Adam Gase Denies Having Role in Mike Maccagnan's Firing, Was 'Surprised' at News

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 20, 2019

New York Jets new NFL football head coach Adam Gase, left, speaks while general manager Mike Maccagnan looks on during a news conference in Florham Park, N.J., Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

New York Jets head coach Adam Gase denied orchestrating Mike Maccagnan's ouster as the general manager.

"I disagree with that, as far as a power struggle," Gase said Monday, per NJ Advance Media's Darryl Slater. "Because whoever is getting hired [as the new GM] is going to have the same role—control of the roster. I will coach the football team. That's what I'm going to do. Nothing is changing in that structure."

The Jets announced on May 15 they had dismissed Maccagnan, with Gase taking over as the acting GM until a permanent replacement is found. 

Gase added he was "surprised" when told of Maccagnan's exit by acting owner Christopher Johnson.

Almost immediately after the team parted ways with Maccagnan, the narrative became that Gase, who only took over as head coach in January, had essentially outwitted and outlasted Maccagnan behind the scenes.

According to the New York Daily News' Manish Mehta, Johnson "had reservations about retaining Mike Maccagnan after the season." Maccagnan reportedly didn't win Gase over, either, by disregarding or not listening altogether to his opinion on personnel matters.

"Gase's annoyance and irritation over certain issues were warranted. He felt his voice carried little weight on certain important matters," Mehta wrote. "So, he did what he felt he had to do. He strategically ingratiated himself with Johnson, who was looking for a strong communicator on the football side of the organization."

On its own, firing Maccagnan was justifiable, but many questioned why the Jets would get rid of their GM after all of the biggest offseason decisions had already been made. Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman described the franchise as "clueless" and said the team showed "an extraordinary level of incompetence" by letting Maccagnan lead the coaching search and then reshape the roster before showing him the door.

The circumstances of Maccagnan's departure might make any GM candidates think twice about taking the gig.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport downplayed one rumor, reporting Monday that Peyton Manning doesn't appear to be on the team's shortlist.

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