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Since last week's shocking announcement that general manager Mike Maccagnan was relieved of his duties, head coach Adam Gase has been handling personnel duties as the Jets' interim general manager. While it was initially assumed Gase would merely be a placeholder for the new guy because the position would be filled hastily, he's already made a series of moves in that role.
Nobody is quite sure what to expect next. Should we be reading anything into these moves and what they might mean for the roster he'll be working with, the same roster Maccagnan's replacement is set to inherit?
Gase wasted no time in making his first move, as the Jets finalized a trade sending former first-rounder Darron Lee to the Kansas City Chiefs for a late-round pick. Since then, he's also brought in punter Matt Darr and wide receiver Deonte Thompson - both of whom have played for him in the past - and released two players. It was also reported that a scout who worked under Maccagnan - Bill Dekraker - was relieved of his duties.
While it would make for a great story if Gase immediately started haphazardly making significant moves as if drunk with power, the moves made seem to represent standard offseason roster operations, if you break them down. Gase, who has publicly downplayed reports of a power struggle, has so far mostly just been making moves that any front office would at this stage of the offseason.
With the Jets having just taken the field for their first Organized Team Activities following the draft, there's inevitably going to be some churn at the bottom end of the roster, and moves such as these would typically be driven by the coaching staff anyway.
For example, the Jets released rookie receiver Xavier Ubosi - who had been claimed just last week from New England - and replaced him with a receiver Gase is familiar with in Thompson. Skeptics might see this as Gase dumping one of Maccagnan's rookie pick-ups to replace with one of "his guys" but the reality of the situation is likely more mundane.
It's not uncommon for a player that hits the waiver wire to get brought in for a quick look and then moved on if they don't make an immediate impression. Having already been waived by New England, it seems likely Ubosi has been unable to convince the coaches he can compete at this level. As for the 30-year old Thompson, as someone Gase has worked with in the past, he's probably been on the Jets' watchlist for some time as an option to bring in at some point to see whether he has anything left.
Parting ways with two former Maccagnan draft picks in Lee and TE Jordan Leggett has proved more controversial and viewed as a sign that Gase was unimpressed with some of Maccagnan's additions.
The Jets probably felt six tight ends was too many to begin their offseason fieldwork with, although selecting Leggett as the odd man out was perhaps a move Maccagnan might not have made, so in that case perhaps Gase was putting his stamp on the roster.
Leggett, who made some progress last year, especially as a blocker, had a reputation for being lazy early on in his college career. If he's retained any of those traits, then he could the kind of player Gase might look to make an example of.
The timing of the Lee deal was surprising, but it makes sense if the Jets had been planning to move him before the team began their on-field program. They might have delayed matters in a fruitless effort to try for a greater return, but ultimately this may have been a deal that was close to happening anyway, with or without Maccagnan.
Bringing in punter Matt Darr as a "camp leg" was more of a practical move as well, and again the timing made sense. He's unlikely to challenge Lac Edwards - another Maccagnan draft pick - for the punter role, but teams prefer to have more than one punter during the offseason so that they can optimize the number of reps for their return men, and also as injury cover. Again, bringing in someone with whom Gase has familiarity for such a role makes sense.
The long-term ramifications of these moves so far are unlikely to be particularly significant, although if the general manager search stretches out over several weeks or even a few months, then Gase's fingerprints could end up all over the bottom half of the roster. Ultimately, though, this won't be a major problem as long as he's not making moves that the incoming general manager would have preferred not to.