Breaking down Jets power struggle between Mike Maccagnan, Adam Gase

FLORHAM PARK, NJ - JANUARY 21: New York Jets General Manager Mike Maccagnan addresses the media during a press conference on January 21, 2015 in Florham Park, New Jersey. Maccagnan and Head Coach Todd Bowles were both introduced for the first time. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
FLORHAM PARK, NJ - JANUARY 21: New York Jets General Manager Mike Maccagnan addresses the media during a press conference on January 21, 2015 in Florham Park, New Jersey. Maccagnan and Head Coach Todd Bowles were both introduced for the first time. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images) /

New York Jets Head coach Adam Gase and former general manager Mike Maccagnan fought in a battle for power in the Jets’ decision making process. What actually happened in the Jets’ front office this offseason?

Mike Maccagnan was given the opportunity to be a major factor in picking a new head coach for the New York Jets this offseason. I think it’s safe to say Maccagnan didn’t make the right choice for himself.

The Jets wound up going with Adam Gase, former head coach of the Dolphins. The notably aggressive-minded head coach has since developed a feud with Maccagnan, and the struggle for power became too much to handle. This left the Jets with a decision to make.

Christopher Johnson decided to side with Gase over Maccagnan, which is a fairly easy choice to make. Hiring a new head coach in May is a disaster waiting to happen, while general managers aren’t too hard to come by. Now, Maccagnan finds himself looking for work and Gase holds the reigns regarding the Jets’ future plans.

Rumors have been swirling all over the internet since Maccagnan was fired. Twitter exploded with theories since the minute the news broke. But, what actually happened? I’ve put the pieces of the puzzle together, and developed a timeline for the Gase-Maccagnan rift, which dates all the way back to March. Here’s a detail-by-detail explanation of what really happened in Florham Park over the past few months.

The Beginning

March 11th, 2019. Legal tampering begins at 4:00 p.m. and the Jets are loaded with cap space, ready to go all in on several stars to get the talent the Jets desperately need. Well, Maccagnan was ready at least.

Gase, on the other hand, wasn’t sure about handing out big contracts to guys like Le’Veon Bell and C.J. Mosley. He liked them as players, but not at their cost. Gase didn’t want to give any running back big money, not just Le’Veon Bell. He also wanted to keep the price tag on C.J. Mosley below $13 million per year. It wasn’t the players they signed, but their price tags that led to controversy.

Liked the player, didn’t love the money is how I heard it on Le’Veon Bell. Adam Gase also didn’t love the price tag on CJ Mosley. It all added up.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 15, 2019

Maccagnan knows if he doesn’t acquire star talent this free agency, he’s toast in New York. So, he goes against Gase’s wishes and hands out over $191 million worth of contracts. He goes beyond Gase’s suggested budget, giving all the money that he can in order to ensure that the Jets land the stars they were targeting.

Gase also wanted the Jets to target center Matt Paradis, but Maccagnan disagreed, per Ian Rappoport. Paradis signed with the Carolina Panthers on a three year, $27 million deal. Now, the Jets don’t have a center to target and are likely stuck with Jonathan Harrison for the season.

The feud begins.

Jets’ CEO Christopher Johnson got wind of this rift, and decided to investigate. He said on a conference call with reporters that he began sitting in on several meetings throughout free agency and the draft, and realized what was going on. Maccagnan and Gase didn’t share similar visions.

Johnson said he got himself more involved in the franchise late last year. Sat in on FA, draft meetings, etc. He “watched process, understood more fully” Maccagnan’s role. Said his decision “evolved,” and he came to decision to let him go within the last few days

— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) May 15, 2019

Johnson also noted that the “synergy” between Maccagnan and Gase was not what he was looking for. If this isn’t indirectly hinting at a rift, I don’t know what is. It’s clear these two weren’t agreeing on many things throughout the offseason.

These disagreements continued throughout the draft process and after. There were even rumblings that Maccagnan’s job was in danger after the draft, but these were shut down by reporters. Gase said in a press conference that the rumors of a rift between him and Maccagnan pissed him off, implying that they were totally false. But everyone in the Jets building knew the rift was real, and only growing.

Strike two for Maccagnan.

The Last Straw

Post-draft, things began to cool down in the Jets’ front office. With little major decision making left, there wasn’t much for Gase and Maccagnan to argue about. It’s May. What could they possibly disagree on in the most boring month of the football year?

Well, things were fine. Until the Jets got a call from the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs called up the Jets regarding Darron Lee, who’s been on the trade block since the day the Jets signed C.J. Mosley. The Chiefs and the Jets talked for weeks, but things reached a stalemate. Maccagnan wanted a fifth round pick, and the Chiefs weren’t budging. They refused to give up anything more than a 6th rounder.

Gase wanted to make this deal happen before it was too late. The front office sparred once again, and this time, it was fatal. Johnson realized Gase and Maccagnan were disagreeing much more often than they were agreeing, and things were only getting worse.

A change had to be made.

Johnson had to make a choice. He felt that it was best to move on as soon as possible, despite the awkward timing. The Jets relieved Maccagnan of his duties and hired Gase as the Jets’ interim general manager. Gase’s first move? Trade Darron Lee to the Chiefs in exchange for a sixth round pick.

A Gase and Maccagnan combination was destined for failure. Two stubborn, self-minded decision makers who wanted control. Once they began disagreeing with each other’s decision making, it turned into a matter of when they would rift apart, not if they would . Now, Maccagnan will be looking for work while Gase holds the reigns of the Jets’ decision making process and gets to assist in selecting a new general manager.