Christopher Johnson and the New York Jets fully amended past football sins with the way they hired new general manager Joe Douglas.
Christopher Johnson snagged his man. As generic as “snagging his man” remains, for the New York Jets, the statement cannot be over-celebrated.
Naturally, praise has since been heaped on the hire. The same thoughts (by many pockets of the league) were present when John Idzik came to Florham Park. When Mike Maccagnan was brought aboard, unsourced quotes flying around with “the Jets got it right” popped up everywhere.
But this time it is, indeed, truly different. Let the past sins wash away and float down the river.
Joe Douglas possesses full control over the 53-man roster. I repeat, “Joe Douglas possesses full control over the 53-man roster.”
Forget thoughts. Throw away emotion. Dive into the tangible aspects that prove the Jets got it right this time around; Douglas’s final voice over personnel provides order in the front office. No more muddled confusion or chaos. The answer to, “Who’s the Boss?” can fade away.
We’ve agreed to terms with Joe Douglas to be our next GM. pic.twitter.com/tzQiWzNmkp
— New York Jets (@nyjets) June 8, 2019
Douglas reportedly got a six-year deal and full personnel control, too. #Eagles https://t.co/yIU3qhFjqq
— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) June 8, 2019
The full-control aspect remained the top sticking point over the last few weeks. In fact, if the Jets didn’t dish out final say over the roster, the Philadelphia Eagles could have fought the hiring (as the move wouldn’t represent a clear-cut promotion within the league).
Initially, according to Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk, New York offered Douglas $1.5 million per season. By the time he interviewed and accepted the job, the money doubled to $3 million over six seasons.
Additionally, if his former (and now current) colleague Adam Gase doesn’t work out, Douglas’s voice will act as the decision-maker in finding the next head coach.
The Jets can preach “team decision” all they want moving forward, but it won’t ring as true as past moves; the one-true boss is now in the house.
The most critical aspect of not only a general managerial search, but maintaining law and order in the front office is complete. It’s done. It’s a thing of the past never to be mentioned again.
Maccagnan’s personnel record served as his greatest downfall. Selecting just three offensive linemen over 34 total draft picks while not improving that very same unit, along with the dreaded edge-rush plague (that’s lasted well over a decade), hurt Mikey Mac most. But what led to his eventual surprise firing after the mover-and-shaker period directly tied in with the hierarchical structure.
Since the last days of Bill Parcells, Woody Johnson’s front-office setup intentionally places the general manager and head coach on the same power level. This structure allows for the potential of serious in-fighting. With direct avenues to ownership on both sides, backstabbing and specific channels are ready to be jumped.
The idea that great character folks won’t take advantage of these avenues holds true for the “perfect world” dreamer. Unfortunately, for so many who live in fictional land, this isn’t an area of Earth covered in chocolate and roses. This is the NFL, a big-boy place for giant egos and workaholics looking to achieve legend status.
A young head coach on his second NFL tour can’t afford to mess this one up. Gase is literally fighting for his football respectability and relevance. What would you do if you arrived only to come to the understanding that the man picking the players holds seriously flawed ideas?
Reverting back to the traditional standard of owner to general manager to head coach serves as the most transparent option. It’s the old-school standard that watches the owner hire the one-true football man (GM), who, in turn, hires his head coach, who, eventually, hires his own staff unimpeded.
The Jets didn’t flip the page back to this tried and tested standard. Like so many NFL teams in the year 2019, they continue on with the “team decision” motto that forces both the general manager and head coach to report to the owner.
They did, however, make the necessary adjustments that were critical to possible future success.
By providing Douglas with full control over the 53-man roster, he is the absolute boss. Case closed. Turn off the lights and leave the room.
The talented personnel man who began his career with the Baltimore Ravens while learning under the watchful eye of Ozzie Newsome now makes the short trip from Philly to North Jersey. Luckily, he embarks on a journey ready-made with a franchise quarterback already in tow.
The positive thoughts are nice. The quotes from unnamed NFL execs claiming the Jets nailed this one are comforting. But the fact that Douglas, himself, wouldn’t leave Philly for a job that didn’t allow him final say over the 53-man roster says everything you need to know about the man and his conviction.
Jets just would not take “no” as an answer from Joe Douglas. He tried to turn down the Jets and each time he did, they came back at him harder and harder. Jets simply were not going to be denied in their efforts to land the former Eagles’ vice president of player personnel.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 8, 2019
After a period of franchise namecalling and complete-mess pushing, the Jets come out on the other side as clean as humanly possible. They now employ one of the more talented young personnel minds as the top personnel dog and one of the more talented quarterback molders as head coach.
There’s no question Gase will be in on personnel moving forward. Considering the Douglas-Gase relationship is already there (which is another tremendous and unforeseen positive for this organization), the duo will work together.
But make no mistake about it: if things go awry, which they naturally and often do in this no holds barred space of the world, it’s the general manager making the final decision. It’s what needed to happen and Christopher Johnson delivered.
Finally, the New York Jets got their man in Joe Douglas, the one true boss of the roster.