The New York Jets announced on Wednesday morning that they fired general manager Mike Maccagnan and vice president of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger.
“This morning, I informed Mike that he was being relieved of his duties as General Manager of the team, effective immediately,” Jets chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson released in a statement. “Mike helped to execute the strategic vision of the organization during the last four seasons and especially the past few months. However, I came to the decision to make a change after much thought and a careful assessment of what would be in the best long-term interests of the New York Jets.”
New head coach Adam Gase will act as interim general manager while Johnson searches for Maccagnan’s replacement.
Maccagnan’s job had been on the hot seat for at least the past year alongside former head coach Todd Bowles, who he hired shortly after taking over as GM in 2015. Bowles was let go shortly after the 2018 season after a third-consecutive losing season.
The timing of Maccagnan’s dismissal is suspect after it seemed as though he was in the clear following the Bowles departure.
Johnson and the Jets allowed Maccagnan to help pick the new head coach in Gase, spend around $190 million in free agency which included the landing of star running back Le’Veon Bell, and make all of the team’s draft picks last month.
Maccagnan addressed major needs within the Jets’ depth chart, giving second-year quarterback Sam Darnold a star in the backfield in Bell before drafting vaunted pass rusher Quinnen Williams with the No. 3 pick in the draft.
It was seen as Maccagnan’s last chance to save his job, as 2019 would be his judgment campaign.
However, reports indicated that there was a rift between Maccagnan and Gase, which could have sped the process along despite the former GM and organization vehemently denying such claims over the past few months.
“Unless I say it, it’s really irrelevant to me,” Gase said last week of the reported rift (h/t SNY). “I don’t know who decides to put that out there. It kind of pisses me off a little bit.”
Shortly after Maccagnan’s dismissal, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported that Gase “absolutely did not” want to sign Bell or any running back to a big-time contract. Bell was given a four-year, $52.5 million deal in March.