Johnson Says No Mandate For Playoffs In '18 After Jets Extend Bowles, Maccagnan
NFL Jets Chair & CEO Christopher Johnson yesterday said there is “no mandate” to make the postseason in '18 after giving coach Todd Bowles and GM Mike Maccagnan two-year extensions that keep both under contract through '20, according to Daniel Popper of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Johnson said, "I want to get to the playoffs. I want to build a team with Mike and Todd that can compete for the playoffs every year, and that can’t happen fast enough. But there’s no mandate." Johnson "pointed out the 'really difficult situation' Bowles inherited this season, after Maccagnan chopped the Jets’ payroll last offseason by cutting a slew of highly paid veterans." Earlier this season, Johnson said that he "would not judge Bowles based on wins and losses." And he "stayed true to that statement" by giving Bowles an extension. The Jets finished 5-11 and lost nine of their final 11 games, but Johnson "spoke fondly of the locker room cohesion Bowles cultivated." However, Johnson "would not explicitly state that his evaluation process will change" in '18. Johnson said that he "did not consult" on the extensions with his brother, Jets Owner Woody Johnson, who is serving as U.S. ambassador to the U.K. (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/3). In Newark, Connor Hughes notes Christopher Johnson "apparently has no problem with the slow-and-steady team-building approach." He said that he "wants year-after-year success," but added that it "takes time." This year, he "saw signs the Jets are headed in the right direction." Johnson said that he "determined early in the season he wanted everyone back, and never wavered throughout the year" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 1/3).
NO MORE ROOM FOR EXCUSES? In New Jersey, Andy Vasquez notes the Jets indicated they will be a "major player in free agency. " Maccagnan said, "We'll be very active. I do think we have a lot of potential to improve this team going forward." The team is "expected to have" nearly $100M of cap space. But while Johnson "indicated the Jets will be willing to spend, they will be thoughtful about it." Johnson: "We're never going to mortgage our future. We'll be active in free agency, but it's only going to be adding pieces that can be with us for a good long time" (Bergen RECORD, 1/3). In N.Y., Mark Cannizzaro writes mediocrity "must no longer be celebrated," and wins and losses "must be the primary measuring stick." Once the Jets use that salary-cap money to build on their core roster, they "no longer should be viewed as the little train that could as they were this season." Legitimate pursuit of a first playoff berth in eight years "must be the standard now." With Woody Johnson gone from day-to-day operations, Christopher "has the keys to the rig." Yesterday he "waxed poetic about how much he’s loved the job, calling it 'the world’s greatest gig.'" Johnson: "Despite a five-win season, I’m having the time of my life" (N.Y. POST, 1/3).