Less than a month after the NFL Draft, and long after any notable free-agent signings, the New York Jets have decided to get rid of GM Mike Maccagnan. The team also fired VP of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger, Maccagnan’s right-hand man and presumptive heir, installing new head coach Adam Gase as the acting GM.
Maccagnan spent four years with the Jets, steering the team through their most recent rebuild by drafting Sam Darnold and Quinnen Williams, signing Le’Veon Bell, and hiring Adam Gase in an effort to oversee the turnaround. It was surprising that Maccagnan survived Todd Bowles’s firing; he couldn’t apparently survive Gase’s hiring.
Maccagnan’s exit was preceded by a flurry of rumors about a serious disagreement between him and Gase that sprung up last month. Draft analyst Tony Pauline first spoke about a “big rift” between the Jets’ top two figures on the second day of the draft, a rift that apparently developed after the Jets struggled to sign certain free agents. The Jets notably tried and failed to sign offensive lineman Matt Paradis, and Vikings lineman Anthony Barr played New York’s interest as leverage to get a better deal to stay home. Gase and Maccagnan were also reportedly opposed on whether or not to sign Bell—the GM wanted him, the coach didn’t (or at least not at that price). The Athletic’s Michael Lombardi simultaneously reported that Maccagnan was “on the hot seat,” with many around the league expecting him to get fired soon after the draft.
The Jets, Gase, and Maccagnan all denied those reports, with Gase even saying last week, “Unless I say it, it’s really irrelevant to me. I don’t know who decides to put that stuff out there. It kind of pisses me off a little bit.” Rift or not, the Jets have clearly decided to put their faith in Gase, which probably has something to do with Jets owner Christopher Johnson reportedly deciding to get more personally involved in football operations.