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The NY Jets are reportedly targeting these eight head coach candidates this offseason.
The NY Jets are going to fire Adam Gase. In fact, there’s a decent chance that by the time you’re reading this, the official announcement has already been made.
We wish him well in his future endeavors.
But with Gase gone, the attention will now shift to who the Jets hire as their next head coach. Two years ago, owner Christopher Johnson and the Jets’ brass were faced with an extremely important decision.
In a move that seemed destined to fail at the time, they went with the heavily-scrutinized former Miami Dolphins head coach. And now that two years have passed since his hire, it’s safe to say that Adam Gase’s tenure in New York has been a complete and utter failure.
Ian Rapoport’s report on Saturday that insisted Gase would be fired following Sunday’s game also featured a host of possible candidates the Jets plan to target.
Now, Rapoport did say to “expect a lengthy and thorough search” and made it clear that the names on his list weren’t the only ones being considered. Especially when it comes to college coaches, teams tend to be very secretive in the hiring process.
But Rapoport’s initial list of eight candidates provides some insight into the first wave of coaches the Jets could be considering to replace Gase.
From NFL coordinators to college coaches, let’s break down the eight head coach candidates the Jets will reportedly target this offseason, per Rapoport.
Next: 1. Two highly-touted offensive coordinators
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1. The NY Jets are targeting Chiefs’ OC Eric Bieniemy
Eric Bieniemy has long been at the forefront of the offseason coaching carousel, but has yet to land a head coach job to date. Expect that to change this offseason.
The Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator has been touted as a huge part of the success behind the most dominant offense the NFL has seen in quite some time.
While he doesn’t call plays, his work behind the scenes and in game-planning has led many to believe he’ll be given a head coach job sooner rather than later. According to Rapoport, that job could be with the Jets.
Expect Bieniemy to have his fair share of suitors so a job with the Jets is far from a given — even if he’s offered the position. But the Jets are interested, and that notion isn’t exactly a surprise.
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2. The NY Jets are targeting Titans’ OC Arthur Smith
Another hot offensive coordinator name on the market is Tennessee Titans’ offensive coordinator Arthur Smith. At just 38-years-old, Smith is one of the youngest candidates who will draw interest this offseason, but that doesn’t mean he won’t receive plenty of looks.
Smith has been with the Titans’ organization since 2011 and has served as the team’s offensive coordinator since 2019. Interestingly enough, despite being regarded as one of the brightest offensive minds in football, his first three coaching jobs were as a defensive assistant.
The former North Carolina offensive lineman has revolutionized the Titans’ offense and has not only been credited with maximizing the talent of Derrick Henry, but also revitalizing the career of Ryan Tannehill.
Under Smith, Tannehill has developed into a borderline top-10 quarterback. Expect that to interest teams around the league looking for the new “QB whisperer.”
Next: 2. Two standout defensive coordinators
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3. The NY Jets are targeting Colts’ DC Matt Eberflus
Matt Eberflus might not be as well-known as some of the other names on this list, but it wouldn’t be surprising in the least to see him earn a head coaching job this offseason.
Eberflus has served as the defensive coordinator of the Indianapolis Colts for the past three seasons and has quickly established himself as one of the best DC’s in the NFL.
The former Dallas Cowboys assistant was recently named one of the best defensive play-callers in the league and is known for his two-deep zone defense that utilizes front confusion to get pressure with only four rushers.
Eberflus is unproven as a head coach and would likely need to be paired with a capable offensive coordinator. But if he interviews well, the chances are he could earn a head coaching job in a few weeks.
4. The NY Jets are targeting Rams’ DC Brandon Staley
When head coach Sean McVay made the decision to move on from the established Wade Phillips around a year ago, many questioned the decision to replace him with the unproven Brandon Staley.
But Staley has managed to go from unknown Denver Broncos assistant to bonafide head coaching candidate within a matter of months. Under Staley, the Rams have had one of the most impressive defenses in all of football.
Jalen Ramsey is having perhaps the best year of his career. Players like John Johnson, Darious Williams, and Troy Hill have emerged as budding stars. And Aaron Donald is still Aaron Donald.
At just 38-years-old, there’s no guarantee that Staley gets a job this time around. But he will get interviews, and the Jets are expected to be one of the teams most interested.
Next: 3. Two heavily-rumored candidates
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5. The NY Jets are targeting Ravens’ DC Don Martindale
If you were placing bets on who the Jets’ next head coach will be come the start of the 2021 season, putting your money on Baltimore Ravens’ defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale wouldn’t be a bad decision.
Martindale is a veteran assistant coach who has been coaching since 1986 and has been in the NFL since 2004. But it’s with the Ravens where he’s found the most success.
Prior to his three-years-and-counting stint as the team’s defensive coordinator, Martindale helped oversee one of the best linebacker corps in football from 2012 to 2017.
The 57-year-old is known for his no-nonsense demeanor and aggressive defensive style. It’s helped the Ravens put together one of the best defenses in football over the last few years and it might just help him land a head coach job this offseason.
Throw in the Joe Douglas/Baltimore connections and you have someone who will probably be at the very top of the Jets’ “short” list this offseason.
6. The NY Jets are targeting Iowa State HC Matt Campbell
Matt Campbell is one of, if not the hottest name on the market — and for good reason. The 41-year-old has helped orchestrate complete turnarounds of both the Toledo and Iowa State football programs.
He’s a leader, bright offensive mind, and one of the most respected coaches in the college football world. And whenever he decides that he’s plateaued at Iowa State, he will have a job with a major college program or an NFL franchise awaiting him.
The Jets are far from the only team to have shown interest in Campbell, but the rumors of a connection between the two have been prevalent. Could the three-time Big 12 Coach of the Year be on his way to Florham Park this offseason?
If the Jets’ fanbase had any say in it, Campbell would be the first person the organization called.
Next: 4. Two experienced college coaches
7. The NY Jets are targeting Michigan HC Jim Harbaugh
Jim Harbaugh is always going to be a headline-generator wherever he goes. The former San Francisco 49ers’ coach has an aura to him that few individuals could match and his prior success in the NFL will make him an appealing candidate to many.
What doesn’t help his case, however, are his struggles at Michigan since leaving the NFL.
Harbaugh has consistently fallen short in big games, turned the program into somewhat of a laughing stock in the Big Ten, and hasn’t exactly made many friends.
But he’s Jim Harbaugh. His name alone will get him looks, and the Jets seemingly want to do their due diligence. However, with Michigan reportedly looking to extend him through the 2026 season, perhaps Harbaugh won’t be a realistic option for long.
That is, unless he spurns his alma mater to return to the NFL. You never know with Harbaugh.
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8. The NY Jets are targeting Florida HC Dan Mullen
Of the eight names listed in Raporport’s report, perhaps the most surprising was Florida head coach Dan Mullen. Mullen has spent the last three years with the Gators where he’s done his part to maintain what was already a pretty impressive program.
With a career record of 29-9 at Florida, it’s not a huge surprise that he’s receiving looks from the NFL. But his lack of mention in rumors over the past few months is what makes this report a little intriguing.
Mullen has been touted for his impressive offensive scheming, but much like Harbaugh, he comes with a little baggage. The 48-year-old has made enemies and has garnered a reputation for being somewhat abrasive.
On top of that, his involvement in a recruiting scandal just earned Florida a year of probation. Mullen is an unexpected name in this year’s coaching cycle, but he’s far from a slam-dunk hire despite his 12 years of head coaching experience.