New York Jets linked to Russell Wilson trade rumors

The New York Jets have been linked to star quarterback Deshaun Watson for some time now. However, they are now linked to another star: Seahawks QB Russell Wilson.

Trade rumors have been flying around the former Super Bowl-winning QB ever since he expressed his “frustration” with some of Seattle’s decision-making a few weeks ago. This, naturally, caused speculation around the league.

Michael-Shawn Dugar, Mike Sando and Jayson Jenks of The Athletic reported the trade rumors and linked teams early Thursday.

“Some people around the league think a trade could happen, if not this offseason then sometime in the near future,” according to the report.

The report has the Jets linked to the situation, along with the Dolphins, Saints and Raiders. A trade is unlikely to happen, though, as Seattle will likely not ditch their franchise quarterback.

The star quarterback led Seattle to a 12-4 record this past season while throwing for 4,212 yards and 40 touchdowns.

If a trade were to occur, Wilson would join Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz as high-profile quarterbacks to change teams. All of this is purely speculation at this point, but anything could happen.

Should the New York Jets pursue star New England offensive lineman in free agency?

New England Patriots, Joe Thuney

Heading into last offseason, one of the hottest commodities projected to hit the market was two-time Super Bowl champion and all-pro offensive guard Joe Thuney. The New York Jets and Miami Dolphins were reportedly set to back up the brinks truck to Thuney in hopes he would anchor his offensive line. Then, the Patriots threw a wrench in those plans by tagging Thuney. Now, Thuney will reportedly be allowed to seek a new home this offseason. With Mekhi Becton as the solidified anchor of the offensive line at left tackle, here is why Joe Thuney can give the Jets one of the best tackle/guard combos in football.

Who is Joe Thuney?

Joe Thuney grew up in Ohio and was one of four children. Thuney was not a stranger to success early in life, he was a member of two state championship football teams, he was named offensive lineman of the year in the Greater Catholic League, and was class president in his senior year of high school. Thuney was well-liked on and off the gridiron, and this led to an opportunity to play at NC State. At NC State, Thuney played all over the offensive line taking snaps at center, both tackle spots, and guard during his time with the program. Thuney graduated NC State in three years and received All American honors.

After a successful beginning to his football career, Thuney was selected with the 78th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. In five seasons, Thuney has played every single game, not only that, but he has been a team-first guy being adaptable this past season and making the switch to tackle with Marcus Cannon opting out and creating a void. Thuney has been both a depiction of stability and success, winning two rings during his tenure with the Pats.

Why The Jets?

Thuney will command a monster deal this offseason. As one of the most reliable and consistent linemen in the game, he will be paid as such. Now, Joe Douglas has been rather set in his evaluations of certain players in the past, but offensive linemen have been his most focused entity in his brief tenure as general manager to this point. The potential of having two beasts on the offensive line for the long-term future in Thuney and Becton is something the well-traveled exec may not be able to pass up. Not only that, but as we saw just a few weeks ago with Patrick Mahomes, if you don’t have protection, the entire rhythm of the game plan is thrown out the window.

On a relatively young team, Thuney would slot in as a leader and building block for the future. We are talking about a durable, smart, and versatile piece that fits the mold of everything Douglas seems to look for in the guys he wants to fill out his roster with. Add all that into the fact that he is successful no matter the stop. Thuney could be used anywhere on the line, but the idea of Becton and Thuney anchoring the left side could be too much to pass up. No matter where you put him on the line, Thuney would be a massive addition to the team and someone the Jets should not let slip away.

5 impending free agents the New York Jets should bring back

With the start of free agency inching closer, the New York Jets have some decisions to make. With 17 unrestricted free agents, and some more restricted, some are going to walk and some are going to return. The question is: who are they going to bring back?

Not all of them should, obviously, but odds are a good number of them will. The number of players that should be brought back is somewhat small compared to the overall list, in all honesty. So, these are five players that the team should re-sign:

S Marcus Maye

This is an obvious one. In fact, it’s the most obvious thing the Jets should do this offseason. Marcus Maye was easily the best player on the team this past season, at least on defense. While playing in all 16 games, he compiled 82 total tackles, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions and 11 passes defended, all career highs. He also added four tackles-for-loss and two QB hits.

Filling the hole left by Jamal Adams wasn’t going to be easy, but Maye made it look like it was. He did everything on the field. That’s why I have him listed as a safety and not restricted to free or strong. He can play both well.

The highlight of his season, though, was an image that resembled a real throwback.

Everyone remembers the infamous “butt-fumble” from the Mark Sanchez. This past season, Marcus Maye introduced the world to the “butt-pick.” That alone should have him resigned.

In all seriousness, though, Marcus Maye needs to be resigned. He is extremely vital to the defense and the overall team’s success.

CB Brian Poole

Brian Poole has unarguably been the team’s best cornerback the past couple of seasons after coming over from Atlanta. This past season, however, he only played in nine games. In those nine games, he had 44 tackles (2 for loss), 2 interceptions, 7 passes defended, 2 QB hits and a sack.

The Jets wouldn’t have to break the bank to bring him back, making him a smart re-sign. He’s a very capable and productive player for the cost and, to be honest, the team doesn’t have many reliable options in the secondary at this point.

Poole didn’t necessarily “prove it” after his one-year, $5 million deal. However, he showed enough to at least come back for another year.

LB Jordan Jenkins

Jordan Jenkins is another player who wouldn’t “break the bank” in a return. He has spent his entire five-year career with the Jets and should be brought back to continue with them. The only problem is, he had a noticeably down year after a great 2019 season.

This past season, he had, in 12 games, 32 combined tackles (3 for loss), 2 sacks, 6 QB hits and a forced fumble. The sack number is what really sticks out. In 2018 and 2019 he had 7 and 8 sacks, respectively. That number dropping to just 2 is not a good sight. However, I don’t think that’s enough to prevent them from bringing him back.

Jenkins is still under 30 and can provide nice production for a reasonable price. He should be brought back by the Jets.

LB Harvey Langi

Langi, being an inside linebacker, got substantial playing time with absences, specifically the opt-out of C.J. Mosley and the trade of Avery Williamson. Regardless, while on the field, he made an impact that was hard to ignore.

He had 60 total tackles, but other than that his number don’t fly off the page. Something that does fly, however, is him while on the field.

Harvey Langi isn’t the kind of player that’s going to break records or put up Pro Bowl statistics. His play style doesn’t really allow for that to be the case. Regardless, his play style and services can be valuable. He’s shown that.

While he doesn’t rack up very high tackle numbers, he’s always in the vicinity. While he doesn’t get a ton of sacks, QB hits or passes defended, he causes pressure. He does the type of things that lead to wins but don’t necessarily show up on stat sheets. As a result, the Jets could bring him back on a very team-friendly deal to help the defense.

CB Arthur Maulet

To end off the list, I’m sticking with defense. As I mentioned when making the case for Brian Poole, the New York Jets don’t have much to be excited about at cornerback. They have some young talent, but if they don’t make a big addition in free agency, Arthur Maulet could be a solid player to bring back.

Maulet re-signing wouldn’t be a headline, but it could be extremely beneficial for the defense. In 11 games last season, he had 29 total tackles, a QB hit, a sack, 5 passes defended and an interception. He was, whether it’s believable or not, one of the best players in the secondary for the Jets throughout the season.

He played last season on a one-year, $875,000 deal, which is not a big dent in the cap whasteover. If they can re-sign him to a similar deal, even if it’s slightly more money, it’s well worth it.

Maulet, along with Marcus Maye, Brian Poole, Jordan Jenkins and Harvey Langey all should be re-signed. If they all will, however, remains a mystery at this point.

3 Running Backs The New York Jets Can Target In Free Agency

New York Giants, Leonard Fournette

The New York Jets are back to square one.  From landing the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to signing a new head coach in Robert Saleh to now looking into trading quarterback Sam Darnold over the offseason, the Jets are officially starting from scratch once again, beginning a brand-new chapter with the aim of reviving this franchise’s prestige and reputation.

Following their worst finish to a season since 1996, the Jets have massive holes to fill on both sides of the ball, presenting coach Saleh with a mighty big challenge to take on and overcome.  What bodes well for Saleh is that defensively, the Jets are in half-decent shape with a solid front seven that is not only spearheaded by the bright, young talent in Quinnen Williams but that could also see the return of the playmaking linebacker in C.J. Mosley.  Even with a secondary that is pretty depleted, the Jets still have Marcus Maye and Brian Poole, who provide good talent, experience, and toughness to the defensive back position.

On the other hand, what remains to be the far greater concern for Saleh, is his offense.  Outside of Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims, Breshad Perriman, and Mekhi Becton, this Jets offense doesn’t have much of a foundation in place, more or less, much talent to show for.  Ultimately, you’re looking at a Jets offense who placed last in the league in total yards, yards per game, and points per game (ESPN).  In a nutshell, this Jets offense reached rock bottom last year, and it could take more than one season for Saleh to repair this ailing unit.

However, the good news for the Jets is that not only do they have the number two overall pick in the draft, granting them the opportunity to go after their next franchise quarterback, whether it’s Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, or Justin Fields.  But in addition, the Jets also have a projected total of $75 million in cap space, leaving them plenty of funds at their disposal to bolster a weak offensive line and invest in a strong running back to take charge of the ground game (Spotrac).

Although running backs are quite dependent on the talent and chemistry of their offensive line (which the Jets don’t have much of), it’s still of the utmost importance for the Jets to secure a top running back who’s willing to take on a large workload and bring versatility to the position.  With plenty of cap space to spare, the Jets have several free-agent running backs to pursue over this offseason.  But with each bringing their own unique skill set and approach to the game of football, the Jets will need to determine which running back will make for the best fit for their new-look offense.  On that note, here’s the Top 3 free agent running back choices the New York Jets should go after this offseason:

Three free agents running backs the New York Jets can target:

3. Mark Ingram:

Although he’s 32 years old, Mark Ingram would make for a great acquisition and for a variety of reasons. To begin with, Ingram is a natural-born, ground-and-pound runner that feeds off large workloads and brings toughness to the position like no other. He’s a bruising running back that can overpower his opponents with his strength and grit yet has the quickness and speed to evade and zoom past defenders as well.

Coming off a 2020 season where his starting role fell to the wayside as the Baltimore Ravens shifted their running game to a committee backfield with Gus Edwards and rookie J.K. Dobbins, it’s important to remember just what kind of season Ingram was able to muster in 2019.  On 202 rushing attempts, Ingram put up over 1,000 yards rushing, averaged 5 yards per carry, and collected 10 rushing TDs, despite Lamar Jackson rushing for 1,200 yards and 7 TDs himself that season (ESPN).  Ultimately, Ingram brings a lot to the table, and considering that the Jets could sign him to a cost-efficient deal that would save them plenty of cap space, Ingram would be a great addition for the Jets.

2. Leonard Fournette:

“Really?! He just won a Super Bowl ring with the G.O.A.T! What makes you think he wants to come to the Jets?” If any of this popped into your head, you have a fair argument, and this is without a doubt the toughest obstacle for the Jets to overcome. But there’s mainly one big reason why the Jets have a chance to sign him. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a shopping list of pivotal free agents they are looking to resign, but with only $27 million in cap space, there’s just no way they’re going to be able to keep all of them on their roster, and that includes Leonard Fournette (Spotrac).

Guys like Shaq Barrett, Lavonte David, Ndamukong Suh, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, and even Antonio Brown are all unrestricted free agents (Spotrac).  And with both Barrett and David costing a combined total of $25 million last season, you can best believe that the Buccaneers will not have enough funds for everyone, particularly since most of these players will be looking for bigger deals (Spotrac).  One of these players is Fournette, who by no means (at the prime age of 26 years old) should be splitting backfield duties with another running back and will want more than his previous $2 million he received last year (Spotrac).  Not only can the Jets offer him a fat contract, but they can also grant him the role he deserves and a chance to be the face of a new offense in one of the biggest markets in football.  Even for Fournette, that’s a tough bargain to turn down, and the Jets should not hesitate to approach him this offseason.

1. Chris Carson:

This might seem far-fetched for some, but Chris Carson is an absolute must-have running back for the Jets and brings just about everything one can ask for.  Despite a tough 2020 season, Carson still managed to muster his best average per carry in his career and demonstrated what kind of force he can be on the receiving end as well.  In addition, Carson is only 26 years old and had two flat out dominant seasons in 2018 and 2019, where he posted over 240 carries, ran for over 1,500 rushing yards, and tacked on over 5 rushing touchdowns in each of those two seasons (ESPN).  This man runs with authority and pure determination, providing a level of athleticism and creativity that not many in this league can match on a weekly basis.

To top it all off, the Seattle Seahawks have their own little list of unrestricted free agents they will want to resign over the offseason, yet they only have a meager $14 million of cap space at their disposal (Spotrac).  After receiving an annual average of over $600 thousand dollars last season, Carson will be looking for his first, major contract and Seattle does not have a lot of funds to sway him from leaving (Spotrac).  When all is said and done, the Jets need star talent on offense badly.  And with his versatility and ever-growing potential, Carson makes for the perfect fit for this new-look Jets offense.

Jets reportedly eyeing JuJu, Will Fuller V

The New York Jets finished with the worst scoring offense in the NFL last season. The lack of consistency and separation out of key playmakers on the outside definitely contributed to that. Now, the team could be looking to make some additions in free agency to address that.

Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Jets have wideouts JuJu Smith-Schuster and Will Fuller V at the “top” of their list. Either receiver would bring skill and talent to an offense that needs an infusion of both.

Smith-Schuster is coming off somewhat of a quiet year in Pittsburgh, finishing with 97 receptions for 831 yards and 9 touchdowns. Through four seasons, he has totaled 308 receptions, 3,726 yards and 26 touchdowns in 58 games played.

Will Fuller V is coming off a shortened season, but a very productive one in his limited games. In just 11 games played for Houston this past season, he totaled 53 receptions for 879 yards and 8 touchdowns. Thorugh five seasons, he’s accumulated 209 receptions, 3,110 yards and 24 touchdowns in 53 games played.

If the Jets choose to address the position in free agency, whoever they add will bring depth and enhanced talent to the group for next season, at least.

 

BREAKING: New York Jets to hire Robert Saleh as next head coach

New York Jets, Robert Saleh

The New York Jets got their guy. Per Josina Anderson of ESPN, the Jets have reached an agreement with San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to become the next head coach. Saleh was expected by many to be the favorite for the Detroit Lions gig coming into the offseason, but Joe Douglas and company got the guy they wanted.

Saleh is the CEO

Anyone who knows Saleh gives him rave reviews. He is a fiery and passionate leader capable of willing his men to victory. Look no further than the defensive success without stars like Nick Bosa this past season.

Saleh has the love for the game and leadership capabilities to be the true CEO the Jets long for. Saleh is inked to a five-year deal, which matches the duration of the remainder of Joe Douglas’s deal. The team finally got their coach and front office on the same page with a hire. Now, Douglas and Saleh will lead the next era of gang green football.

As Saleh looks to fill his staff next and the team has many questions to answer, like who is the quarterback of the future? The first big move Saleh can make towards figuring that out is bringing in a brilliant offensive mind. Look for Mike LaFleur, brother of Titans coach Matt LaFleur to be the hire. For now, though, one thing is for certain. Rejoice, Jets fans, this time, they really did get it right.

New York Jets: Breaking down 3 confirmed head coaching candidates (part 3)

New York Jets, Joe Brady

With the New York Jets now preparing for their second batch of interviews where they will condense the field to bring them into Florham Park. With that said, I broke down the Jets three defensive coordinator candidates, three offensive coordinator candidates, and now today is the mixed bag group. A former head coach, a rising secondary coach, and a young offensive coordinator drawing comps to Sean McVay.

Marvin Lewis (Former Bengals Head Coach)

Marvin Lewis began working as a graduate assistant and then later a linebacker’s coach for Idaho State. From there he parlayed his success there into gigs at Long Beach State, University of New Mexico and University of Pittsburgh. He had considerable success and within just eight years he received enough attention as a linebackers coach that he was brought up to the pro ranks. While at his first stop, the Steelers, he worked as a linebackers coach for three years. Then, Lewis received his shot with the Ravens as a defensive coordinator for five years, winning a Super Bowl during that time, before joining the Football Team in the same role for a season.

Despite his background, from 2003-2018, Marvin Lewis is best known for his resurrection of the Cincinnati Bengals franchise. In his 15 years he led the team to the playoffs seven times with a record of 131-122-3 but an 0-7 playoff record. Lewis was undoubtedly a capable and competent leader, but he failed to close when it mattered most on the biggest stage. The losses on the biggest stage ultimately led to the team, letting him go. Lewis, at 62 years old, is still trying to get back to coaching in the pros as he has been helping former Jets coach Herm Edwards in Arizona State, first as a consultant and now as a co-defensive coordinator.

Looking forward, Lewis is a leader and has proven that in his career. One has to wonder if maybe the time off benefited him by giving him time to reevaluate. I think Lewis has a shot of getting a hire in this cycle for a couple of reasons. The first being that he has proven capabilities of turning around a franchise. The other is that his years of connections give him a shot of assembling a talented staff. If a team is looking to rebuild and they want someone to see it through, Lewis is a strong candidate. If you want someone to take your team to that next step though, Lewis has not proven he can do that. The other flaw is his age, and how much longer he even wants to coach, this continues to further my belief that he is a transitional coaching candidate.

Joe Brady (Panthers Offensive Coordinator)

Joe Brady is someone I have highlighted in great lengths during this coaching search and it’s lead up. Brady is known as the 31-year-old offensive wiz kid from Carolina. The former college wide receiver began his coaching career at his alma mater, Willian & Marry. After rising to a linebackers coach position there, Brady received a shot to be a graduate assistant at Penn State. He then received a massive opportunity to receive the tutelage of Sean Payton as an offensive assistant for the New Orleans Saints where he was able to learn first hand how to conduct the offense. Then, he made a decision that Sean Payton at the time told him was a massive mistake, he bolted from New Orleans to head to nearby LSU as the passing game coordinator and receiver’s coach. That decision was not a mistake, but rather, the reason he is a candidate for a head coaching gig.

At LSU, en route to a national championship, Brady architected one of the top offenses in college football history. He took Joe Burrow and brought him from an average college quarterback that likely would be a late round draft pick to, a Heisman campaign, where he had a 76.3 completion percentage and produced a line of 5,671 yds, 60 TDs, and 6 INTs. Burrow took a massive leap and became the first overall selection in the draft. Brady also allowed guys like JaMarr Chase and Justin Jefferson to go from household names to one being a top 15 prospect in this draft class, Chase and one being labeled by some as the next star receiver in the NFL, in Jefferson. Now, since leaving LSU, the team and specifically offense was a shell of themselves and Brady’s exit has been widely attributed to why.

Joe Brady left LSU and took the jump to Carolina to coach under Matt Rhule as his offensive coordinator. The offense was not the most spectacular, but if you look at the jump that players took under his guidance that is indicative of success. Mike Davis filled in masterfully for Christian McCaffery being able to jump into his role to an extent and keep the train moving. Guys like Curtis Samuel, Robby Anderson and Ian Thomas all took massive leaps and proved themselves as legitimate offensive weapons under Joe Brady as well. Brady was able to adapt consistently, instilling a game plan for former XFL star PJ Walker’s first career start on Thursday Night Football that played off his strengths.

Brady has proven to be moldable, adaptable and innovative in his brief but impressive coaching career. He has drawn comparisons to Sean McVay leading many to think he is the next star coach. I have qualms with how he would build a staff based on his minimal coaching experience and I wonder about his leadership based on his youth. With that said though, it sounds like if Terry Fontenot, a New Orleans Saints executive, lands the Atlanta Falcons general manager position, Brady will likely follow him. The Jets were reportedly impressed by him and he was in the select few of candidates they believe could get a second interview. Ultimately, it sounds as though Atlanta is the likeliest home though.

Aaron Glenn (Saints Secondary Coach)

Aaron Glenn is an intriguing coaching candidate. The former New York Jets defensive back is a former All American and has been inducted into the Texas A&M sports hall of fame before being drafted by Gang green with the 12th selection in the 1994 draft. Glenn played for the organization for seven years before being taken by the Houston Texans in the expansion draft. He then played for the Texans, Cowboys, Jaguars and Saints before retiring in 2008. He then spent some time in various capacities, including time away from the game, before taking a general manager position with the Houston Stallions of the Lonestar Football League. He spent a year there before joining the Jets as a scout. Then, Glenn began his coaching career.

The former pro bowler received an opportunity to work as the assistant defensive backs coach for two seasons in Cleveland. The Browns provided him a shot at coaching and launched his career. The Saints then brought Glenn on in the 2016 season as a defensive backs coach, and he’s done wonders for the secondary in his time there. Glenn has been able to elevate the level of play of guys like Marcus Williams and Ken Crawley among others. Glenn has been able to be a hands on teacher and he’s learned from a great in Bill Parcells.

Glenn is a leader and a well-connected coach. His former playing days give him extensive ties for a potential staff. However, he has minimal coaching experience running a system or implementing a scheme. Glenn deserves defensive coordinator looks, but the premise of hiring Glenn before he even gets to control a side of the football does not instill me with the most confidence. He is a smart football mind, making him a dark horse for the job. However, if the Jets go with a young offensive mind, hiring Glenn as a DC would be a home run.

Robert Saleh is Jets’ first finalist for next head coach

New York Jets, Robert Saleh

The New York Jets have taken a significant step in narrowing the search for their next head coach. Later today, the San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator, Robert Saleh, will be flying in to meet with the organization.

He will be the first candidate brought in for a second interview, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Saleh is one of the most highly sought after candidates for teams needing head coaches for next season. He has already interviewed with the Lions, Jaguars, Falcons and Chargers, along with the Jets. Now, the Eagles have requested an interview with him as well. To sum it up, Saleh is in high demand.

With all of the openings at head coach, he was expected to be one of the top candidates for seemingly every team. Since becoming the defensive coordinator for the 49ers in 2017, he’s been receiving a lot of attention, and rightly so.

The 49ers Robert Saleh defense got better each season with him at the helm. In 2017, they were ranked 24th in yards-per-game allowed. The following year, in 2018, the shot up to 13th. Last season, in which they went to the Super Bowl, they ranked second in yards-per-game allowed and were one of the elite defenses in the league. This season, while dealing with an immense number of injuries, they finished fifth.

Along with the great numbers his defenses have produced, his energy on the sideline is infectious and echoes throughout the team. The way he got his defense to produce each week, while missing top players due to injuries, resulted in the league taking even more notice of his ability.

Robert Saleh is more than deserving of a head coaching job in the NFL. If things continue down the same path, he could be the next head coach of the New York Jets.

New York Jets: Breaking down 3 confirmed head coaching candidates (part 2)

In the first part of the New York Jets’ confirmed coaching target breakdowns, I highlighted some of the top offensive coordinators reportedly being targeted for the job. This time, here are the three rumored defensive coordinator candidates and what they bring to the table.

Matt Eberflus, Indianapolis Colts Defensive Coordinator

Matt Eberflus is a rising coaching candidate in the league, and for good reason. The well-traveled coach began his coaching career as a student assistant at Toledo in 1992, he then spent eight years coaching at Toledo, holding the positions of graduate assistant, recruiting coordinator, outside linebackers coach, and defensive backs coach. Due to his success at Toledo, Eberflus was named defensive coordinator of Missouri in 2001, where he coached until 2008. He then signed on for two seasons as the linebackers coach of the Browns before he entered into the most crucial years in his coaching development. From 2011 to 2015, Eberflus coached under Rod Marinelli, super bowl champion coach. Marinelli taught Eberflus the Tampa 2 style defense, which has proved to be his staying power since then. Marinelli mentored Eberflus and developed him into a disciple, which led to him ultimately landing his current gig.

Eberflus was initially brought on to the Colts staff by the short-lived coach, Josh McDaniels. When he decided to return to New England and Frank Reich was hired, the team looked to Marinelli for his advisement on someone who could instill the Tampa 2 defense in Indy, and he let them know that guy was already on the staff. So, Eberflus kept his job, and in the time since, he has become an esteemed coach. The Indy defense has become a top one in all of football, but the way Eberflus has gotten the most out of his players is the true shining piece of his resume. Darius Leonard was not supposed to be a star in this league, he was out for most of his rookie camp, and he was a little known second-rounder. Now, Leonard is one of the best linebackers in football. The team also acquired Deforest Buckner this offseason, and he has had a monster season in the defense.

Eberflus’ only indictment is that he may not be that CEO type coach rumored to be the target. Eberflus does not have experience as a head coach, and just like most coordinators, there is no hardcore proof he could have success. Still, Eberflus is well connected in the league and could likely build a good staff and be a good leader. Eberflus is a true wildcard candidate; depending on his staff, he could be a solid hire.

Brandon Staley, Los Angeles Rams Defensive Coordinator

A year ago, Brandon Staley was a rather unknown coach, now, he has a shot to be a head coach rather quickly. Staley has bounced around the college ranks, starting in 2006 at Northern Illinois. From there, Staley went to various schools including, St. Thomas, Hutchinson Community, and Tennessee. Then, Staley got his shot as a D3 defensive coordinator at John Carrol University. From there, he went to James Madison and back to John Carrol. Then, he drew the eye of Vic Fangio and had been on his staff in both Chicago and Denver before getting his shot as a defensive coordinator this season in Los Angeles.

Brandon Staley succeeded esteemed defensive coordinator Wade Phillips after his retirement last season. He inherited a defense with two of the best players in the NFL, Jalen Ramsey, and Aaron Donald. Donald brings a ferocious ability to get into the backfield unmatched by anyone in the league. Ramsey is one of the best lockdown corners in the game and didn’t have a single game this season where he allowed more than 20 yards. Despite that, the talent they had was present in both Phillip’s time and Staley’s. So, in analyzing their defensive jump from the middle of the league to first, that makes what Staley was able to do all the more impressive.

Staley has earned quite a reputation quickly. He has drawn comparisons to the man that hired him, Sean McVay, and been labeled as the defensive carbon copy. Staley would be the younger, more flashier hire than Eberflus, but both are unproven. Staley has not been in the league long, meaning his staff hires could leave something to be desired. Staley is a bold choice, but the Jets have gone the successful defensive coordinator route once in the past 8 years, and it didn’t bode well, will they make the same choice again?

Robert Saleh, San Francisco 49ers Defensive Coordinator

Robert Saleh is a football guy. The former college tight end began his coaching career in 2002 with Michigan State. He then coached at Central Michigan and Georgia before going to the pros. Then, in 2005, Saleh was hired as an intern with the Texans, and he climbed through the ranks to the position of assistant linebackers coach before heading to Seattle. In Seattle, Saleh got to learn under Pete Carroll and coach on a Super Bowl championship-winning staff. Saleh coached there until receiving a shot to coach the linebackers in Jacksonville, where they had a large amount of success in his time there. His success across the board drew enough attention from Kyle Shanahan to earn him the defensive coordinator job in 2017. Since then, Saleh has become a household name.

Last season, the San Francisco 49ers went to the Super Bowl behind one of the most talented defensive lines I have seen in the past decade. Their defense was ranked in the top tier of the league overall, and although they were unable to pull off a win in the big game, they still showed major growth in 2019. This set them up as one of the most heavily feared defenses heading into this season, but when Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, Richard Sherman, Javon Kinlaw, and Kwon Alexander are among the big names who missed multiple games, if not the entire season. The team was banged up but still managed to finish as a top defenses again, taking only a small step back.

Robert Saleh is that CEO type of coach Joe Douglas should target. Saleh is the middle ground of Staley and Eberflus. He has the connections of Eberflus and the youth of Staley. Saleh brings juice and energy to the defense. One rumored connection is with Mike McDaniel, a rising offensive mind in San Francisco, who some believe could follow him as an OC wherever he choses to go. He is so intense that he runs the stadium stairs in order to get mentally prepared before games. Saleh is a fantastic coach and near the top of my board for prospective coaches. Saleh is a hot commodity, though, and there is a hometown connection with the Lions that could prove to be too much for the Jets to overcome.

New York Jets: Breaking down 3 confirmed head coaching candidates

New York Jets, Eric Bieniemy

Here we go, New York Jets fans! The coaching search has begun, and the Jets will look to hire their next head coach. The Adam Gase era is in the past, and the team will now look at guys who can lead the Jets for, hopefully, the next decade. Here are three of the most popular confirmed candidates so far, a summary of their background and how they could impact the team.

Brian Daboll OC Bills

Brian Daboll has an extensive coaching background. He has had the privilege to learn under two of the greatest coaches in all of football history at Alabama with Nick Saban and in New England with Bill Belichick. His history includes multiple roles on both sides of the role, but predominantly as an offensive coach.  The 45-year-old has been a coach in football since 1997 and in the pros since 2000. With over 20 years of knowledge, he has hit his stride in Buffalo. Daboll has transformed the Bills offense and completely shaped Josh Allen. When he inherited Allen, he was a raw player who still missed simple throws and needs grooming. Now, Allen looks like a top-five quarterback.

Daboll is a football guy. He is well-liked and well respected, and with the mentors he has had, he obviously knows the game well. Daboll is a hot commodity on the coaching market, and landing him will be tough if he is who the Jets end up liking most. Daboll seems to fit the leadership and culture-changing mold on the surface due to the impact he has had on the Bills offense, but with no past as a head coach, you have to wonder how he will do leading a roster of 53 men. Daboll is likely a front runner for multiple jobs, and it will be interesting to see if the Jets can get him in for at least one interview and potentially make a run at him.

Arthur Smith OC Titans

Arthur Smith did not have to be an NFL coach. The former college guard could have easily taken a role in the family business, FedEx. Smith’s father owns FedEx, but rather than pursue money, Smith pursued a passion and is doing a good job at it. Smith started coaching in 2006 as a grad assistant at his alma mater, UNC. He then carried that into jobs as a defensive assistant for the Washington Football Team and Ole Miss.

Since 2011,  Smith has been a coach on the Titans. Despite four regime changes, Smith has been the constant. Smith is highly respected and has taken his time moving up the ranks, learning, and not rushing anything. Then, when he saw Matt LaFleur heading to Green Bay, he jumped on an opportunity and approached Mike Vrabel about a promotion from Tight Ends Coach to Offensive Coordinator. Since then, the Titans offense hasn’t looked back. Ryan Tannehill is playing the best football of his career and has gone from a backup QB to a top 10 one. Not only that, but Derrick Henry is finally being used as the beast he is.

Arthur Smith is a go-getter and someone who is well-liked by his players. He commands respect and is a leader. As a former offensive lineman, he is sure to be someone who clicks with Joe Douglas. Smith has no previous head coaching experience, but his impact has been more apparent than that of Daboll on the offense. Smith is a highly respected coach and has been requested to interview for every opening. If the Jets can get a shot at him and he prefers to come here, I firmly believe he is a favorite to land this gig.

Eric Bieniemy OC Chiefs

Rounding out our list of most popular coaching candidates confirmed for an interview is perhaps the most popular one: Chiefs Offensive Coordinator and Super Bowl Champion coach Eric Bieniemy. Bieniemy has been a coach in the NFL since 2001, after taking two years off. He is a former pro running back and finished third place in the 1990n Heisman race. He has been an offensive coach and coordinator in both the college and pro ranks and has been a fixture on Andy Reid’s staff since 2013. Bieniemy is well-liked by his players and is highly regarded by Andy Reid. Bieniemy has reportedly played a key role in play-calling and in maintaining the offense.

Bieniemy is another real football guy. As another former player, there will be that admiration between him and Douglas. Here is the thing, I think their philosophies will lead to a massive disconnect. Where Smith and Daboll are more traditional football guys (Smith more than Daboll because of his playing days), Bieniemy is more modern. I think that Bieniemy will be a player first coach based on his reputation with the Chiefs and not the leader/CEO type the Jets need.

There are character issues with Bieniemy; he has faced harassment and assault allegations at multiple points in his playing and coaching career. He has also had a few issues driving, including a DUI in 2001. However, this was all 20 years ago, and Bieniemy strikes me as a guy who has turned over a new leaf. Still, there was a reason the Jets didn’t bring him back for a second interview a few years ago, and part of me wonders if it was due to the aforementioned character concerns. Nonetheless, Bieniemy has proved he deserves a shot as a head coach on the field, and if he interviews well and can explain his past, I think he ends up with a head coaching job; I just don’t think it will be for the Jets.