FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Adam Gase spoke for the first time since he was named interim general manager and tried to dismiss the idea that he won a power struggle with Mike Maccagnan, who was fired Wednesday.
Gase said his only concern is coaching the team.
“I disagree with that as far as a power struggle,” Gase said Monday afternoon. “Whoever is getting hired [as general manager] is going to have the same role, like control of the roster, control of the 53. I will coach the football team. That’s what I’m going to do. Nothing is changing in that structure.”
That’s the structure Jets chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson wants, and last week he said it would continue that way. Gase said he was surprised when Johnson informed him he was firing Maccagnan.
"He told me,” Gase said. “That’s what it was. He’s the owner. In this business, [stuff] like that happens all the time. It happened to me last year [being fired by the Dolphins]. That’s what it is. I work for him. That’s how we’re aligned – GM, the head coach, report to the owner. That’s how it is.”
Gase was not expected to address the Maccagnan situation at Monday’s informal film session with reporters.
He was asked about the sudden and unanticipated dismissal of Maccagnan, and Gase agreed to answer one question. It seemed as if Gase wanted to speak more. But he said he would answer in more detail during Thursday’s news conference following the Jets' first OTA that is open to the media.
Gase is in his first season as Jets coach, but it’s obvious he has a little more power than that. Johnson said that Gase would “assist” in the hiring of Maccagnan’s replacement.
There were reports of a rift between Gase and Maccagnan before and during the draft. Both men denied it. But few could have foreseen that whatever was brewing between the two of them would have led to Maccagnan being let go after he was in charge of the Jets’ offseason plan.
Maccagnan spent more than $125 million in free agency and drafted six players, starting with Alabama nose tackle Quinnen Williams with the No. 3 pick.
But Johnson said after spending more time in meetings, Combine interviews and being a part of the day-to-day football operations, he decided he wanted to make a change. He relieved Maccagnan and director of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger of their duties.
Maccagnan and Gase didn’t agree on all personnel decisions, which both acknowledged as normal. Maccagnan also was considered too indecisive, whereas Gase is very aggressive and has a strong personality.
That difference was on display last week when Maccagnan couldn’t find a deal for linebacker Darron Lee that he liked. Hours after Gase became acting GM, he traded Lee to the Chiefs for a 2020 sixth-round pick.
The Jets’ search for a new general manager is expected to pick up now, and some of the names to watch include the Eagles' director of player personnel, Joe Douglas, and Champ Kelly, the Bears' assistant director of player personnel. Both have ties to Gase.
Gase worked with Douglas for one season with the Bears. Gase and Kelly worked together in Denver and Chicago.
Notes & quotes: The Jets signed free-agent punter Matt Darr on Monday. He was the full-time punter in Miami in 2015, and again in 2016 under Gase. Darr played five games for the Bills last season and has averaged 45.4 yards for his career. Lachlan Edwards, the Jets' punter the past three seasons, remains under contract.