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Jets head coach search will begin at the conclusion of Week 17 and is likely to include top college coaches

The Jets will move on from Adam Gase at the conclusion of the 2020 season, multiple league sources said, and quickly begin a search for their next head coach. While the team opted not to go with an interim this season, Gase’s fate has been clear within that organization for quite some time, as previously reported, with the Jets amassing a list of potential candidates for January.

The Jets have rallied from what once appeared to be a winless season to win two straight games, but the team’s overall record, inability to sustain much on offense and the stalled development of first-round quarterback Sam Darnold all played a role in the decision. It’s been clear to many on that coaching staff for quite some time that they did not have a future in New York beyond 2020, with change viewed as a formality.

The Jets are expected to delve into the college and pro ranks for candidates, league sources said, with general manager Joe Douglas having strong contacts in both realms from his years spent scouting/evaluating in the Ravens, Bears and Eagles organizations. Two years ago, under former management, the Jets were very interested in Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell and then Baylor coach Matt Rhule, with ownership keen on the idea of hiring a young program builder.

Talk with Rhule fell apart over staffing issues, and he is now coaching the Panthers, but Campbell remains a very hot candidate and some in the college game believe he will be more inclined to seriously consider moving over to the NFL this year. Sources said the Jets are also among a handful of teams with interest in Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald, who sources say will begin sorting through NFL overtures by midweek, and some in the scouting community have mentioned Dan Mullen of Florida as someone who could merit consideration as well.

Douglas was with Baltimore at the start of his scouting career when Marvin Lewis was the team’s defensive coordinator. Lewis had a very successful stint at Bengals coach, has already interviewed with the Texans, and the Lions are interested in him as well, sources said. It’s been quite some time since the Jets had a proven NFL head coach with tenure in the league in that capacity in charge (Bill Parcells from 1997-99), and that could resonate with ownership as well. Douglas also is a fan of Ravens defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, sources said, who was a finalist for the Giants head coaching job a year ago. 

If the Jets went the offensive coordinator route, Brian Daboll of the Bills will be in demand for most openings, and hiring him would potentially damage a division rival with Josh Allen playing like an MVP under Daboll’s guidance. Arthur Smith of the Titans is also earning high praise for his work with that offense. Determining what to do with Darnold will be a critical aspect of this coaching search, and with Ohio State’s Justin Fields and BYU’s Zach Wilson both closing their seasons on a high note, Douglas may be able to get a ransom for the second-overall pick should they opt to try to build around their current starter. 




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