- Manish Mehta reports that Jets GM Mike Maccagnan, executive Brian Heimerdinger, agent Erik Burkhardt and CEO Christopher Johnson explored the possibility of hiring Kliff Kingsbury as the team’s next head coach in the final month of the 2018 season while Todd Bowles was still in place as the team’s head coach.
- According to Mehta, Johnson had back-channel conversations with more established coaching candidates during the same time frame, unbeknownst to Maccagnan. Johnson was reportedly looking to get ahead of a head coaching search and used an intermediary late in the season to touch base with the camps of at least two established head coaches.
- Mehta confirms a report from late last year that the Jets had been doing research on possibly hiring Michigan HC Jim Harbaugh.
- Sources tell Mehta that Bowles actually insisted that Johnson let him know of his fate the night of their loss to the Patriots instead of dragging things out as Johnson had planned.
- Regarding Kingsbury, Mehta says that Johnson’s interest in the former Texas Tech head coach was fueled, in part, by NFL reporter Peter Schrager, who would later break the news of Kingsbury landing the Cardinals’ job.
- Schrager came up as someone who could be involved as a consultant during the team’s GM search.
- Reports have denied that this is a serious consideration for the Jets, but Mehta says the Jets have told people that they felt comfortable turning to Schrager, who is a close friend of Johnson’s for opinions, suggestions or ideas if needed.
As for the Jets’ GM search, Mehta reports that HC Adam Gase has been running the show and has personally reached out to each candidate to make his pitch.
- Mehta says that his understanding is that Gase’s top selling point has been QB Sam Darnold.
- According to Ben Volin, the Jets reached out to at least one potential GM candidate a week before they fired Maccagnan and were rebuffed.