Jets Rumors

Todd Bowles Could Be Fired Before End Of Year

The Jets are in the midst of another lost season, and it has been an open secret for some time that head coach Todd Bowles is on his way out. However, all indications to this point had been that Bowles would at least make it through the end of 2018 before getting the ax, but Albert Breer of TheMMQB believes it could happen sooner.

As of right now, there are only four games left on the schedule (including today’s game against the Bills), so identifying an interim head coach would not be a particularly big challenge. Plus, as Breer writes, the situation in New York has gone sideways. Earlier this week, we heard rumors of a rift between Bowles and GM Mike Maccagnan, and while Bowles quickly did his best to quash those rumors, it does not seems as if it would do either Bowles or the team much good to postpone the inevitable any longer.

It is unclear if Breer is referring to more than the reported tension between head coach and GM when he says that increasing internal turmoil has been made him rethink his stance that Bowles would survive the season, but it seems as if Bowles could soon become the third head coach to lose his job before Week 17.

Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv has reaffirmed his belief that recently-fired Packers head coach Mike McCarthy should be at the top of the Jets’ short list when it comes time to replace Bowles, though McCarthy may want to take the 2019 season off, and he may be turned off by the fact that Maccagnan is still likely to be around. Vacchiano also names John DeFilippo, John Harbaugh, and Lincoln Riley as potential fits.

Whoever the next head coach is may walk into the No. 1 overall pick. As Rich Cimini of ESPN.com details, the Jets have an 18% chance to secure that pick, which would allow them to select the draft’s top talent, Nick Bosa, or acquire a bounty of picks by trading that selection to a QB-needy franchise.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 12/8/18

Here are Saturday’s minor moves:

Buffalo Bills

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

New York Jets

Jets Leaning Toward Passing On Lee Option?

  • Darron Lee has not made the Jets‘ 2016 first-round investment look too good, and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com does not expect the team to pick up the inside linebacker’s fifth-year option (Twitter link). It would cost the Jets around $10MM to keep Lee under contract through the 2020 season, and Cimini believes it would be an ill-advised decision for Gang Green to exercise the now-suspended linebacker’s option. Lee’s played better this season but has been inconsistent throughout his career.

Jets HC Todd Bowles Disputes Reports Of Tension

Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported earlier this week that there was a serious division between Jets head coach Todd Bowles and GM Mike Maccagnan. Predictably, Bowles was quick to dismiss the rumors in an interview with SNY, and he attributed the rumors to one unknown individual in the organization.

“There’s never been any tension with me or anybody else in this building,” Bowles said (via Mehta). “It’s a professional place. There’s a lot of good people in here and we treat people the same way. It’s unfortunate someone has their own agenda in mind. I guess that’s between him and Manish (Mehta), whoever that person is. But usually the person that throws the first stone is usually the culprit. So, they’re probably trying to protect or hide something. But most of the organization is not like that. It’s unfortunate that we had that said.”

The initial report indicated that the two men have been professional towards each other throughout their tenure in New York, although Mehta says the underlying tension “has created an unproductive working environment.” The team is reportedly set on retaining Maccagnan and firing Bowles, although the Jets will have to show improvements on the field if the general manager hopes to keep his job beyond 2019.

As our own Zach Links pointed out, Maccagnan will have to showcase the scouting skills that got him his gig in the first place (64% of players drafted by the Jets from 2015-2018 are still on an active NFL roster, versus the league average of 76%). The general manager also has to wisely use the team’s $100MM+ in cap space, although he shouldn’t necessarily be blamed for previously costly contracts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Suspends Jets’ Darron Lee

Jets linebacker Darron Lee has been suspended for four games due to a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. There are only four games left in the Jets’ season, so the ban ends his 2018 campaign. 

[RELATED: Major Rift Between Jets’ Bowles, Maccagnan]

This has been a trying year for the Jets, but Lee was enjoying the best season of his professional career. In 12 games (all starts), the former first-round pick amassed 74 tackles, three interceptions, and a pick six. He ranks as Pro Football Focus’ No. 20 ranked linebacker in the NFL, which is leaps and bounds better than his previous showings. The four-game absence will cost the linebacker $655,934, according to Overthecap.com (Twitter link).

Without Lee, the Jets will have to do some shuffling in their 3-4 scheme. Neville Hewitt is the only true inside linebacker on the bench, but the club could also find a way to get Frankie Luvu or Kevin Pierre-Louis on the first team with some creative reorganization.

The Jets aren’t playing for much at this point of the season, but they are eager to avenge their embarrassing Nov. 11 loss against the Bills this Sunday. Unfortunately, have to try and get that done without one of their better defenders.

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NFL Practice Squad Updates: 12/6/18

Today’s practice squad updates:

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

  • Signed: OL Mason Gentry, WR Daniel Williams

Indianapolis Colts

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Sam Darnold Expected To Start In Week 14

Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold is expected to start against the the Bills after Sunday after missing New York’s last three games with a foot sprain, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Head coach Todd Bowles declined to officially name Darold his Week 14 starter, but that’s believed to be the Jets’ plan.

Per Rapoport, the Jets have been delicately handling Darnold’s recovery, and he probably could have played in Week 13 if the club would have let him. However, New York is taking a cautious approach with its first-round signal-caller, just as the Bears have done recently with their young quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Chicago already essentially has a playoff spot locked up and didn’t feel the need to rush Trubisky back, while the Jets are in the midst of a lost campaign and thus didn’t intend to deploy Darnold until he was fully healthy.

Gang Green sent their own first-rounder and three second-round picks to the Colts this spring in order to acquire the No. 3 overall selection, which they subsequently used on Darnold. While it’s fair to question the talent around him, Darnold hasn’t been great so far, as he ranks dead last among NFL quarterbacks in passer rating, interception, and adjusted net yards per attempt.

After facing the Bills on Sunday, Darnold and the Jets will close out the 2018 season with the Texans, Packers, and Patriots.

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Major Rift Between Jets’ Bowles, Maccagnan

It has not been a happy marriage for Jets head coach Todd Bowles and GM Mike Maccagnan, as Manish Mehta of the Daily News details. While the two have been professional in their interactions with each other, Mehta hears that there has been a serious division between the two and a whole lot of mistrust. 

There have been numerous disagreements between the two men, including a dispute over Alvin Kamara in the 2017 draft. Jets coaches begged the GM to trade up for the University of Tennessee running back, but Maccagnan refused to pay a premium for him. Maccagnan attempted to satisfy then-offensive coordinator John Morton by selecting Alabama wide receiver ArDarius Stewart that year, but he quickly washed out and so did Morton.

Morton was the second of three OCs to serve under Bowles, and the lack of continuity has undoubtedly hurt the Jets and their efforts to build a potent offense. That’s probably part of the rationale in the team’s reported plans to keep the GM and fire Bowles this offseason.

If Maccagnan hopes to stay with the Jets beyond 2019, he’ll have to display the scouting acumen that got him hired in the first place. Only 64% of players drafted by the Jets from 2015-2018 are still on an active NFL roster, versus the league average of 76%. While he’s hit on his first round picks and found some keepers in the late rounds of the draft, Maccagnan’s track record in rounds 2-5 leave much to be desired.

Maccagnan must also use the Jets $100MM+ in cap room wisely. The Jets had tons of cash to spent last spring, but they whiffed on quarterback Kirk Cousins and settled for a monster deal with cornerback Trumaine Johnson. The former Rams standout has struggled all season and his five-year, $72.5MM deal may prove to be a costly error.

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Jets Designate LB Josh Martin For Return

The Jets have designated linebacker Josh Martin to return from injured reserve, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post (Twitter link).

Martin was placed on IR in early October after suffering his second concussion in five weeks. Given that New York clearly isn’t heading for the postseason, Jets management must feel as if Martin is fully recovered from his brain injury. Because he’s already missed eight weeks of action, Martin is eligible to return to the active roster at any time.

Now that he’s back at practice, the Jets have a three-week window during which they must either place Martin on their 53-man roster, or leave him on injured reserve for the rest of the year. Each NFL club is allowed to bring two players back from IR, and Martin will join running back Elijah McGuire as injured Jets who will have been — at the least — designated for return. Other ailing New York players, such as defensive back Doug Middleton or tight end Neal Sterling, will stay on IR for the rest of the 2018 campaign.

If he is able to get back on the field, Martin could potentially aid a Jets pass-rushing unit that ranks bottom-10 in sacks, adjusted sack rate, and pressure rate. Martin, who entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2013, is scheduled to become a free agent next spring.

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NFL Workout Updates: 12/4/18

Here is the latest from the workout circuit. All links to NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account, unless otherwise noted.

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Miami Dolphins

New York Jets

Oakland Raiders

Pittsburgh Steelers

Washington Redskins