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Many people think it’s a done deal . . .

I’m talking about Joe Douglas becoming the Jets’ GM.

One league source told us yesterday he’s already assembling a staff.

11 days ago, ESPN Richmond, a sports talk station in Virginia, tweeted, “Sources indicate Eagles VP of Player Personnel & former Richmond Spider Joe Douglas is close to completing a deal to become the next GM of the Jets. Douglas has a close relationship with Jets’ HC Adam Gase.”

People would be foolish to ignore this report just because it’s from a small market radio station. Douglas grew up in Richmond and played football at the University of Richmond. People at this station know him well.

Long-time Eagles insider Howard Eskin tweeted on May 24, “I’m told unless Jets give Douglas final say on players the Eagles would not let him go and Joe Douglas would not take the job.”

Well, the Jets’ job includes final say on players, so that isn’t a problem.

So what’s taking so long?

Well, first of all, the Jets have to fulfill the Rooney Rule, that requires teams interview a minority candidate for head coaching and GM jobs.

Douglas is white, so they must interview a minority candidate before they can hire him. The Jets have requested an interview with Chicago Bears executive Champ Kelly, who is African-American. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer announced that Kelly has accepted the interview request. Breer also announced that it’s possible that Kelly could be on Douglas’ staff if Douglas gets the GM job.

Kelly seems one interview cycle away from getting a GM job.

Also, if the Jets hired Douglas right after they fired Maccagnan, it would have looked like the fix was in, and Gase and Douglas had the whole thing set-up. So theoretically, the Jets could have a “wink-wink” agreement with Douglas, but they have to go through the motions, not only to oblige the Rooney Rule, but not make it look like Gase and Douglas stabbed Maccagnan in the back.

To me, this search is Douglas or bust.

No other candidate really makes sense.

The GM has to be somebody who Gase knows and likes from his past. This might sound like appeasement, but that isn’t how I look at it. I look at it as dealing with reality. It would be inviting trouble to bring in a stranger to Gase, like Scott Fitterer (Seattle) or George Paton (Minnesota), and have that guy tell the temperamental coach who his players are going to be. That would be a recipe for disaster.

As we have mentioned before this set-up is very unusual, where you have a coach in place, and then the team looks to hire a GM who has control of the roster.

So, to me, the only way this works, is with Douglas, who Gase knows, and likes, and won’t resent (as much) having that power.

And honestly, perhaps the fix is in, and the Jets already know it’s going to be Douglas, but are taking their time to make it look less like a Gase-Douglas coup, and also to fulfill the Rooney Rule.

May 28, 2019

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Dan Leberfeld
Dan Leberfeld
Publisher of Jets Confidential Magazine. Call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4) to subscribe. Co-host of Press Coverage every Saturday on SiriusXM NFL Radio from 11-2.

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