It must have been a strange feeling for Mike Maccagnan on Sunday afternoon when the Jets took the field.
Maccagnan was responsible for acquiring 40 of the players on the Jets’ 53-man roster as the team entered its season opener, but the former general manager was banished months ago. It must have been like planning a party and then being told you are not allowed to attend.
Even though he has been gone for four months, Maccagnan still had a presence Sunday in the 17-16 loss to the Bills. It felt like his ghost hovered over the proceedings and probably will all season.
In some ways that was good. In others, not so good.
The big three players he signed in March all played well in their Jets debuts. Le’Veon Bell, C.J. Mosley and Jamison Crowder were the best players on the field for the Jets. Maccagnan spent a combined $87 million guaranteed on those three players. Bell played every snap in the game and showed no signs of rust from his year off. Mosley was everywhere — he had an interception for a touchdown, a recovered fumble and a huge pass break-up. All Crowder did was catch 14 passes, including four third-down conversions.
While the performance of those newcomers may have left Jets fans feeling warm and fuzzy about their former GM, you did not have to look far to remember why Christopher Johnson fired him in May.
The deficiencies on the Jets roster remain glaring and are a direct reflection on the job Maccagnan did in his four-plus years in the position.
The most obvious one was the kicker. No, Kaare Vedvik was not a Maccagnan acquisition, but he was needed because Maccagnan decided to let Jason Myers walk in March after a Pro Bowl season. Maccagnan decided to get cheap when it came to his kicker and now the Jets are changing kickers more often than most people change their sheets. The latest challenger for the job is Sam Ficken, signed by the Jets on Tuesday.
Then there was the cornerback situation. Trumaine Johnson, the man Maccagnan gave a five-year, $72.5 million contract to, gave Bills receiver John Brown such a big cushion that it looked like Johnson was standing in Lyndhurst. Johnson allowed 110 yards on seven completions and had a penalty.
On the other side, Darryl Roberts, who Maccagnan thought was good enough to move from reserve to starter, committed three penalties, gave up the game-winning touchdown and had a 147 QB rating against.
It was a stark reminder that Maccagnan neglected to address the cornerback position in any meaningful way this offseason. The same could be said for edge rusher, where the Jets remain searching for answers after sacking Josh Allen just once Sunday.
Finally, there was the offensive line. The group looked overmatched against the Bills front. It was a position that Maccagnan did address in March by trading for guard Kelechi Osemele, but years of neglect for the position group as a whole have left the Jets with a below-average line.
The good and the bad that Maccagnan did with the Jets will be something that hangs over this team all season. New general manager Joe Douglas has his hands tied with how much he can improve the current roster. Big moves are made in March and April, not in September and October.
In the long term, Maccagnan’s legacy with the Jets will likely be quarterback Sam Darnold. He moved up to get Darnold in the 2018 draft. Darnold had a rough day Sunday, but has shown enough promise to believe Maccagnan did solve the Jets’ biggest issue in securing a franchise quarterback. Time will tell if that is accurate.
For now, Maccagnan must sit and watch the roster he mostly built in exile from wherever he chooses to spend his Sunday afternoons or Monday nights.
Maccagnan is gone, but he certainly wasn’t forgotten Sunday, when the Jets showed the good and the bad of his run here.
Source: Read Full Article