FLORHAM PARK, NJ - There are two definitions of the word stealth, the first is as a noun and is defined as "cautious and surreptitious action or movement" and the second is as an adjective "(chiefly of aircraft) designed in accordance with technology that makes detection by radar or sonar difficult." We can now add a third definition and that would simply be a picture of the Jets GM Mike Maccagnan.
When Maccagnan shocked both Jets and national reporters by striking a last minute deal with Muhammad Wilkerson we all took notice at how impressive it was that, not only a deal got made but it was made when no one outside of One Jets Drive saw it coming. When news broke yesterday that the Jets had re-signed Ryan Fitzpatrick it wasn't quite as surprising as the Wilkerson deal because most expected Fitzpatrick would eventually sign but as late as yesterday morning reports were that the standoff would last into training camp and the two sides were still far apart. My immediate thought when learning of the Fitzpatrick signing was, 'man we dubbed the wrong man that ninja."
When former Jets GM John Idzik started his brief tenure with the Jets, #JetsTwitter took to calling him "Idzik the ninja" and it was appropriate at the time and also, inarguably, an awesome nickname, but we all know how the rest of his time in Florham Park went and that's why he only lasted two years. I felt like saying the nickname should be repurposed for Maccagnan, but you can't repurpose the nickname of a failing GM (even if I still believe he was working on a long-term plan that he never got the chance to complete so on one hand calling him a failure sounds harsh but on the other hand if you get fired after two years it's hard to avoid the failure label) to the new GM, that's just bad juju.
So Maccagnan deserves his own nickname, one that's not a constant reminder of failure, I'm admittedly very hit or miss with nicknames so I will leave this up to #JetsTwitter to decide on a better one, but for now I'm going to go with 'Stealth Mode Macc.' If that's too long we could go with an even more appropriate stealth mode related nickname, one of a stealth mode jet, F-22.
"The F-22 boasts a number of stealth properties, including a precisely engineered airframe with fixed-geometry serpentine inlets, which reduce visibility. It was also built with radar-absorbent material, and has a low radio emissions, reduced infrared and acoustic signatures and even a lower visibility to the naked human eye."
A number of stealth properties? Check. Reduced visibility? Check. Low radio emissions? Check. Mike Maccagnan is the F-22 of NFL GM's. Us silly reporters keep trying to guess and predict what the man will do, when and where he will strike, but we can't find him on the radar until he decides to come down and grace us with a glimpse of his presence and even then he puts his evasive maneuvers on full display.
He shocked us all by signing Wilkerson to a long-term deal and he managed to do so with a team-friendly deal that maintains future flexibility, no one saw the signing of Matt Forte and we can't forget the 'thieves in the night' style robbery of the Chicago Bears by trading for Brandon Marshall last year or how immediately after the retirement of D'Brickashaw Ferguson Maccagnan swung a trade for Ryan Clady.
The re-signing of Fitzpatrick wasn't a total win for Maccagnan, he had to up his offer a bit. In fact the deal they settled on was a deal Fitzpatrick had asked for in April.
So Maccagnan had to pay a little more than he wanted, but it's still only a one-year deal so it's an acceptable concession. It's also the safe play, Maccagnan could have rolled the dice with Geno Smith but if Smith faltered and the Jets season imploded Maccagnan would have gotten crushed. If Fitzpatrick fails to duplicate last year's success or has a noticeable drop in production - something that is fairly likely considering Fitzpatrick's career - no one will blame Maccagnan because the majority viewed this as a move that had to be made. Now it's up to Fitzpatrick because with this defense and the weapons surrounding Fitzpatrick on offense anything short of the playoffs, and probably at least one playoff win, can only be viewed as a failure and with the way this process dragged out that failure will likely be Fitzpatrick's to wear alone.
One thing is clear about Maccagnan by now, he is a man who works from the shadows, always ready to strike when we least expect it, and we should all really stop trying to predict his next move. Of course as reporters most of our job is to try and make predictions so that won't stop us, but it will certainly force me to admit I'm strictly guessing and any predictions on what he will or won't do next will be made with very little certainty.
Chris Nimbley is the editor-in-chief of JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)null