With the New York Jets so far, general manager Mike Maccagnan continues to prove himself as a key catalyst in turning the franchise into contenders again.
After seasons of turmoil, the New York Jets have finally found the tandem they have been looking for in head coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan. When these two were hired, the Jets were coming off one of their worst seasons in recent history and seemed like a team that would continue to fall as both former head coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik were dismissed. They seemed to show that they had no idea what was going on with the team and would have one scandal after another including having internal information leaked to the media.
It seems after just one season with the team, both Bowles and Maccagnan have changed the culture and the image of the Jets completely. The team has actually become one that is respectable and the front office has turned from a disgrace to a silent machine that seems to be making all the right decisions to put the best team on the field.
This systematic change began last season when the new general manager seemed to be completely quiet when it came to any moves he was planning to make. If this was the season prior to the hiring of Maccagnan, the media would already have about ten stories about how the Jets were looking at this player or they plan to go after this player or are looking to trade this player.
Almost miraculously though all that came out of the organization was silence. There were no leaks about the Jets plans and this was evident when the franchise surprised everyone by trading for star wide receiver Brandon Marshall. This move shocked most and had fans excited for what else this new general manager would do.
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Fast forward a season and the Jets came away from the year looking like a brand new team and one that seemed like could only go up from here.
However, this also brought more expectation for the second year general manager who would have to deal with a ton of talented free agents and glaring holes in the team’s offense and defense.
These two headlines would continue to be played out with many saying that if the Jets do not sign Fitzpatrick the Jets’ offense would be doomed and if the Jets don’t sign Wilkerson than it will show to all the players around the NFL that the franchise does not take care of their own.
These headlines continued to play out for months as the offseason continued to move on. Story after story was written talking about whether or not the Jets were talking to Wilkerson or Fitzpatrick and whether the team and players were moving in the right direction with their talks.
One thing Maccagnan deserves is praise for not buckling under the pressure of the fans or the media who were yelling that he should give whatever money these two players wanted. However, Maccagnan stood strong in his belief of what these players deserved to be paid and didn’t budge to just make the fans or media happy.
If these were only a couple seasons to go with former general manager Mike Tannenbaum or Idzik, they would have pulled the trigger on both contracts and overpaid for both which would have hindered the Jets plans for the offseason. It would have also most likely have hurt the team in the long run. Instead, Maccagnan has stuck to his guns and not made a move.
Many media members and fans began to think both these players would not get signed and that the Jets were going to leave Wilkerson contract-less and hope for the best come next season. That was until July 15th when it was suddenly announced that the New York Jets and Muhammad Wilkerson had come to an agreement on a five-year $86M deal that seemingly came out of left field. This move surprised everyone from fans to the media who just early that same day were saying that it looked like both parties were not even close to a deal and that many fans would have told you that the deal would never happen.
This move and how it was done shows that Maccagnan truly has turned this organization around and has proven himself more so now than last season that he knows what he is doing and that he is looking towards the future for the Jets. However, this does not mean the Maccagnan will always be perfect and make the perfect move. He is human and will make mistakes but what he has shown to the media and fans so far is that he is able to make the right moves when need be and he isn’t trigger happy when it comes to making deals with players.
Fitzpatrick remains unsigned and it increasingly seems like the Jets are comfortable with allowing Geno Smith to take the reigns if Fitzpatrick decides not to sign. Although you should take any reports with a grain of salt, because if Maccagnan has taught us anything…he is always working and will keep everyone in the dark until he makes his move.