Jets’ Joe Douglas Listed Amongst Least Trusted GMs by NFL Agents

Joe Douglas

Getty New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas watches practice on July 30, 2021.

Do you ever wonder what the NFL’s most influential player agents think about your favorite franchise?

Is there mutual respect? Hatred? Even fear? It’s an intriguing concept, one that’s no doubt crossed the minds of a New York Jets fan or two over the years.

Well, if you were wondering about current general manager Joe Douglas, or find yourself interested now that we mention it, Ben Standig of The Athletic surveyed 33 NFL agents on GMs around the league and the answers came with mixed results.

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Douglas Distrusted by Certain Player Agents

Here was the exact question that stood out from Standig: “Among GMs or front-office leaders, whom do you trust the least?”

Douglas didn’t win this honor outright — Philadelphia Eagles GM Howie Roseman and Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots still wear the crown — but the comments on ‘J.D.’ were not totally encouraging either.

The Jets GM received three votes from player agents for least trustworthy in the NFL. The reasoning from two of them was listed in the article anonymously. Below were the exact quotes.

  • “The [Jets’] organization is so bad, it’s hard to trust anything that comes out of there.”
  • “Part of that is just his circumstances with ownership, but they’ve told multiple players things in the last couple of years that just haven’t been true.”

The second reason is more impactful than the first because it appears that Douglas is earning a reputation with certain NFL agents. In theory, that could affect free agency down the line, as well as any situation where a player may choose between the Jets and another franchise.

Recent contract negotiations like Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Robby Anderson, Jamison Crowder and more have not gone the players’ way under Douglas’ regime. These moves have mostly worked out tremendously for the Jets so far, but is this unforeseen side effect going to become a problem long-term?

There were plenty of reasons that I was against a Maye extension this summer but there was one major reason that I supported it — locker room morale.

Not only is the safety a team leader, I felt an extension would have acted as a signal to other players on the roster that homegrown talents can be rewarded by Douglas and the Jets.

In the case of Maye, the opposite may have occurred. It doesn’t help that Roseman (seven votes) was one of Douglas’ mentors in Philadelphia before he became the Gang Green boss.

For what it’s worth, the Jets GM did receive one vote in three other categories both good and bad; “2021 best offseason, 2021 most disappointing offseason and best overall GM period.”

Assistant general manager Rex Hogan and director of pro personnel Greg Nejmeh were also listed as top candidates for future GM hires. Both were stars of the docuseries Flight 2021: An Offseason with the New York Jets.

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Douglas’ Highs & Lows on the Job

Many Jets fans have a polarizing opinion of their current GM. He’s either God’s greatest gift to the NFL or a joke that’ll be fired in three years.

The truth is, Douglas’ performance actually lands somewhere in the middle.

Part-owner Christopher Johnson totally screwed up his arrival, allowing former GM Mike Maccagnan to spend the franchise’s entire cap space in free agency and operate the draft in 2019. A short time after, he was fired based on his decisions.

Rumor has it that former head coach Adam Gase had a ton to do with Maccagnan’s demise. The two did not see eye to eye on the majority of his big moves in 2019 and the new HC had the owner’s ear at the time.

After doing away with Maccagnan, Gase held a bulk of the power during Douglas’ first year and change on the job. That impacted the 2020 draft, in particular, but it also influenced free-agent acquisitions.

You can tell that the Jets have drafted totally different under Douglas-Gase and Douglas-Robert Saleh just two seasons apart. Some of the GM’s least successful picks so far were scheme fits for the previous HC (James Morgan, Cameron Clark, La’Mical Perine, and even Denzel Mims). Breshad Perriman and Pierre Desir could also qualify as bust free-agent signings.

Saleh and Mike LaFleur’s scheme fits have appeared to have much more positive results, including Corey Davis, Carl Lawson (before injury), Sheldon Rankins, Elijah Moore, Keelan Cole, Michael Carter, Tevin Coleman, Lamarcus Joyner, Michael Carter II, Brandin Echols, Hamsah Nasirildeen, Jamien Sherwood and Jonathan Marshall among others.

It’s true, there have been mistakes, especially with injuries. Lawson is gone, along with Vinny Curry and Jarrad Davis (part of the season). Some may debate that these injury-prone candidates should have been avoided, but that’s a tough argument to make. Injuries are unpredictable and unrelenting most times.

Overall, Douglas has proven that he is a competent draft scout who has a propensity for finding high value via the trade and waiver markets. He’s also been steadfast and unwavering in his core beliefs, building through the draft and the trenches.

His two free-agent classes have been a problem area so far and his disciplined negotiating tactics have yielded pros and cons. The Jets are loaded with cap space and draft capital in 2022 and beyond, and they believe to have found their franchise quarterback in Zach Wilson.

The next two or three seasons will determine whether or not Douglas is the answer or just another pretender.

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