The Jets are about to put out the Help Wanted sign again.
In two weeks, they are expected to fire Adam Gase and begin searching for a new head coach, two years after going through a search that led them to Gase.
The selling point then was the chance to coach a young quarterback in Sam Darnold and develop him.
So much for that.
Two years and 22 losses later, the Jets are back on the hunt for someone to lead the team. This time around, the Jets will be coming off another terrible season, probably a one-win season. It will be their fifth straight losing year and 10th in a row without a playoff berth.
So, how attractive is the Jets job?
Let’s start with this: there are only 32 head coaching jobs in the NFL. They are all in demand, no matter what the franchise looks like. The Jets will have a long list of interested parties. The bigger question is: Can they land the coach they want if he has other options? Would someone rather coach the Texans with Deshaun Watson in place? Is the Jaguars job more appealing than the Jets now that Trevor Lawrence looks bound for Florida instead of New York?
There is no doubt the Jets job got less attractive with Sunday’s win and the likelihood they have lost out on Lawrence. While the question at quarterback will loom large, the Jets do have some positives to push.
This team is set up to have a very big offseason and a new coach can play a role in shaping the team the way he wants.
General manager Joe Douglas has set this offseason up to give the Jets flexibility and the ability to add to their depleted roster. The Jets will have anywhere from $75 million to $100 million in cap space, depending on where the cap is set, in a year when other teams will be scrambling if the cap decreases. Douglas has nine draft picks, two in the first round and six in the first four rounds.
Cap space and draft capital are no guarantees for future success, but it beats the alternative for a new coach.
Then, there is how low the bar is at the moment. This is going to be the Jets’ worst season since 1996. It is the first time in team history the Jets have had five straight losing seasons. They are one season away from tying the longest playoff drought in team history.
All of this leads to low expectations. Throw in the fact that Gase was hated by the fan base and the new coach is going to get a long honeymoon from the fans and media. All you have to do is look across town and see how people are building statues of Joe Judge after five wins for the Giants. This fanbase is starved for success, and it won’t take much for a new coach to convince them he is the right guy in Year 1.
The biggest concern about the Jets job centers on ownership. There is the question of when Woody Johnson will return from England, so the new coach could have a new boss a few weeks after getting hired by Christopher Johnson. The Jets have not said anything publicly about Woody Johnson’s return, but the belief seems to be he will not return until after Inauguration Day, on Jan. 20. There is also a sense in the organization that the perception Woody Johnson will want to undo everything his brother has done is incorrect. While Woody Johnson may not play an active role in the coaching search, he surely will be routinely updated by his brother.
Beyond Woody’s return, candidates have questions about the Jets’ ownership in general. The organization has been one of the worst in the NFL in the last decade. There are questions of how much of that is due to the Johnsons and whether the coach will be given the support he needs from ownership to succeed.
There are expected to be between 5-9 head coaching jobs open after the season. The Jets’ job figures to be somewhere in the middle in terms of appeal. The Jets have to do whatever they can to land their top choice to avoid having to go through this process again in another 2-3 years.
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