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Joe Douglas

General Manager

College: Richmond

Hometown: Mechanicsville, VA

Biography

Joe Douglas is in his third season as general manager of the New York Jets after being named to the position in June of 2019. Now in his 22nd season in the National Football League, Douglas, a three-time Super Bowl winning executive, continues to put his stamp on the organization.

Since taking the position, Douglas has shown that the search for players never stops. He has added starters and contributors in the NFL Draft and undrafted free agency, signed key free agents, both from the onset and throughout the year, and made steadying inseason moves via waiver claims and trades. Since his appointment just over two seasons ago, almost 90% of the roster was acquired or extended by him.

While turning over the roster, Douglas has improved the team's financial flexibility and added a number of draft assets, both by trading players with expiring contracts and draft-day deals. Through those deals, most notably the acquisition of two first round picks and a third-round pick for safety Jamal Adams, the Jets selected twice in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft and have multiple selections in the first and second rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft.

However, Vice Chairman Christopher Johnson's vision for Douglas was not just about the ability to construct a roster. "A general manager must be more than just a talent evaluator. He must be able to build and sustain a winning culture," Johnson said after announcing Douglas' hire. "That includes a commitment to collaboration and earning the trust of his colleagues."

Johnson's confidence in Douglas was on display as they, along with team President Hymie Elhai, led the search for the team's new coach. In hiring Robert Saleh, Johnson is confident that the first-year head coach will join with Douglas and Elhai to form the cohesive foundation that brings the Jets to their goal of a sustained, winning franchise.

"You better know what you're looking for and know what you're looking at."

That was advice Douglas recalled from his mentor, former Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome, and he has stayed true to his core principal that successful teams are built by people with the right level of commitment, character and competence, as Douglas looks to develop and sustain to what he characterizes as, "the best culture in sports."

For Douglas, roster construction isn't a quick fix. "Ultimately, I think when you look at successful organizations, no matter what the sport, you don't see a lot of teams that build long-term success by buying their way out of it," he said in 2020. "You see the teams, the organizations that have long-term success, they draft well, and they develop their players."

As part of that development and commitment to player health, safety and effectiveness, Douglas, with Coach Saleh, created the Athletic Care and Performance Department, aligning the team's athletic trainers, strength & conditioning staff as well as nutrition, rehab, and sport science staffs to better position players for success. Choosing Dr. Brad DeWeese to head the department, Douglas cited DeWeese's vision, insight, and strategic approach to maximize athletic care and performance, as well as his focus on speed and power.

In the 2021 NFL Draft, Douglas added 10 players to roster, most notably second-overall selection, Zach Wilson, and 14th-overall pick, Alijah Vera-Tucker, in the first round. In drafting Vera-Tucker, Douglas showed his aggressiveness, trading up nine spots in the first round for the "unique opportunity" to acquire what the team deemed a top 10 talent in that draft. Wilson and Vera-Tucker joined wide receiver Elijah Moore (second round) and running back Michael Carter (fourth round), as the team selected offensive players with their first four draft picks for the first time since 1983. With their remaining six choices, the Jets targeted defensive players at all three levels: Michael Carter II, Jason Pinnock and Brandin Echols in the secondary, Jonathan Marshall up front and two safety-to-linebacker conversions in Jamien Sherwood and Hamsah Nasirildeen, acquiring players that could find success in Coach Saleh and Defensive Coordinator Jeff Ulbrich's new defense.

Before the draft, Douglas set to work bringing in players to add to the team's talent and culture in free agency, using a targeted aggressiveness to bring in players like defensive lineman Carl Lawson, wide receiver Corey Davis and linebacker Jarrad Davis. Douglas and his group stayed active throughout, adding veteran contributors in defensive linemen Sheldon Rankins and Vinny Curry, safety Lamarcus Joyner, tight end Tyler Kroft and cornerback Justin Hardee.

Despite the added wrinkle that his first draft as general manager (2020) was also the NFL's first ever virtual draft as a result of COVID-19 global pandemic, Douglas showed no signs of being a rookie, despite drafting from his home. He turned his seven draft picks in 2020, Leonard Williams' expiring contract and a sixthround pick the team previously acquired into 13 players.

As a result of Douglas' movement in the draft, nine draft picks joined the Jets in 2020 – tackle Mekhi Becton, wide receiver Denzel Mims, safety Ashtyn Davis, defensive lineman Jabari Zuniga, running back La'Mical Perine, quarterback James Morgan, offensive lineman Cameron Clark, cornerback Bryce Hall and punter Braden Mann. Of the nine, five were team captains in college, yet another illustration of Douglas' commitment to character and culture. Additionally, he added cornerbacks Lamar Jackson and Javelin Guidry, as well as linebacker Bryce Huff, as undrafted free agents. All three played at least 150 snaps, as the Jets were the only team in 2020 with three such undrafted rookies on defense.

In his first start-of-the-league-year free agency (2020), Douglas took a strategic and disciplined approach to filling the team's roster, adding to the depth with players that could not only come in and contribute immediately, but would also fit the team's culture. Among the players added, were offensive linemen George Fant, Connor McGovern and Greg Van Roten, along with a pair of veterans with a combined 27 years of NFL experience, quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Frank Gore. Gore, a leader on a young team, became just the third player in league history to gain 16,000 yards rushing, while showing the day-in, day-out habits of a future Hall of Famer. Douglas also re-signed key contributors on every level of the defense: linebacker Jordan Jenkins, cornerback Brian Poole and defensive lineman Steve McLendon.

During the season, Douglas made key waiver claims to provide depth and reinforce a roster that saw over 25 different players land on IR. Running back Ty Johnson, an October claim, averaged 4.7 yards per carry, a top 20 average among backs with at least 50 attempts. Offensive lineman Pat Elfein started the final six games at left guard after being claimed, while cornerback Corey Ballentine averaged 26.2 yards per return, a top 11 average among players with at least 10 kickoff returns. Conversely, Douglas continued to add to the club's draft capital by trading McLendon and Avery Williamson.

While Douglas' first season (2019) with the Jets did not end with the desired result, the roster showed resiliency as several players took on unexpected roles for a team that saw just two players start 16 games. The Jets were forced to use 15 different offensive starting lineups and 14 different defensive starting lineup combinations. Despite the injuries, Douglas buoyed a roster that finished 6-2 over the final eight weeks by acquiring players, in every available avenue possible, after his hire.

Although he started after free agency and the draft, Douglas also brought in a number of key contributors in his first season as general manager (2019), claiming wide receiver/punt returner Braxton Berrios and defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers. Since joining the Jets, Berrios has averaged 10.5 yards per punt return (fifth in the league among players with at least 30 returns), while also posting single-season bests in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns in 2020. DL John Franklin-Myers, who missed his entire first season with the Jets, returned in 2020 to finish top five on the team in tackles for loss and sacks, while tying for second in quarterback hits.

Douglas also added three 10+ game starters following his hire in tight end Ryan Griffin, a free agent signing the day before training camp, guard Alex Lewis, a training camp trade, and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, a Week Two trade with New England, the first such trade between the two franchises in over 25 years.

Griffin, signed before training camp, caught five touchdown passes, tied for third in the conference and one of just eight tight ends in franchise history with at least five TD catches, while safety Matthias Farley, a free agent added right before the start of the regular season, was named special teams captain in 2020, leading the Jets in special teams tackles since 2019.

Throughout his time in the league, Douglas has put in the work and paid his dues, working as both a pro and college scout in Baltimore, Chicago and Philadelphia, and helping shape three different Super Bowl championship rosters. Before joining the Jets, he spent the previous three seasons as the vice president of player personnel with the Eagles. In Philadelphia, he was a key component in acquiring many of the players that helped win Super Bowl LII, including the game's MVP, quarterback Nick Foles.

Using every avenue to help improve the team, Douglas was part of a front office that acquired the players who scored all but two of the team's postseason touchdowns, including four of the five scores in the Super Bowl. A trio of 2017 unrestricted free agent signings - LeGarrette Blount, Foles and Alshon Jeffery – as well as a pair of street free agents – Patrick Robinson and Torrey Smith – all contributed scores on the team's title run. The Eagles' leading receiver in the Super Bowl, running back Corey Clement, was signed as an undrafted free agent, while the team's leading rusher in the game, running back Jay Ajayi, joined the club as a midseason trade.

Prior to joining the Eagles, Douglas spent a season as the director of college scouting for Chicago (2015).

Entering the NFL as a player personnel assistant (2000) the year Baltimore won Super Bowl XXXV, Douglas ascended within the Ravens organization, holding various posts in the organization's scouting department, serving as a national scout (2012-15), Southeast area scout (2009-11), East Coast area scout (2008) and Northeast area scout (2003-07), helping add a number of prominent players via the draft, including the Super Bowl XLVII MVP, Flacco, as well as a number of Pro Bowl players – Ben Grubbs, C.J. Mosley, Justin Tucker and Marshal Yanda.

An All-Atlantic 10 selection, Douglas started 45 consecutive games at tackle for the University of Richmond. Following his collegiate playing career, he transitioned into a volunteer assistant coach role with the Spiders in 1999. As an offensive and defensive lineman at Mechanicsville (VA) HS, formerly Lee-Davis, Douglas was recognized as a two-time all-state honoree.

He and his wife, Shannon, have two daughters, Addison and Leighton, and a son, Thomas.

FLIGHT PATH
New York Jets 2019-Present
General Manager 2019-Present

Philadelphia Eagles 2016-18
Vice President of Player Personnel 2016-18

Chicago Bears 2015
Director of College Scouting 2015

Baltimore Ravens 2000-14
National Scout 2012-14
Southeast Area Scout 2009-11
East Coast Area Scout 2008
Northeast Area Scout 2003-07
Player Personnel Assistant 2000-02

University of Richmond 1999
Volunteer Assistant Coach 1999

PLAYING CAREER
University of Richmond (Tackle) 1995-98

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