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The NY Jets’ head coaching vacancy might not be as appealing as these three teams.
But with so much at stake, the Jets can ill-afford to make the same mistake they did two years ago. They need to hire the right head coach or else they risk setting the franchise back years just as they did with the Gase hire.
Fortunately, this year more than any in recent memory, there appear to be quite a few appealing head coach candidates that teams will target. That said, there won’t be any shortage of competition either.
Potentially up to seven or eight teams could be in the market for a new head coach this offseason meaning that the battle for the most highly-touted candidates will certainly be a heated one.
Teams such as the Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, and Houston Texans have already solidified their head-coach openings while others such as the Jacksonville Jaguars and Los Angeles Chargers seem poised to join them.
Of course, the Jets will be a part of that list as well.
But how does the Jets’ job shape up as compared to their adversaries? A lot of that will depend on where they end up selecting in the 2021 NFL Draft, but we did our best to gauge three teams that could have more appealing jobs than the Jets.
Next: 3. Chicago Bears
NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
3. The Chicago Bears’ job could be more appealing than the NY Jets
Everything with the Jets’ job depends on where they end up selecting in the NFL Draft. If they land that first overall pick and, in turn, can sell a potential candidate on Trevor Lawrence, you could argue that their job becomes the most appealing.
But without knowing that in advance, we have to work under the assumption of the unknown. And one team with significantly fewer “unknowns” on their roster is the Chicago Bears.
The Bears have one of the most talented defenses in the NFL, even if the results haven’t always shown that this season. Head coach Matt Nagy is far from a lock to be fired, but he’s clearly hanging on for dear life at the moment.
And if Nagy is let go, the Bears will be one of the more talented teams looking for a new coach in the offseason. Their biggest downside is the lack of a long-term answer at the quarterback position.
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Their defense is still stacked with a combination of aging veterans (Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, etc.) and young studs (Eddie Jackson, Roquan Smith, etc.). And they have enough pieces to build around on offense, especially if they re-sign Allen Robinson.
A new coach would have to deal with a tricky cap situation and a question mark at the quarterback position. If the Jets can sell a candidate on Lawrence, they likely edge out Chicago.
But if not, it’s far from a stretch to say a team like the Bears — with far fewer holes on their roster — is a more appealing destination for a potential head coach.
Next: 2. Houston Texans
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2. The Houston Texans’ job could be more appealing than the NY Jets
The biggest thing holding the Bears back is arguably the only thing allowing the Houston Texans’ job to remain semi-appealing. And that is the presence of a true franchise quarterback.
Deshaun Watson is the Houston Texans. If a new coach is going to come in and take on all the baggage that comes with the current Texans organization, they’ll at least have a sure thing at the quarterback position.
Watson gives a new head coach stability at the most important position in the game. And that stability provides job security.
The Texans are never going to be a truly awful team with Watson leading the charge. What you’re seeing this year is about as bad as it’s going to get.
A new coach would be hedging his future on Watson and hoping that the rest could fall into place. Sure, the organization is in cap hell and has fewer draft picks than the Jets have competent coaches, but they have a top-10 quarterback in the league who still hasn’t even reached his prime.
The Jets are essentially the anti-Texans. They have a young roster, a ton of cap space, and loads of draft capital. But they don’t have an answer at the quarterback position — at least not yet.
And at the end of the day, that’s what’s most important.
The Jets will be selling potential candidates on projection and potential. Whereas we already know what Watson is capable of. That’s the difference-maker right there.
Next: 1. Los Angeles Chargers
NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
1. The Los Angeles Chargers’ job could be more appealing than the NY Jets
The Los Angeles Chargers should be a good team. On paper, they likely have one of the top-five rosters in their conference complete with a rising star quarterback and studs at some of the most important positions on the field.
A superstar receiver in Keenan Allen, star pass-rushers in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, and a two-time Pro Bowler in Casey Hayward at cornerback. But for some reason, they can’t even seem to play .500 ball.
Anthony Lynn is, by all accounts, a well-respected and admired coach by his players. But his egregious game management has cost the Chargers far too many close games to salvage his job.
And if/when the Chargers ultimately move on, their job is bound to be one of, if not the most appealing head coach vacancy in the league.
The roster is excellent, but again, the most important piece of the puzzle is who is playing quarterback. Justin Herbert looks well on his way to becoming one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
A near-lock for Offensive Rookie of the Year, Herbert is putting together one of the best rookie seasons by a quarterback in NFL history. He’s a new head coach’s dream and might ultimately be the most important bargaining chip for any team this offseason.
It’s rare that a team with such a promising young quarterback is looking for a new head coach and don’t expect that to be something candidates overlook.
They’ll know how rare this is and they won’t hesitate to jump at the opportunity, even in spite of the concerns about drawing fans and a less-than-stellar cap situation that come with the Los Angeles job.