The Jets did the Jets-iest possible thing last week, firing general manager Mike Maccagnan after allowing him to direct the team’s free agent spending and select a top-three draft pick in this year’s NFL draft. The main scuttlebutt surrounding the move was that Maccagnan was not on the same page as new coach Adam Gase, and that the latter was upset that Maccagnan had spent so much money signing free agent running back Le’Veon Bell.
It got to the point where the NFL rumor mill was churning with speculation that the Jets would trade Bell before he’d played a down for them, but after they’d paid him $11 million in bonuses.
Gase attempted to clear the air on all that during a Thursday news conference, his first since Maccagnan’s departure, calling such spitballing “ridiculous,” saying “that’s the first I’ve heard of that” and referring to Bell as a “great player” and a “good person.”
He also was asked whether he thought the Jets had overpaid for Bell, considering the wariness these days to give big contracts to running backs.
“No, the contract was what it was,” Gase said, per ESPN’s Rich Cimini. “Everybody can criticize contracts all you want, but he’s here. I’m excited he’s here. I think the players are excited he’s here. I think the coaches are.
“When you get a chance to coach a great player, a guy who has done things nobody else has done in the league, like, we’re excited for that opportunity. I’m excited to get him in the offense so I can start figuring out what else can we do with him, and what he hasn’t done.”
As for any unpleasantness between himself and Maccagnan, Gase would only admit to “disagreements on a few things, but there was no personal rift.”
Nevertheless, Gase said Jets CEO Christopher Johnson will be “looking for something a little bit different” than Maccagnan when he hires a new GM, though that doesn’t mean he wants a GM who will do everything Gase asks.
“I don’t really hang out with yes men,” he said, per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. “I don’t associate with people like that.”
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