In a stunning move, the New York Jets fired general manager Mike Maccagnan and vice president of personnel Brian Heimerdinger on Wednesday.
Coach Adam Gase will be the interim general manager while an immediate search begins for a replacement, CEO Christopher Johnson said in a statement.
“Mike helped to execute the strategic vision of the organization during the last four seasons and especially the past few months,” Johnson said in the statement. “However, I came to the decision to make a change after much thought and a careful assessment of what would be in the best long-term interests of the New York Jets.”
The shake-up comes amid reports of internal discord in the organization. ESPN was one of a few outlets to report during the draft that friction had developed between Maccagnan and Gase because of disagreements over personnel during free agency.
Both men denied that a rift had developed in their relationship, but sources said Johnson was so concerned that he began spending more time at the Jets’ facility to monitor the Gase-Maccagnan relationship.
The Jets went 10-6 in their first season under Maccagnan and former coach Todd Bowles in 2015, but the team has struggled through three consecutive losing seasons since. Bowles was fired after posting a 4-12 record last season.
Maccagnan had significant input into the hiring of Gase. That’s why the timing of Wednesday’s move is shocking.
Johnson empowered Maccagnan to spend more than $125 million in guaranteed money in free agency, then let him use the No. 3 pick in the draft on defensive tackle Quinnen Williams.
Philadelphia Eagles executive Joe Douglas, who has ties to Gase, could be a leading candidate for the GM job.
Before joining the Jets, Maccagnan had spent 14 seasons with the Houston Texans.