Hours after the Jets fired general manager Mike Maccagnan and named coach Adam Gase as the acting GM, Gase, who was hired in January, sent linebacker Darron Lee to the Chiefs for a 2020 sixth-round pick, according to several reports.
SI.com’s Albert Breer reports that the Jets and Chiefs had been discussing a trade for weeks but couldn’t agree on the compensation; Maccagnon wanted a fifth-round pick but Gase was willing to settle for a sixth-rounder.
The move comes almost two weeks after the Jets declined Lee’s fifth-year option, which meant that instead of paying the 2016 first-rounder $9.5 million in 2020, Lee would make $1.8 million this season and would become a free agent next March. Either way, Patrick Mahomes was excited to hear Lee was coming to Kansas City.
Lee ranked 24th among all linebackers last season, according to Pro Football Focus, but he was much better against the pass than the run. He made 12 appearances in ’18 but was suspended the final four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. With the Chiefs, Lee will have an opportunity to play alongside Anthony Hitchens, who signed a five-year, $45 million deal last year.
The Lee trade comes on the heels of a report that Gase and Maccagnan didn’t see eye to eye on some personnel matters, including Maccagnan’s decision to sign Le’Veon Bell to a four-year, $52.5 million deal with $27 million guaranteed. In terms of average annual salary, that makes the 27-year-old the NFL‘s second-highest paid running back behind Todd Gurley.
Jets CEO and chairman Christopher Johnson explained to reporters Wednesday what the team is looking for in its next general manager.
“I want to find somebody that just looking forward, not talking about Mike [Maccagnan] here, I want a great strategic thinker,” he said, via the New York Post. “It’s more than a talent-evaluation guy. I want a great manager, a communicator, who can collaborate well with the building. I’m convinced we’re going to find that person.”