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Maccagnan’s Longest day Won’t be Forgotten Anytime Soon


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By Glenn Naughton

 

If Jets General Manager Mike Maccagnan spent most of today feeling like he’d just been hit by a truck, could anybody blame him.  It was a long day that neither he nor fans of the New York Jets will forget anytime soon.

The third-year GM didn’t make any friends in the Jets locker room and angered countless fans by cutting ties with stalwart linebacker David Harris and the team’s best wide receiver in Eric Decker.  Moves that made little sense at the time and don’t make a lot more sense now.

Nobody in their right mind expected the Jets to contend for anything other than the first overall choice in the 2018 NFL draft this season, but Decker and Harris were still going to be key in assisting with the development of many of the young players Maccagnan has acquired in his first three offseasons with the team.

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According to Mike Maccagnan, WR Eric Decker has played his final game as a Jet.

This is what makes the Decker move the more surprising of the two. He’s younger than Harris and he’s arguably the best receiver on a team with tons of young pass catchers who would have benefited from Decker’s presence both in the huddle and the receiver room.

Players such as Robby Anderson, Charone Peake, Jalin Marshall, ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen may have been able to pick Decker’s brain when it comes to some of the nuances of playing wide receiver in the NFL.

Now with Decker gone, Quincy Enunwa, a fantastic young receiver in his own right, becomes the go-to guy of the receiving corps.

Meanwhile, all Harris did with the Jets was rack up over 1,000 career tackles in 11 seasons while anchoring some of the best teams in Jets history in 2009/2010.  Harris also putting up with some of the lowest of the lows.  Most recently this past season when the team’s 5-11 record didn’t give a true indication of just how bad the Jets were.

Through it all, Harris didn’t get too high or too low.  He just showed up to work every day, did his job, and did it better than most, leading by example.  Now, he’s a former Jet.

One could easily make the case that moving on from Decker and Harris was the right football move, but nobody can possibly defend the timing of it.

In early June, most rosters are set and many teams are at or near the salary cap limit.  There’s no denying it, both players deserved better, especially Harris.

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Previously the team’s longest tenured player, David Harris has been let go by the Jets.

As a matter of fact, the timing of the moves is so bizarre, that like it or not, you may have to lend a significant amount of credence to a report from Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News who claims to have been told that both moves were ordered by owner Woody Johnson to save $12 million in what is sure to be a lost season.  If so, it would go a long way in explaining the demeanor of both Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles.

When asked why Harris and his $6.5 million salary were let go, Bowles said it was “a good question”, and one that should possibly be asked of someone else at a later date.

Then there was Maccagnan, who briefly met with reporters to discuss the day’s moves, and was described by long-time Jets beat writer Rich Cimini of ESPN New York as “somber”.

Bowles deflected the question about Harris elsewhere, Maccagnan’s demeanor reflected that of a man who wasn’t thrilled with the moves that had just been made, and Mehta claims Johnson made the call to make the moves.

In the end, no matter how it all transpired, Maccagnan’s name will be attached to the moves forever, whether he likes it or not.  Football season stops for nobody, so even if the moves weren’t what they wanted, Bowles and Maccagnan have to do what David Harris did so many times.  In the face of adversity, put their heads down and get to work.

 

 

 

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I hate to buy in to any Manish conspiracy stuff, but the timing of these moves makes his WJ story pretty plausible.

Bowles made it clear during the owners meetings that he wanted Harris on the roster and letting him go makes little sense at this point.

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This may be a very long season. Real leadership is required from the QB position as it is scare everywhere else. With even the QB position bereft of that quality, it may not get better than this. I hope the FO does not quit. That "heads down" section is brutal read and even worse to visualize.

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People realize the Jets still spend the money, yes? Even if they don't pay it to Decker/Harris this year, they have to - and will - spend at least 90% of it on others in 2018 and beyond. The only savings is going to be salary cap savings so the money can be used on others. For all his faults over the past 15-plus years, the one thing I don't hit Woody over the head with is being a tightwad in terms of player signing. 

Harris was a no-brainer, even if they did unnecessarily fumble how they did it, and even without trading for Demario Davis (whom they still ought to cut). The idea that he wasn't worth $4m last year, but he is now, when he isn't good enough to stick on the Browns, is an unconvincing one.

Decker is a little more iffy, since he's no more expensive than Brian Williams now, and he only just turned 30 a few months ago. I can rationalize it by any combination of (1) they're still rightly sore over his little Fitz-based mini holdout, coordinating with multiple other team veterans in doing so; (2) they truly believe he won't make it through the season anyway; (3) they reasonably think they can get something in return for him, other than just cap relief; (4) Hackenberg and Petty both look so hopeless, even with the more reliable Decker not boneheading his routes like a rookie, that he isn't going to help either of them enough to make a difference.

If Decker's last remaining value would be to help teach younger receivers, then hire a better receivers coach. The only evidence of him seriously helping out a Jets teammate was his staged holdout for a veteran: his boo Fitzpatrick.

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2 hours ago, Sperm Edwards said:

People realize the Jets still spend the money, yes? Even if they don't pay it to Decker/Harris this year, they have to - and will - spend at least 90% of it on others in 2018 and beyond. The only savings is going to be salary cap savings. For all his faults over the past 15-plus years, the one thing I don't hit Woody over the head with is being a tightwad in terms of player signing.

2017 is the first year of the new four-year period in the CBA in which teams must spend a total of 89% of the cap space available over the course of those four years. So in year one of this term, a year in which if the team had held onto both players they were still likely to be competing for the first pick in the draft, why not carry an additional $14M forward? Stupid to spend $6M on McCown at the same time, but I didn't mean to suggest that there's a real plan in place here. But if there is a plan, I imagine it includes being better in a couple or few years. Better to have the money to spend then. 

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15 minutes ago, slats said:

2017 is the first year of the new four-year period in the CBA in which teams must spend a total of 89% of the cap space available over the course of those four years. So in year one of this term, a year in which if the team had held onto both players they were still likely to be competing for the first pick in the draft, why not carry an additional $14M forward? Stupid to spend $6M on McCown at the same time, but I didn't mean to suggest that there's a real plan in place here. But if there is a plan, I imagine it includes being better in a couple or few years. Better to have the money to spend then. 

Pretty much what I just said above: in the end, the smart one here may be Woody Johnson, which is pretty sad.

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1 hour ago, Green DNA said:

If Woody did order the cuts to save $$ he should be drawn and quartered.  How about he gives all of us suckers that bought tickets a rebate?  We would also like to save a few bucks in a lost season.

I wonder if Woody also made the call on Mo and Fitz late last year?  Mac seemed to have drawn the line correctly since neither one added anything positive to the team last year, yet they cost a ton

a comp pick for Mo and extra cap space would have helped the rebuild

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4 hours ago, Ohio State NY Jets fan said:

I wonder if Woody also made the call on Mo and Fitz late last year?  Mac seemed to have drawn the line correctly since neither one added anything positive to the team last year, yet they cost a ton

a comp pick for Mo and extra cap space would have helped the rebuild

Lolwut?

Provide the tiniest hint of evidence Maccagnan ultimately inked Fitz and Mo against his will. 

Comp pick for Mo? He needed to trade him. The problem is he insisted on a 1st round pick or more, which no sober GM was offering for a good (but injured) player in need of an elite player's contract to retain.

There is no evidence and there were no leaks that Maccagnan was forced to sign either one of them, other than by having his bluff called.

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8 hours ago, Green DNA said:

If Woody did order the cuts to save $$ he should be drawn and quartered.  How about he gives all of us suckers that bought tickets a rebate?  We would also like to save a few bucks in a lost season.

I agree.

That $12 million, spent on positive vibes, a semblance of competitiveness, and on-the-job tutoring for the young guys, is well-spent money. Really not a great move at all in my opinion.

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If any of you jokers think Woody ordered the cuts to save himself a few mils, you guys a delusional. With the current CBA agreement, there is no such thing as saving money. Cap dollars need to be spent one way or the other and Woody has shown he's one of the highest spenders in the league even before the current CBA. 

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9 hours ago, Sperm Edwards said:

People realize the Jets still spend the money, yes? Even if they don't pay it to Decker/Harris this year, they have to - and will - spend at least 90% of it on others in 2018 and beyond. The only savings is going to be salary cap savings so the money can be used on others. For all his faults over the past 15-plus years, the one thing I don't hit Woody over the head with is being a tightwad in terms of player signing. 

Harris was a no-brainer, even if they did unnecessarily fumble how they did it, and even without trading for Demario Davis (whom they still ought to cut). The idea that he wasn't worth $4m last year, but he is now, when he isn't good enough to stick on the Browns, is an unconvincing one.

Decker is a little more iffy, since he's no more expensive than Brian Williams now, and he only just turned 30 a few months ago. I can rationalize it by any combination of (1) they're still rightly sore over his little Fitz-based mini holdout, coordinating with multiple other team veterans in doing so; (2) they truly believe he won't make it through the season anyway; (3) they reasonably think they can get something in return for him, other than just cap relief; (4) Hackenberg and Petty both look so hopeless, even with the more reliable Decker not boneheading his routes like a rookie, that he isn't going to help either of them enough to make a difference.

If Decker's last remaining value would be to help teach younger receivers, then hire a better receivers coach. The only evidence of him seriously helping out a Jets teammate was his staged holdout for a veteran: his boo Fitzpatrick.

i know better than to get too excited when players come and go. the average career is maybe 4 or so seasons so i don't see there is going to be a big problem.  but i do like to see some perceived loyalty and harris and decker certainly deserved something for their troubles (besides their high salaries).  but if this was the plan they should've just let these guys go earlier so they could possibly get picked up by another team. i don't buy into the whole veteran mentor thing either.  that's one of those things that sound good on paper but doesn't always work.

at the very least they'll have some cap space to sign some training camp cast offs if the current players don't make the grade.

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21 minutes ago, j4jets said:

If any of you jokers think Woody ordered the cuts to save himself a few mils, you guys a delusional. With the current CBA agreement, there is no such thing as saving money. Cap dollars need to be spent one way or the other and Woody has shown he's one of the highest spenders in the league even before the current CBA. 

Take that $12 million, invest it for at least a year and make a few more dollars. Woody a businessman, not a real good one, but he loves to make money.

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4 hours ago, tuffhand said:

Take that $12 million, invest it for at least a year and make a few more dollars. Woody a businessman, not a real good one, but he loves to make money.

Lol $12mil is pocket change for him. And he might be bad business, but he certainly knows how to triple is networth. 

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14 hours ago, rangerous said:

i know better than to get too excited when players come and go. the average career is maybe 4 or so seasons so i don't see there is going to be a big problem.  but i do like to see some perceived loyalty and harris and decker certainly deserved something for their troubles (besides their high salaries).  but if this was the plan they should've just let these guys go earlier so they could possibly get picked up by another team. i don't buy into the whole veteran mentor thing either.  that's one of those things that sound good on paper but doesn't always work.

at the very least they'll have some cap space to sign some training camp cast offs if the current players don't make the grade.

I don't disagree, but it'll blow over in time. With any luck, the way it blows over will be in the form of a new GM/HC tandem. Like most, I'd also prefer a head of football operations as well, but that seems unlikely. 

I also agree with the stupidity of paying serious salaries for mentor roles, but I guess that's what teams do when the coaching leadership and ability is just that much of an empty chair.

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