Most Jets fans were clear about their desire for the team to go 0-16 once it was clear the 2020 season was going nowhere. They were dreaming of the No. 1 pick in the draft and Clemson star Trevor Lawrence. Then, the Jets pulled off a 23-20 shocking win over the Rams on Dec. 20 and the No. 1 pick went to Jacksonville.
Players and coaches celebrated. Fans fumed. But what about general manager Joe Douglas who would have been the one making that selection of Lawrence?
“I was happy for these guys,” Douglas said Tuesday. “These guys never backed down. The week before we had flown out to Seattle and that was a bad one. Your thought process was: how are these guys going to respond? Flying back out to the West Coast, playing a great team in the LA Rams and basically leading from start to finish, I was so proud of the way these guys battled. They never backed down. I know just being in the locker room just how much joy and excitement there was in these guys. There was no one on this team, no one in this organization that wanted to go 0-16 and have that scarlet letter on their résumé for the rest of their career.”
That win makes Douglas’ job harder this offseason. Instead of the easy decision of taking Lawrence, he now must weigh whether to take a quarterback at No. 2 like Justin Fields or Zach Wilson or stick with Sam Darnold.
Jets CEO and chairman Christopher Johnson said Monday the team is looking for a coach to run the entire team, a “CEO” type coach. But what if that coach wants control over personnel, too? That is currently Douglas’ domain.
“I think that’s a good question to ask Christopher,” Douglas said. “Ultimately, I think we’re looking for a great partner that’s going to come in here, work hand in hand. We’re going to lock arms and we’re going to try to turn this thing around together. I think that’s the quality we’re looking for.”
Johnson said Monday that the team would consider changing its organizational structure to have the new coach report to the GM rather than have them as equals reporting to ownership.
“To me, it’s about the person,” he said. “That doesn’t matter to me. I just want to hopefully attract the right person, the right leader into this job.”
Douglas said the team wants to bring back safety Marcus Maye, who can become a free agent in March. Douglas said it is a priority.
Douglas said he has not spoken to LB C.J. Mosley, who opted out of this season, but has four years remaining on the contract he signed with the Jets in 2019. Douglas said he will check in on Mosley soon.
Douglas on whether has any regrets about trading safety Jamal Adams to the Seahawks: “I’m happy that Jamal has an opportunity to compete in the playoffs. I wish him success. I would say we didn’t look in the rearview mirror once we made our decision on Jamal and we’re excited about what we were able to receive in the trade for him. Now it’s on us to go find the right players with the resources we acquired in the trade.”