FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – General manager Joe Douglas praised the job Adam Gase did, and believes the Jets have “a strong core” of players that they can build around to finally end their playoff and Super Bowl droughts.
But Douglas wouldn’t guarantee that Le’Veon Bell, Jamal Adams or Robby Anderson would be a part of that core.
Douglas really couldn’t in Anderson’s case. He will be a free agent and he said he’s going to the highest bidder. Bell and Adams are under contract.
All three players received rave reviews from Douglas. But he wouldn’t commit to signing Adams to a long-term extension that he’s eligible for offseason. He also said he’s not going to just hang up if he gets trade calls on Adams or Bell.
“If teams do call, I’m going to listen,” Douglas said Tuesday. “How those conversations go I can’t speak to that. That’s hypothetical. But when teams call, I will listen.”
Adams felt betrayed that the Jets entertained offers for him before the trade deadline. He felt he should be untouchable. Douglas said those talks “never got to a really serious stage.” It upset Adams nonetheless.
Douglas is not ruling out that the Jets will sign Adams to an extension. Douglas said they’re just not that far along in the process yet. At the end of the week, he will meet with the entire coaching staff to evaluate every player. He said this will set the stage for what they do in the offseason.
“Jamal’s an amazing player,” Douglas said. “We saw what he did all year but really when we deployed him. He was such a factor as a pass rusher. Around the box he did so many good things. His leadership. Voted team MVP by his peers. A special guy. But we’re just starting our process.”
Among the other things Douglas covered in his end of season news conference was he’s not happy that the Jets went 7-9, but he’s very “proud” of the way the team fought to the end.
Douglas said their 6-2 finish will be “a launchpad,” and that he “can’t speak to how great a job” that Gase and his coaching staff did.
“I don’t think the fans should be happy with 7-9,” Douglas said. “I think the fans should be excited, should tip their cap to the way this team stuck together and the people in this building, the men in that locker room, how they were able to bond, how they were able to put egos and feelings aside, really come together for the good of the team.
“Our expectation is to build off that and our expectation is to be better in 2020.”
If Bell is back, Douglas is expecting him to be better in 2020 as well.
Bell, who wasn’t signed by Douglas, didn’t have the kind of year anyone expected. In 15 games, Bell rushed for 789 yards and three touchdowns, and had 66 catches for 461 yards and one touchdown. Gase was criticized for how he used Bell throughout the season. In his end of season news conference, Gase directed all questions about Bell’s future to Douglas.
Douglas had nothing but positive things to say about Bell, about his work ethic and his willingness to do what’s asked of him.
“I think Le’Veon did a great job in practice every day,” Douglas said. “I think Le’Veon brought energy to his teammates. Our goal as a team is to improve. We all have to get better. The goal is for Le’Veon to have more production than he had this year.”
As for Anderson, it appears that Douglas would like to keep him. But it likely will depend on the asking price. The Jets have plenty of holes to fill, and Anderson could get a salary starting at $12 million or more. Anderson had 52 catches for 779 yards and five touchdowns in 16 games.
“I can’t say enough good things about Robby,” Douglas said. “He had a fantastic year, especially down the stretch. We got him the ball down the stretch late. He was making contested catches. I had a great conversation with Robby. He knows how valued he is here. We’ll discuss him later.”