- Texans' Watson explains why Hopkins doesn't like catching accurate passesHouston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson details wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins' catching abilities.NFL
- Shaun O'Hara ranks NFC East quarterbacks entering 2019NFL Network's Shaun O'Hara ranks the quarterbacks from the NFC East entering the 2019 NFL season.NFL
- Do NFL players deserve criticism for skipping voluntary OTAs?From Odell Beckham Jr. to Reshad Jones, NFL players have been questioned recently for skipping optional offseason workouts.Sports Illustrated
No indication Gase will be Jets permanent GMNFL2:02
Texans' Watson explains why Hopkins doesn't like catching accurate passesNFL0:00
Shaun O'Hara ranks NFC East quarterbacks entering 2019NFL0:00
Do NFL players deserve criticism for skipping voluntary OTAs?Sports Illustrated1:39
Beckham Jr. on missing most of OTAs: The good thing is 'we play in September'NFL0:00
Cris Carter has high expectations for OBJ and Mayfield in ClevelandFOXSports2:33
Rams to scale back Gurley’s workloadDraftKings1:01
Russell Wilson takes ballet with his daughterCNN0:50
Video by NFL.com
Admittedly, the optics aren't great. But given that the New York Jets obviously?soured on Mike Maccagnan four years into his tenure, Wednesday was the right time to part ways with their general manager.
Sure, Maccagnan just drafted highly regarded Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams?— and just weeks after landing the likes of star running back Le'Veon Bell and Pro Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley in free agency. In a fair world, "Macc" would have gotten requisite time to see if his latest decisions paid off.
But the NFL is anything but fair. And skeptics will say Williams fell into Maccagnan's lap with the No. 3 overall selection, and that the GM was essentially bidding against himself for the services of Bell (now the second-best paid back in the league after Todd Gurley, who's nearly three years younger) and Mosley (now easily the top-compensated inside linebacker).
The Jets are also clearly ready to turn the page from a 30,000-foot view, new chairman Christopher Johnson ready for his team to finally #TakeFlight (the club's nifty new hashtag) in their spanking new "Gotham Green" uniforms after years of being grounded as NFL also-rans.
'HARD KNOCKS': Ranking NFL's four likeliest participants by watchability
'Game of Thrones' mock draft: Where your favorite characters might fit in NFL
Furthermore, the Raiders serve as a fresh cautionary tale regarding the hazards of hiring a GM after a disappointing regular season.
On the NFL's cyclic timeline, the draft serves as the de facto Super Bowl for personnel executives like Maccagnan and their scouting staffs. The process starts anew in the summer when college football cranks up and the evaluation of the subsequent draft's players begin.
Last year, Oakland endured a rocky and controversial season as prodigal coach Jon Gruden ascended to the top of the organizational chart and started shipping out once-presumed building blocks like Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper, players drafted by (lame duck as it turned out) general manager Reggie McKenzie years before his shotgun marriage to Gruden.
Gruden and the Raiders should have filed for divorce from McKenzie, as good a job as he'd done rebuilding the franchise following a series of regrettable transactions?by late owner Al Davis before his death in 2011, far sooner than Dec. 10. After all, Gruden's philosophical differences regarding roster construction quickly became apparent.
Statement from Jets Chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson on Mike Maccagnan. pic.twitter.com/cHWNJzExLp— New York Jets (@nyjets) May 15, 2019
Worse, when new GM Mike Mayock was hired on New Year's Eve, he was forced to rely on the reports of McKenzie's scouts, who'd already scoured the college football landscape,?rather than a hand-picked crew of his own to execute his vision, which aligns with Gruden's. (And you wonder why Mayock sent what was essentially McKenzie's staff home prior to April's draft, worried about leaks and unsure whom he could trust.)
Factor in that both Maccagnan, who had one year remaining on his contract, and new Jets coach Adam Gase had both attempted to debunk rumors of apparent friction that had already formed between them?— even Gase, who will fill Maccagnan's shoes on an interim basis until a replacement is hired,?admitted recently that the duo had disagreements during free agency, and that he hated the process?— it became fairly apparent that a clean break was probably in the organization's best interests.
And it's not like Maccagnan has a stellar track record to fall back on.
Sure, he immediately made the Jets competitive in 2015?— their 10-6 record remains their best from the past eight seasons, though a loss to the Bills in the regular-season finale knocked them from the playoff picture. But bringing in aging veterans like quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and receiver Brandon Marshall (both had career years in 2015) and reacquiring fading corner Darrelle Revis was no way to build something that was going to challenge the Patriots in the long run.
And, yes, Maccagnan correctly picked?Leonard Williams (2015), Jamal Adams (2017) and, presumably, Sam Darnold (2018) and?Quinnen Williams (2019) with top-six draft choices. But any informed draft observer almost surely would have done the same when those highly regarded players "fell."
Meanwhile, the Jets have gotten very little production from Maccagnan's other selections, notably linebacker Darron Lee (a first-rounder in 2016) and quarterback Christian Hackenberg, a player foolishly taken in Round 2 three years ago who never took a regular-season snap in the NFL and even washed out of the now-defunct AAF. Prior to Darnold, who appears to be the real deal, Maccagnan's inability to address his team's most critical position?— Fitzpatrick bombed after holding the team hostage in free agency in 2016 but was at least better than Hackenberg,?Bryce Petty, and Josh McCown?— is the main reason New York has gone 14-34 collectively over the past three seasons and is constantly sitting near the top of the draft board.
In today's NFL, four years is plenty of time to execute a rebuild. And?when you hire a strong-minded fellow like Gase, who is charged with installing his own offensive philosophy and (more importantly) developing Darnold into the passing star this team's fans have been awaiting since Joe Namath was taking the snaps, it doesn't make sense to pair him with a decision maker who apparently isn't in lockstep.
Now more than 50 years removed their only Super Bowl appearance and victory, better that the Jets jettison a failed holdover rather than hope he and an unfamiliar co-pilot can finally got this thing off the runway.
Follow Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Opinion: Amid unfair NFL landscape, Jets make right call by unloading GM Mike Maccagnan
Related slideshow: 2019 NFL draft: The top picks (Provided by imagn)?