The New York Jets are an absolute dumpster fire. In fact, the only sports franchise right now that might be worse off than the J-E-T-S are the Los Angeles Lakers, who, as we all know, have been going through a whole bunch of crap in the past few months.
Like the Lakers, the New York Jets have been full of dysfunction. Coming off a terrible 2018 season that saw them go 4-12 and end up with the No. 3 overall pick in the NFL Draft, the team decided to fire former head coach Todd Bowles, bring on Adam Gase and, BOOM, that’s when shit really hit the fan. In the months since, the Jets also canned their general manager —after the free-agency period and draft process — and, more recently, have seen Gase basically go mano-a-mano with prized free agent running back Le’Veon Bell, with a report saying that the head coach never even wanted to sign him in the first place.
If all that sounds like a soap opera, get ready for the latest report: According to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, the Jets were reportedly already pursuing a head coach replacement for Bowles prior to even letting him go. It’s one thing to be canned by a company, it’s a whole different beast when that company’s working behind your back to find someone to fill your job before you’re fired.
Here’s what Mehta had to write about the alleged process.
The clandestine meeting took place inside the sprawling Manhattan condo during a 10-day window in late November/early December, while the Jets were in free fall.
General manager Mike Maccagnan, top lieutenant Brian Heimerdinger, agent Erik Burkhardt and Johnson had wine over dinner, exploring the possibilities of landing former Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury, while Todd Bowles twisted in the wind for the final month of a four-win campaign, according to sources.
The clumsy plan was part of a larger, flawed strategy by Johnson that included back-channel conversations with more established coaching candidates during the same time frame, unbeknownst to Maccagnan.
The secret meet-and-greet with Burkhardt, who ultimately landed a deal for Kingsbury to become the Cardinals head coach, was just a piece of a poorly designed strategy by a neophyte owner, who wanted to get ahead of a head coaching search, while keeping his current coach in place.
The Jets CEO and Chairman didn’t only go behind Bowles’ back during the final month or so of the season. He also strategically kept Maccagnan in the dark.
Johnson used a confidant as an intermediary late in the season to touch base with the camps of at least two established head coaches, according to sources. The Jets’ proposals were crystal clear: The News learned that the established coach would have total control with the power to keep or fire Maccagnan. There was already a faction in the building that wanted to move on from the GM, according to sources. Maccagnan knew none of it. Meanwhile, Bowles was still coaching the team.
That’s pretty low, man. Sure, it’s important to identify a few people who a team might target if/when the decision’s made to fire a head coach, but to actively go behind, seemingly, everyone’s back to actively pursue a replacement is some mafia-like shit. Ultimately, it was Bowels, Maccagnan and Heimerdinger who were whacked by the New York Jets, but it seems like the dysfunction’s really at the top of the franchise.
New head coach Adam Gase already had a tall task in front of him — especially after being named interim GM following the firing of Mike Maccagnan. With all this reported nonsense going on, he’s now got to answer questions about stuff that happened months ago prior to his watch, and it just proves that the New York Jets continue to be a dumpster fire with no solution to putting out the flames anytime soon.