It sounds like the New York Jets are nearing the end of their head coach search.
Roughly a week after firing Adam Gase, thus vacating the head coach position in New York, the Jets appear to be zeroing in on their guy.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Jets are scheduled to bring in San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh for a second interview. This is significant because Saleh interviewed via Zoom for the team last week, which indicates New York has a finalist in its critical head coach search.
Note that Saleh is a finalist, not the finalist, which is an important distinction. New York hasn’t made an offer to the defensive guru and there are likely to be other finalists that the team considers.
Saleh, however, is considered to be a top candidate on the market and the best non-offensive minded coach being interviewed.
As the #Jets narrow their list of head coaching candidates, they are flying in #49ers DC Robert Saleh for a second interview today, per me and @MikeGarafolo. The first known finalist for the NYJ job, and there will be others likely in person, as well.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 12, 2021
Saleh was brought on by Kyle Shanahan back in 2017. Over the past two seasons, he’s garnered high praise for his top-notched defensive fronts. The 49ers’ finished second in yards allowed per game in 2019 en route to a Super Bowl berth.
Are the Jets a good fit for Saleh?
The biggest question shouldn’t be if this is a good fit for the Jets, but rather a good fit for Saleh. New York isn’t the only team interested in Saleh, as the Detroit Lions are also in the running to hire him.
But if it’s down to those two franchises, which is the best fit for Saleh?
The Jets have four first-round picks over the next two years. They’ll have 19 total selections in the same process. To top that, the Jets have several defensive pieces like Quinnen Williams and CJ Mosley. The teams should also make it a priority to re-sign safety Marcus Mate to a long-term deal this offseason.
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) January 12, 2021
With $70 million in cap space, Saleh would be able to work with Joe Douglas to build the team in his image. Three 49ers defensive backs are expected to hit the open market, making them available to fix one of the league’s worst secondaries. Other money could be spent on providing weapons for either Sam Darnold or the next quarterback to take control.
Saleh is a slam dunk hire wherever he lands. The question now is, would he take the job should they offer?