Before this crucial offseason began for the Jets, GM Mike Maccagnan knew he was on the hot seat. That is why we saw him shell out roughly $191 million to land some of the top free agents on the market with RB Le'Veon Bell leading the pack.
Then, came the NFL Draft. The Jets didn't have a lot of capital this season, but they still possessed the No. 3 overall pick. Maccagnan wasn't shy in saying the pick was up for sale, but they would keep it in their pocket and select possibly the safest pick in the class in Alabama DT Quinnen Williams -- a player that is going to be at the top of Defensive Rookie of the Year ballots to start the season.
Through his free-agent pickups and a solid draft class, it looked like Maccagnan was on the right path to turning around not only the franchise, but thoughts about his job security.
It just wasn't enough.
Jets owner Christopher Johnson made the call on Wednesday to rid the team of Maccagnan's direction as general manager, and VP of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger was also shown the door in the process.
So does this mean the reports that stated a rift between Maccagnan and new head coach Adam Gase, who will assume the role as interim GM while the Jets search for a new one, true? Johnson spoke to the media on Wednesday to say there wasn't a "power struggle," but instead, he just didn't see the connection he wanted between his GM and coach.
"This had nothing to do with Adam. I want a good give-and-take between our GM and coach," Johnson said. "This was not one person or another winning a power struggle. This was completely my decision.
"I think there was very good synergy (between Maccagnan and Gase), but it was not everything that I was hoping for. I made the decision I want to find a better fit for this building."
But why now? How could Johnson allow Maccagnan to make these moves knowing this offseason was vital for the Jets short- and long-term future, and let him go right after it's complete?
Johnson had made the call after the final game of last season that Todd Bowles was finished as head coach, but he needed to do more of a "deep dive" on Maccagnan's front.
"This isn't a decision I could have made at the end of the season," Johnson said. "I could with Todd. I could not with Mike."
Johnson explained how his decision "evolved" into letting Maccagnan go after he began sitting in free-agent and Draft meetings to get a better feel of what his role was. He "understood more fully" what Maccagnan was doing, and ultimately didn't believe his process was what he wanted to see from his GM.
Now comes finding his replacement, and Johnson believes it will certainly be a job of intrigue.
"I think this is going to be a real attractive job," he said. "I don't think we're going to have any trouble finding a good GM here. I think this is an excellent spot."
The Jets have already been linked to Eagles VP of player personnel, Joe Douglas. Though Johnson says this has nothing to do with Gase or Maccagnan, it's no coincidence the leading candidate is "Gase's guy, a league source told SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.
Douglas was the director of college scouting with the Bears in 2015, the same year Gase was the team's offensive coordinator. He also helped construct the Eagles' Super Bowl-winning roster two seasons ago.
So is he the "strategic thinker" Johnson wants to lead the way? It certainly seems like he would have the synergy with Gase, but that isn't the only quality Johnson will need to see from Maccagnan's replacement.
"There's more to a job of being a GM than just adding great players," he said.
And that shows with Maccagnan packing up his things in Florham Park. He brought in the Jets' franchise quarterback in Sam Darnold. He gave him Bell and Jamison Crowder to work with. He bolstered the defense with Williams, LB CJ Mosley and CB Brian Poole, while re-signing the co-sack leader of 2018 in Henry Anderson.
But at the end of the day, the cohesiveness with Gase wasn't there. And with Maccagnan's job status under question up until this point, it seemed like the last straw for the Jets, a team that doesn't want anymore disfunction during his rebuild.
It's now be up to Gase to make sure it's smooth sailing from here. It's his team now, and Johnson will hope everyone -- from the new players to the new GM -- will buy in.