Adam Gase was less than 12 hours into his reign as Jets interim general manager when the Jets’ full-time head coach pulled the trigger on his first trade, sending linebacker Darron Lee to the Kansas City Chiefs for a 2020 sixth-round pick.
Lee was the 20th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, a pick overseen by former Jets GM Mike Maccagnan, who was fired yesterday. Lee had wowed people at the NFL combine with a blazing 4.43 40-yard dash, but hasn’t done much since joining the Jets, accumulating only four sacks and 17 tackles for loss.
Maccagnan had, reportedly, been trying to trade Lee for a fifth-round pick. Enter Gase and the terms changed quickly, as the coach side of him was clearly not interested in keeping him on the roster as a GM. Albert Breer has the full report.
So Gase clearly felt Lee’s value was lower than Maccagnan and was willing to take less compensation for a guy Maccagnan, at one point, thought was worth a first-round pick. That gives us a good view into the inner workings and power struggle of the New York Jets and a clear example of why Maccagnan is out.
The bigger question, however, is did Gase make the right move trading Lee? After all, he is the Jets new (interim) GM and he’ll have to make roster decisions like this until someone else is hired. For Jets fans, it would be nice to know they have someone competent running their team, no matter how incompetent the Jets looked by firing their GM after the NFL Draft and free agency–not before.
The Chiefs need linebacker help and Lee, presumably, will compete for a starting job against the likes of Dorian O’Daniel, Anthony Hitchens, Damien Wilson and Reggie Ragland. We know he’s fast and we know he can make plays (had an interception for a touchdown in 2018). We haven’t seen the consistency you’d want in a first-round pick, but he’s only 24 and still has room to grow.
Ultimately, time will tell who won this trade, but from the outside looking in, it feels like Gase pulled the trigger because he doesn’t like the player someone else drafted. That, of course, is influenced by what Gase saw in practice, and he knows more than me about it. But one thing is clear: Outside of Sam Darnold, if Maccagnan drafted or signed you, you’d better come to play, because Gase isn’t afraid to move onto the next chapter of the Jets franchise right now.