It did not take long for New York Jets interim general manager Adam Gase to make his first change.
Wednesday night's team agreed to send linebacker Darron Lee to the Kansas City Chiefs for a sixth-round pick in 2020, a ESPN source told Adam Schefter.
Gase inherited the power of the staff early Wednesday, when general manager Mike Maccagnan was fired after four seasons. Gase, hired in January as a coach, will serve as interim general manager until a new one is hired.
Maccagnan chose Lee in the first round of the 2016 draft. His days were counted as soon as the Jets signed center linebacker C.J. Mosley to an unprecedented contract in free agency. They tried to trade Lee during the NFL draft last month and then refused to exercise their fifth year option.
Lee was the No. 20 overall pick in the 2016 draft. It was a curious choice because, at 6-foot-1, 232 pounds, he looked small to play as a linebacker in the 3-4 defense. The training staff minimized the size factor and said it fit the growing trend of fast linebackers who could play in space against the spread offensives.
The former Ohio State standout struggled in his first two seasons, especially against the race, but showed signs of improvement in 2018. He made three interceptions, the first three of his career, including one for a touchdown.
Lee felt he had played well enough to earn Pro Bowl status, but his season came to an abrupt end after game 12 when he received a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy. He still has to comment publicly on the matter.
Due to the suspension, Lee's base salary of $ 1.84 million in 2019 is no longer fully guaranteed because, as a rule, the guarantee was canceled. The Jets had no intention of exercising their fifth year option by 2020, which would have been an estimated $ 10 million.
|2019||3.||DT Quinnen Williams|
|2018||3.||QB Sam Darnold|
|2017||6||S Jamal Adams **|
|2016||twenty.||LB Darron Lee *|
|2015||6||DE Leonard Williams **|
|* Changed to the bosses|
|** Pro Bowler|
In the minds of the Jets, Lee became expendable when they signed Mosley with a five-year, $ 85 million contract in free agency. Mosley will replace Avery Williamson, who will slide to Lee's former spot, the position of the weak inside linebacker.
Williamson's salary of $ 8 million is guaranteed, and there was no chance they would eat that much money. In three seasons, Lee started 36 of 40 games, compiling four sacks, two forced fumbles and no recovery of fumbles.
Lee became the first of the first-round recruits from Maccagnan to be expelled from the list. The other four, defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, quarterback Sam Darnold, savior Jamal Adams and defensive end Leonard Williams, were the top six selected.
In Kansas City, Lee should have the opportunity to play.
The Chiefs, with one of the worst defensive teams in the NFL last season, have undergone a dramatic overhaul on that side of the ball. Among the changes is the defensive system 4-3.
At least one of the initial linebacking posts is in play after the Chiefs exchanged one of the headlines from last year in Dee Ford and launched another in Justin Houston. Anthony Hitchens, a free agent addition last year, and Damien Wilson, who signed this year, are two of the starters. Third place is at stake, and that's where Lee could see it.
The Chiefs also have Reggie Ragland, who started 15 games last season, and Dorian O & # 39; Daniel, who was selected in the third round last season.
Adam Teicher of ESPN contributed to this report.