FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan denied reports of a rift with new coach Adam Gase, and wouldn’t address reports that he’s on the hot seat.
Maccagnan just led the Jets through the NFL Draft. But one report said Maccagnan and Gase had some disagreements over players in free agency.
“Actually, I think Adam and I have worked very well together,” Maccagnan said. “I’m sure like in any process, there’s times you may have different opinions. It’s just like in a scouting meeting, you may have different opinions on a player.
“But from my standpoint, I’ve had a very good working relationship with Adam. He has a very good sense of humor. He makes me laugh quite a bit, which is one of the things I really like working with him.”
Gase was not available for comment.
The reports that Maccagnan could be fired after the draft were quite surprising considering the timing of it. If his job was on shaky ground, it’s unlikely that Jets Chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson would allow Maccagnan to run such an important draft.
Johnson has entrusted Maccagnan with this immense offseason of change. Maccagnan also oversaw what many considered a rather successful free agency.
“I don’t think I’m really going to sit here and comment on my job,” Maccagnan said. “I’m focused on the draft. I feel very good about the situation we’re in. I feel very good about working with Adam going forward.”
The Jets had the No. 3 pick and needed to take a prospect who could be a foundation player. Maccagnan chose Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams.
The rest of Maccagnan’s picks were Florida outside linebacker Jachai Polite and USC offensive tackle Chuma Edoga in the third round, West Virginia tight end Trevon Wesco in the fourth round, Minnesota inside linebacker Blake Cashman in the fifth and Rutgers cornerback Blessuan Austin in the sixth.
Maccagnan’s draft history has been littered with bad picks, and he made some head-scratching moves in this draft. But few would criticize the Williams’ choice. Many consider him the best defensive player in the draft.
But Maccagnan also oversaw what many considered a rather successful free agency.
The Jets signed three-time Pro Bowl running back Le’Veon Bell, four-time Pro Bowl inside linebacker C.J. Mosley and had an agreement with another Pro Bowl linebacker, Anthony Barr. But Barr reneged on the contract returned to Minnesota.
Maccagnan also acquired Pro Bowl offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele in a trade.
The Jets hope that Sam Darnold will grow and develop quickly under Gase and all the other additions will help them make a big jump in the standings. The Jets have missed the playoffs for eight consecutive years.
“We’ve done some good things in terms of improving the talent at certain positions,” Maccagnan said. “There’s definitely areas we can improve upon. We’ve added some pieces. We’re excited to see some of our young players, how they come back and do. We feel like we made some good strides and we got some good pieces in place.”
Gase, reportedly, wanted Maccagnan to pursue center Matt Paradis more aggressively. He signed a three-year, $27-million with Carolina. The Jets still need a center. Jonotthan Harrison is currently their center.
Maccagnan, who is signed through 2020, also was heavily involved in the hiring of Gase. If Johnson was going to get rid of Maccagnan, it would have been at the end of last season when he fired former coach Todd Bowles.
“I really like working with Adam,” Maccagnan said. “He has a very clear vision of what he wants. A lot of energy and a very, very positive guy to be around and quite funny.”
There also have been reports that there could be a shake-up in Maccagnan’s scouting department now that the draft is over. Maccagnan wouldn’t address that.
“I’m not going to comment on reports in the media,” he said. “I think I’m know what’s going to go on in my scouting department more than anybody else does.”