FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — After a season in which three players complained publicly about being mistreated by the organization, New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas said Tuesday that one of his offseason priorities is to create a better relationship between players and management.
“Honestly, we’ve had open and honest conversations,” Douglas said at his end-of-season news conference. “One of the things I can tell you is that communication is going to be a big thing that we improve on in the offseason.
“That’s going to be on me. That’s going to be on everybody. That’s going to be a big thing moving forward for the entire organization.”
For various reasons, wide receiver Quincy Enunwa, safety Jamal Adams and former guard Kelechi Osemele ripped the organization on social media. The issue went beyond those three. One source said “many” players felt there was a lack of communication under first-year coach Adam Gase.
One issue was a video board in the team room that posted player fines. In November, Enunwa went on a Twitter rant, saying he learned on the video board that he was fined $27,900 for missing two mandatory rehab sessions for a neck injury. He called the fine “excessive” and said it could’ve been handled better.
“We were able to sit down and have the conversation with each player [who was fined],” Douglas said.
Gase also posted fines in the team room when he was the Miami Dolphins‘ coach, a source said. The objective is to create accountability, but it irks some players because they feel it should be handled privately.
The Enunwa incident, sources said, shined a light on the communication issue and might have been a turning point.
“I don’t feel bad about it,” Enunwa said Monday of his Twitter response. “Sometimes you have to do things out of your comfort zone to create change.”
In October, Osemele blasted the organization and filed an injury grievance, sparking an ugly battle that resulted in his being released after he underwent shoulder surgery without the team’s consent. A few days later, Adams was critical of Douglas, saying the GM shopped him at the trade deadline even though he was told that wouldn’t happen.
Touching on other subjects, Douglas said he wasn’t happy with the 7-9 record but hopes to use the 6-2 finish as “a launch pad” into 2020. Addressing personnel questions:
• Douglas didn’t rule out the possibility of trading Adams and running back Le’Veon Bell. Reiterating his policy, he said, “Like I said, if teams do call, I’m going to listen. How those conversations go, I can’t speak to that. That’s hypothetical. When teams call, I will listen.”
• Douglas declined to comment on Bell’s disappointing season but added, “The goal is for Le’Veon next year to have more production on the field.” He called Adams an “amazing player,” but he wouldn’t say if he’s interested in signing Adams to a contract extension.
• Quarterback Sam Darnold received a strong vote of confidence. Douglas praised his toughness, saying, “Not many guys faced more adversity than Sam as far as dealing with the mono and some rough patches during the year. The respect that Sam has earned from everyone in this building, especially the locker room … is really impressive to see.”