By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor
You could ask any Eagles fan who Howie Roseman is and they will almost certainly know the Eagles General Manager.
Roseman gets a lot of credit. He is the man making the calls. The one on the phones who completes all the trades the Eagles make and agreeing to contracts with the players. He also manages the salary cap and makes the Eagles selections during the draft.
There is another major player in the Eagles front office, however. One who played a key role in the way that the team makes player acquisitions to ensure a cohesive locker room culture: Vice President of Player Personnel Joe Douglas.
Douglas spent 16 seasons in the Baltimore Ravens personnel department and one season as the Chicago Bears' Director of College Scouting prior to his joining the Eagles in 2016.
The move went unnoticed by many casual fans, as front office moves tend to, but it directly lead to the Eagles' lone Super Bowl Championship as Douglas worked with Roseman to identify key players who had the skill, demeanor and leadership to succeed. A primary example of this was the team trading for Tim Jernigan prior to the 2017 season.
Why bring this up now?
On Wednesday, the New York Jets fired general manager Mike Maccagnan. Obviously, they will need a replacement. Among the early favorites is Joe Douglas, who has previous connections to new Jets head coach Adam Gase.
Eagles’ vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas is close to Jets’ HC Adam Gase and has been discussed in league circles for a while now as the potential GM for the NYJ.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 15, 2019
The Eagles are not going to get rid of Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas is as high up the chain as he can be without taking on the general manager role. At least outside the Eagles organization, the consensus has been that it is not a question of if Douglas will leave, but when. The team would certainly like to keep him on board, but much like the situation with Carson Wentz and Nick Foles, you cannot give both the top job. Roseman is the entrenched GM and if Douglas wants his shot, he will need to find a new organization.
While an opportunity to move up to GM may have presented itself in New York, the situation may not be to Douglas' liking.
The Jets are not a good team. It isn't often that a good team has a GM vacancy, but they have made the job even less appealing to potential candidates by creating the vacancy now.
The Jets allowed Mike Maccagnan to spend huge money in free agency on just three players for the next three to five seasons. The team still has plenty of cap room because the roster is very young, but it could become a major problem if you have a few lineman come off of their rookie deals that you'd like to re-sign, but you have $45 million tied up in a running back, linebacker and an average receiver. Those aren't the most ideal spots to allocate money to, especially for someone like Joe Douglas.
That doesn't even mention that the running back they signed was Le'Veon Bell. The team signed him to a four-year, $52.5 million contract. Reports are that Jets head coach Adam Gase did not want Bell and Bell spent the entire 2018 season out of football and tearing apart the Steelers locker room. Surely that is the kind of situation a guy as high on locker room culture as Joe Douglas is looking to get in to.
Speaking of Adam Gase, the head coach was just hired this offseason by Maccagnan. He had been fired by the Dolphins earlier this offseason. It would be like Howie Roseman firing Doug Pederson to hire a coach that was recently fired by the Cowboys. Then the Eagles fired Howie Roseman.
Not only that, but the Jets waited until after the draft to fire Maccagnan, meaning the new GM has essentially nothing to do with the team they field in 2019. It would be a new GM with the previous GM's draft picks, coaches and free agents.
The Jets may very well offer Douglas the GM job, but Eagles fans should hope that the Jets have made it such an unattractive situation that they can hang on to Douglas for a longer time. That or Douglas gives up the chance at a higher salary and more personal fame.
Stay tuned to see how this situation unfolds.
UPDATE (05/31/2019): After two weeks of speculation, Albert Breer of the NFL Network is reporting that Joe Douglas will report interview for the open GM position on Sunday, June 2.
Sources: Eagles VP of player personnel Joe Douglas will interview for the Jets GM job on Sunday.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) May 31, 2019
The consensus seems to be that if the Jets were to offer Douglas the job, Douglas would accept.
The Jets have additional interviews setup with Bears Assistant Director of Player Personnel Champ Kelly and Seahawks Co-Director of Player Personnel Scott Fitterer. The team has requested an interview with Saints Director of Pro Scouting Terry Fontenot and was turned down by Vikings Assistant General Manager George Paton. That means Douglas appears to be one of just three or four candidates for the position at this time.