The New York Jets earlier today fired the general manager who was in place when they signed Le’Veon Bell in March. According to reports, their new general manager—who is also their head coach—was against signing him. I can’t imagine anything going wrong from this point forward.
It’s not out of the ordinary that an organization allows its scouting staff to get through a draft cycle before letting them go. It’s a bit more unusual for a team to fire a general manager after going through free agency and the draft. But the Jets just did that in letting Mike Maccagnan go. He had been with the team in that role since 2015 and was voted executive of the year that year.
The Jets have named new head coach Adam Gase interim general manager in the meantime. And Jets beat writer Manish Mehta wrote on Twitter earlier today that Gase disagreed with Maccagnan and Jets owner Christopher Johnson about signing Bell, or spending heavily on the running back position generally.
One disagreement between Adam Gase and Mike Maccagnan/Christopher Johnson…
Gase absolutely did not want to sign Le’Veon Bell, per sources. In fact, he made it clear that he didn’t want to spend a lot of money on any running back.
— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) May 15, 2019
This is all pretty ironic when you consider the fact that Bell conducted an interview after he signed with New York to try to justify the contract that he signed by saying, in part, that he wanted to come to the Jets because they made him feel so welcome. He even specifically cited a phone call with Gase that showed him that they wanted him there.
When perhaps literally the opposite was true.
And not that’s all over the internet. In case you haven’t noticed, Bell pays attention to what the internet says about him. Which is why he responds to people on social media, and even goes out of his way to try to defend himself. He even posted a screenshot on Twitter of an explanation he gave to somebody on another social media platform about why he wasn’t participating in the team’s offseason program.
And Gase—who, again, reportedly didn’t want him—had to defend Bell’s non-presence by reminding that it was all voluntary, and that every season he has played, he has been prepared for. But he hasn’t played football in over a year at this point.
The Jets are tied to Bell now, though. His salaries through the first two years of the four-year contract he signed are guaranteed. So Gase will have to continue to defend Bell, all the while convincing Bell to assuage his ego that the reports that he didn’t want him are false.
Many were left with the belief that the Jets ended up bidding against themselves as it concerns Bell, as there were really no other suitors at the price they were negotiating, and even that number took the running back a bit of time to agree to. One wonders how much less they might have been able to sign him for if they had simply waited it out. Maybe Maccagnan would still have his job then and this report wouldn’t have come out.