What really happened here?
Could it have been conflict? Maybe it was bad performance or it could’ve been something else. The fact of the matter is that the New York Jets’ firing of GM Mike Maccagnan reeks of something going awry in his relationship with the hierarchy of the franchise.
Obviously, we the public will never know all the juicy details of what happened, given the team’s desire to minimize controversy and sensationalism, but distill the details of the news that came out of the organization in the last week or two; you can figure out at least part of what happened.
For one, it seems like Maccagnan and head coach Adam Gase never agreed on the direction of the team when it came to signing players. On the one hand, Gase is a guy who values the classic “grinder,” a player who isn’t well-known but can come into the team and overachieve by grinding through and playing hard. Maccagnan, on the other hand, has relied on making purchases of marquee players, understanding that these game-changers are essential to transforming the fortunes of a team.
Gase and Maccagnan clashed on the flashy signing of Le’Veon Bell from Pittsburgh. Obviously, signing Bell was a major get for the Jets, but Gase has never liked the idea of paying a lot of money for a running back, a frame of mind that’s unfortunately been dominating the league more and more over the past few years.
That said, I don’t think this simple disagreement tells the whole story. There have been countless incidents of general managers and head coaches conflicting, but these problems are usually dealt with immediately following the end of the season, not deep into the offseason after the general manager in question has spent over $130 million in guaranteed money. It seems as if maybe Maccagnan did something to aggravate his relationship with Jets CEO Christopher Johnson. I only say this because no other explanation makes sense, given what I’ve already pointed out.