As the Jets search for a new General Manager, one question becomes whether and to what extent interim G.M. Adam Gase will surrender control over the roster when a new G.M. arrives. Another question becomes whether and to what extent he needs to.
The fact that the Jets have requested permission to interview at least four executives currently under contract with other teams implies that the job entails enough responsibility to permit the hire to be made; otherwise, the requests could be (and likely would be) summarily denied.
The relevant league policy requires that, in order to hire an executive under contract with another team, the Jets offer “the primary authority over all personnel decisions related to the signing of free agents, the selection of players in the College Draft, trades, and related decisions; and . . . the primary responsibility for coordinating other football activities with the head coach.”
The policy also includes this important language: “Final authority regarding the composition of the 53-player roster is not a requirement.”
This means that the Jets can hire an executive under contract with another team without offering full control over the 53-man roster. As long as the job includes “primary authority” over the signing of free agents, the draft, trades, and other personnel decisions and “primary responsibility for coordinating other football activities with the head coach,” that’s enough.
Basically, the paperwork needs to simply give the G.M. the requisite powers in writing. Whether “primary authority” means that the G.M. will have, hold, and use the ability to do whatever he wants without regard to what the coach or anyone else thinks doesn’t matter. Nine years ago, Vikings coach Brad Childress had the primary authority over the roster, allowing him to fire receiver Randy Moss on a whim. Doing so without properly consulting with others in the organization (including ownership) greased the skids for Childress’ own firing not long thereafter.
Then there’s the 2008 Dolphins and 2009 Browns. In the former example, Miami hired G.M. Jeff Ireland away from the Cowboys, even though it was widely believed that V.P. of football operations Bill Parcells was calling the shots. In the latter, Cleveland pilfered George Kokinis from Baltimore, giving him authority in writing that coach Eric Mangini had as a practical matter.
None of this stops the Jets from giving control over the 53-man roster to the G.M. Gase has made it clear that he doesn’t want it, and there’s a decent chance he means it. The overriding question continues to be whether the new G.M. will be someone who wants to work with Gase, or whether it is someone who walks through the door with a short list in hand of coaches the G.M. wants to hire, sooner or later.
If that’s the case, the Jets are destined to endure more dysfunction, until the G.M. finally gets to hire one of the coaches found on that short list.