative is bad)

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13 Re: Jets Pick Really Weird Time to Fire Maccagnan

by Bryan Knowles // May 16, 2019 - 3:21am

And remember, Bell's number is only that high if you just sort of pretend the holdout never happened. We projected his value as if his 2017 season happened in 2018, and so on and so forth.

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15 Re: Jets Pick Really Weird Time to Fire Maccagnan

by johonny // May 16, 2019 - 10:52am

The Pats amazing string of success is coupled with the still ongoing downward spiral of the rest of the AFCLEAST front office's. About the only good thing you can say is that maybe one of the three other teams young QBs will lift them to relevance in the NFL again. Maybe. I don't know. The Bills, Jets, and Dolphins are not well run franchises and haven't been for ages. When that changes, it will certainly come as a breath of fresh air, but I've sort of got bored waiting for it to happen.

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16 Re: Jets Pick Really Weird Time to Fire Maccagnan

by Led // May 16, 2019 - 12:02pm

This is an understandable POV, but I think it largely gets the direction of causation backwards. To quote the screenwriter William Goldman, nobody knows anything. That's as true of success running an NFL team as it is about success in Hollywood. The Pats have been stable for two decades because they've won for two decades; not vice versa. It's a stretch to say they've won because of any specific, identifiable things about they way they've run the team from the front office. If that were the case, somebody would have copied those things and replicated the success. They haven't. There's no secret sauce. Their success has a lot to do with things that are not easily reducible to objective analysis (e.g., skill at teaching), plus a decent dose of luck, that's not really replicable. People hate not knowing things and admitting that outcomes are highly contingent and often outside of individual control, but that's kind of the way things are.

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17 Re: Jets Pick Really Weird Time to Fire Maccagnan

by Hoodie_Sleeves // May 16, 2019 - 12:50pm

There's also the fact that the mere presence of the Patriots probably makes it harder to hire GM's/coaches for the other teams (and hire players who put a high value on winning).

For the last decade, signing with any of these teams has basically been a guarantee that your never going to win your division.

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18 Re: Jets Pick Really Weird Time to Fire Maccagnan

by Scott P. // May 16, 2019 - 1:54pm

I tend to agree that losing produces chaos, but I think it's a stretch to say that the Patriots haven't been objectively well-run. They clearly have.

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24 Re: Jets Pick Really Weird Time to Fire Maccagnan

by johonny // May 17, 2019 - 7:10pm

I don't think it's that hard to identify the well run AFC teams over the past few decades from the poorly run teams. If you look at the numbers on this website certain AFC teams jump out as obviously well run. They year in and out place in the top 5 for the AFC. Certain teams rarely appear in the top 5. Not all well run teams can have the Super Bowl success of the Patriots (The Chiefs and Ravens seemed to be rather hard luck), but there is a clear division between franchises. The last time I ran the numbers, the NFC has more balance and simply appears to have more decent/better front offices. I'm not sure why it is, or why the AFC seems to attract poor ownership groups, but it seems to be a problem that hasn't worked itself out. The general assumption, though, is eventually it will work itself out.

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25 Re: Jets Pick Really Weird Time to Fire Maccagnan

by theslothook // May 17, 2019 - 7:46pm

I think its harder to tell than you think.

Are the Broncos under Elway "well run"? They won a sb, got to another and had very high playoff seeds.

I'm not sure Pittsburgh is all the well run either. Even the ravens are now in uncharted waters with Ozzie no longer at the helm.

To me, in the AFC there are some awful organizations, one sterling organization and a mass of uncertainty everywhere else.

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26 Re: Jets Pick Really Weird Time to Fire Maccagnan

by Sixknots // May 18, 2019 - 11:49am

"Well run" starts with competent ownership. My understanding is that the current Broncos ownership situation is a mess.

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19 Re: Jets Pick Really Weird Time to Fire Maccagnan

by theslothook // May 16, 2019 - 2:19pm

The pats advantages over every other team are there to see - the root causes of why is what is unknown. Let me name a few of such advantages:

1) Consistently excellent run games despite a constant turnover at running back and offensive line. I think the most under-appreciated aspect of their run. Even a cursory look at run games over time would show tremendous variation. Basically its hard to have consistently good run games year to year. The pats have. No one else does.

2) Consistently very good special teams. See comment #1

3) Ability to play good defense despite a revolving door at pass rush. This I think is harder to see because the middle period of their run featured some awful secondaries. But the Belichick is able to really squeeze out good coverage provided he has at least one good corner and safeties who play within the scheme. The rest across the board feel like products of a scheme. Essentially, while offense can be enhanced via scheme - everyone else is a slave to the talent of their defense. Except for the Patriots.

4) Nearly always respectable offensive pass blocking. This one is also hard to measure because Brady being back there complicates everything, but most metrics suggest there's something going on here. See comment about slaves to the talent.

5) Ahead of the curve in terms of scheme and personnel. The pats seemingly invented the tight end spread offense and really popularized the scat back role.

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20 Re: Jets Pick Really Weird Time to Fire Maccagnan

by RobotBoy // May 16, 2019 - 6:33pm

The Pats D has been objectively bad at times (although better than some rankings of it (cough...FO...cough). Still, even at its worse it's usually been good enough not to cost too many games. Belichick's ability to adjust his strategy according to situation and the different units to adapt means that the team can usually stay close enough to have a chance, no matter the opponent. The ability to approach every aspect of the game in such depth and breadth is what distinguishes that team.

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21 Re: Jets Pick Really Weird Time to Fire Maccagnan

by theslothook // May 16, 2019 - 7:09pm

I think that Superbowl Loss to the Eagles threw a huge amount of doubt about Belichick's defenses. However, this recent Superbowl was a nice reminder(along with their first one) that he's capable of brilliance as well.

On net, only a few Patriot defenses felt truly talented. I think the 2014-2015 squads were pretty good. The 03-04 and 06 squads were also very very good. The rest...meh. Here I mean, replace BB with some league average coach and I think those defenses look pretty awful.

The fact that they are able to get away with almost no real pass rush is just unconscionable in today's nfl.

I remembered thinking once Manning declined/retired - it would be smooth sailing in the AFC for the Pats. And while Mahomes' arrival tempers that some, its been largely true. Ever since Manning retired, the Pats won the AFC every single year. I can just imagine in an alternate universe where Manning never enters the AFC. How many more SB appearances do the Patriots get then?

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23 Re: Jets Pick Really Weird Time to Fire Maccagnan

by dryheat // May 17, 2019 - 1:48pm

#2 is particularly timely, because STer Brandon King just signed a two-year extension with the Pats. Nobody, with the possible exception of BB disciples, dedicates more resources to special teams. Last year the game day roster had ST-only guys Slater, Ebner, Crossen, and King on it, in addition to the kicking specialists. They made it a point to sign ST-only guys Bolden and Brooks this offseason. They turner their season around last year when they signed ST-only guys Humber and McClellan in November. Belichick actually drafts ST coverage guys.

In a league where just about everybody else would rather get that sixth receiver or ninth defensive linemen who'll likely never play on the 53, Belichick will cram those extra slots with gunners and vice players.

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22 Re: Jets Pick Really Weird Time to Fire Maccagnan

by ChrisS // May 17, 2019 - 12:43pm

Just reading between the lines, without any real information, it appears Gase won a power struggle with Maccagnan so Maccagnan got the ax. Probably better to get rid of him now rather then try to work around a dysfunctional relationship. Reading deeper between the lines Maccagnan probably really sold Gase to the ownership as the solution to the Jets problems simultaneously boosting Gase's credibility and undermining himself in any conflict. Overall a bad situation but letting it fester is not a good solution.

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