The Best and Worst NFL Decisions Made Since the 2019 NFL Draft Ended
The 2019 NFL draft is more than a month in the past. The bulk of free agency is long over, and we're in the middle of OTA and minicamp season—where players largely practice in T-shirts and shorts. Naturally, then, this is a period of the offseason that NFL fans can ignore, right?
Well, not exactly. There has actually been quite a bit of action in the month since the NFL draft. Teams have made some big decisions that will affect the upcoming season and potentially beyond—the New York Jets' firing of general manager Mike Maccagnan is a prime example.
If you've been focused on the NBA and NHL playoffs or just haven't been paying attention to some of the recent NFL offseason moves, you're in luck. Here, you'll get a good look at some of the best and worst decisions made in the days since the 2019 draft.
Best: Buccaneers Release McCoy, Add Suh
This isn't meant as a dig at Gerald McCoy, who is still a quality defensive tackle. However, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' decision to cut him and add Ndamukong Suh was a savvy, if difficult, move.
"These decisions are very difficult, personally and professionally," general manager Jason Licht said, per Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com. "...Parting ways with a player and person such as Gerald is one of the toughest responsibilities of this job."
McCoy had three years remaining on his contract and was owed $13 million in 2019. Tampa then turned around and added Suh on a one-year, $9.25 million deal. This gives the Buccaneers some short-term cap relief and flexibility long term while still keeping a standout tackle on the defensive line.
Suh wasn't quite as dominant this past season as he was earlier in his career, but he was still a dangerous and disruptive player. He amassed 59 tackles, 4.5 sacks and four passes defended, while McCoy had 1.5 more sacks (in two fewer games) but had 31 fewer tackles.
Depending on the role defensive coordinator Todd Bowles envisions for Suh, his addition may be viewed as an upgrade. If so, and with Suh's cheaper price tag, this was a win-win swap for the Buccaneers.
Best: Texans Add Jahleel Addae
The Houston Texans added former Los Angeles Chargers safety Jahleel Addae in early May, and the six-year veteran should provide a nice boost to the Texans secondary. He started all 32 games for the Chargers over the last two seasons, is solid in coverage and is a tremendous tackler.
In 2018, Addae produced 75 tackles, three passes defended, a sack and an interception.
While Addae will likely back up Justin Reid and Tashaun Gipson in base formations, he's a guy Houston can utilize in three-safety sets or in the slot. As a quality tackler, Addae can also play as an extra defender in the box in short-yardage situations.
Along with fellow Texans newcomer Gipson, Addae is a player the Texans can get excited about.
"I think both of those guys bring two meaningful additions to this team," cornerback Johnathan Joseph said, per Anthony R Wood of Texans Wire. "They bring attitude, bring toughness, they both lead by example. They show up to work each and every day."
Addae was one of the best—and most versatile—defenders still on the open market after the draft, and the Texans were smart to scoop him up.
Worst: Raiders Add Richie Incognito
The Oakland Raiders are hoping that a big influx of talent can lead to a quick turnaround in 2019. However, bringing in former Pro Bowl guard Richie Incognito is an unnecessary risk.
Yes, Incognito can be a Pro Bowl-level player when he's at his best. However, he comes with a long history of off-field issues—including a 2018 arrest for disorderly conduct and criminal threats—and locker room drama. He is not the first polarizing player the Raiders have added this offseason, either.
On top of Incognito's off-field issues, he's almost 36 and hasn't played in the NFL since 2017. While Oakland hasn't shied away from signing older players since Jon Gruden's arrival, this isn't the type of move that looks to benefit a franchise building for the future.
Best: Jets Fire Mike Maccagnan
It was time for the Jets to move on from general manager Mike Maccagnan. After roughly five years with him at the position, New York's position hadn't improved.
Yes, Maccagnan lucked into landing Sam Darnold last offseason, but he was also responsible for drafting players like Christian Hackenberg, Devin Smith, Bryce Petty and Darron Lee—who was recently shipped off for a sixth-round draft pick.
Even Maccagnan's successes were short-lived, as Nate Davis of USA Today pointed out:
"He immediately made the Jets competitive in 2015—their 10-6 record remains their best since 2011, though a loss to the Bills in the regular-season finale knocked them from the playoff picture. But bringing in aging veterans like quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and receiver Brandon Marshall (both had career years in 2015) and reacquiring fading corner Darrelle Revis was no way to build something that was going to challenge the Patriots in the long run."
It was time for Maccagnan to go, and one could argue he should have been ousted at the same time as head coach Todd Bowles. However, the Jets allowed him to orchestrate one more draft before starting their search for an upgrade.
Er, about that...
Worst: Jets Name Adam Gase Interim GM
Bill Belichick has made being both the head coach and the de facto general manager work for the New England Patriots. It doesn't go favorably for many franchises, though, and there's nothing to suggest that adding "interim general manager" to Adam Gase's list of titles is going to work for the Jets.
Gase, who went 23-25 as head coach of the Miami Dolphins, has proved little as a shot-caller. And this is exactly what he now is in New York. While the Jets are still searching for a permanent general manager, they "will have to sign off on Gase's preferred choice," according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
General managers don't like to answer to coaches—it's typically the other way around—and New York is already setting the stage for a power struggle that could potentially derail the 2019 season and future campaigns.
Gase insists he had no hand in Mike Maccagnan's exit. However, that's hard to believe since he's been given the chance to essentially hand-pick Maccagnan's replacement. What would make that replacement possibly believe he won't be next out the door if he and Gase begin to disagree?
This is assuming the Jets are even able to convince an executive to come on board with Gase seemingly having final say.
Best: Broncos Give Chris Harris a Pay Bump
Even nearing age 30, cornerback Chris Harris is one of the most consistent and productive defenders on the Denver Broncos roster. Though he played just 12 games in 2018, he still managed to rack up 49 tackles, 10 passes defended, three interceptions and a touchdown.
Harris was also named to the Pro Bowl in two of his last three seasons.
By giving Harris a contract adjustment that will pay him $12.05 million in 2019, the Broncos ensure he will be happy for at least the coming season. They also ensure they will have a shot at retaining him following the 2019 season.
Harris previously sat out OTAs in an effort to force a contract extension or a trade. Now, he'll be in a Broncos uniform for at least 2019.
"If I got to show them 16 games I want to retire here, that's what I'm going to do," Harris said, per Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com.
This was a wise decision for Denver.
Best: Patriots Sign Julian Edelman to Two-Year Extension
The New England Patriots signed wide receiver Julian Edelman to a two-year contract extension. While this doesn't necessarily ensure that Edelman will finish his career with the Patriots, it does mean that one of Tom Brady's favorite targets will be around for likely the remainder of his career.
This is important because it could help convince Brady to sign his own extension.
While Brady probably only has a couple of years remaining in the NFL, New England should want to get him under contract beyond the 2019 season. Doing so would ensure he finishes his Hall of Fame career with the Patriots and would give the franchise time to identify and develop his eventual successor.
Of course, knowing that Edelman can be around until at least 2021 should also give the Patriots some comfort. Should Brady play until the end of Edelman's new deal, he'll be 44 at the end of that season.