Marcus Maye case proves Jets fans need to trust Joe Douglas
General manager Joe Douglas couldn’t do anything wrong when he was first hired by the New York Jets, but after last year’s two-game winning season and the recent 0-3 start, a contingent of fans began to turn against him.
The main criticism has been his reluctance to extend talented players long term. Many Jets fans have called him cheap, and they might be right, but you can also say he showed great foresight.
Outside of Sam Darnold, who had some success to start 2021, the players Douglas traded or let walk have failed to make a significant impact. Robby Anderson had a solid 2020 for example, but the Panthers didn’t make the playoffs and there were clear reasons not to commit to him long-term (more details below).
This week another bombshell cemented an alternate narrative – Douglas won our trust.
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Dodged a bullet at Marcus Maye
Let’s be clear, Douglas wasn’t perfect. His 2020 draft class looks shaky aside from cornerback Bryce Hall and UDFAs Bryce Huff and Javelin Guidry. He also made mistakes in choosing free agencies like Connor McGovern and Greg Van Roten over established options.
There has been one area where his record is phenomenal, and that is Mike Maccagnan’s draft picks. Concrete example ; Marcus Maye.
Security would have been extended in April if it were up to many of us. I wouldn’t have objected to a new contract myself, although I also didn’t think it was 100% necessary. After Maye’s agent started demanding huge sums of money, Douglas decided it was best to wait.
Just four weeks into the season it turned out to be a tremendous decision. First, it was announced that Maye would miss three to four weeks with an ankle injury. Then, on October 4, the real story came out. The 28-year-old faces charges in a hit-and-run accident while driving under the influence.
The kicker? The organization of the Jets apparently had no idea. If that’s true, that would certainly explain why his agent, Erik Burkhardt, has been trying to push the boundaries of this extension since early March.
Once again, Douglas’ bet pays off, and it’s not just luck. This and the other decisions not to extend were all wise choices by the Jets general manager, and I’ll explain why.
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Douglas puts character over talent
Time and time again, Maccagnan chose talent over character in his list moves. Gang Green needed more skills, so the former GM sacrificed teamwork and culture to get their hands on them. From the start, Douglas and Robert Saleh told us this was going to change.
After a deep dive into Maccagnan’s draft classes, I determined at least nine players (including Maye) who were eliminated for their off-field issues – and that doesn’t even take into account free agent signings. like Le’Veon Bell.
This list consists of Maye, Anderson, Jamal Adams, Chris Herndon, Darron Lee, ArDarius Stewart, Dylan Donahue, Jachai Polite and Chuma Edoga (the only one still on the list).
As I pointed out in the tweet above, each of these prospects have been involved in some sort of legal or locker room drama off the pitch.
There’s reason to believe Douglas would have avoided each of those players in the draft. High-character culture builders are always at the top of his list and these nine don’t fit those metrics at all. Only a few of those players have been seriously considered for overtime, but I would say Douglas made the right choice for every decision to pass.
From his legal background, getting involved with Anderson was a risk I wanted to avoid. Instead, Douglas signed Corey Davis a year later for less money (Carolina just gave his WR a raise), and he currently has more receiving yards than Anderson in 2021.
Herndon has yet to catch a pass since joining the Minnesota Vikings, and Douglas was able to secure a fourth round for him (while sending a sixth in return).
Then there’s Adams, whose departure rewarded the Jets with two first-round picks and a third. So far, the loot has matched Alijah Vera-Tucker, but the second first round is still on the way in 2022. The Seattle Seahawks have mortgaged their future on Adams and at the moment they have nothing to show.
One player I left out was Leonard Williams. The former first-round pick was a model teammate and played well for the New York Giants, but he’s never played like that for Gang Green. It was the right decision to trade him back then because the Jets were rebuilding themselves, and it’s not like Big Blue won anything with him.
As for Darnold, the jury is still out. He started 3-0 with the Panthers, but he wasn’t asked to do much. In his first game without Christian McCaffrey, he lost and threw two interceptions with a rating of 85.5 QB. Also, part of the decision to leave Darnold was based on restarting the financial window at quarterback.
I expect this extension drought to end once Douglas’s signings and draft picks are ready for new contracts. Defensive end John Franklin-Myers would be a good place to start.
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