The clock is ticking on New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles as it is only a matter of time before his four-year run leading Gang Green comes to an end.
Due to a lack of suitable replacements within the team’s current coaching staff, it looks like the 55-year-old will remain at his position until the end of a 2018 season that has fallen off the rails quickly.
After starting 3-3, the Jets have lost five straight games with much of the blame being placed on Bowles’ shoulders. The ire directed his way has been especially bad these past two games, a blowout 41-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills before rolling over in the second half on Sunday against the New England Patriots.
Once Bowles is shown the door — right now it seems more of a question of when rather than if — Jets management will attempt to make the head-coaching vacancy look attractive to possible candidates.
It will be difficult, but there are a few things trending in the right direction.
Rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, currently injured, is the future of the franchise under center. He is expected to receive a lot of help during the offseason as the Jets have approximately $90 million in cap space. That could yield a high-end talent such as running back Le’Veon Bell and more.
With the Patriots stronghold on the division looking as though it’s loosening with each passing week, the AFC East could be up for grabs in the coming years. One that leaves the door open for a properly-built Jets team to take over.
There will be no shortage of promising candidates available this winter, which will increase the Jets’ chances of landing the right guy. A few months separates management from having a concrete list of names, but here are a few that might be on the team’s radar come this offseason.
Possible Jets head coaching candidates
Pete Carmichael (New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator)
Carmichael has run the Saints offense for the past 10 seasons now and continuously has the unit near the very top of the NFL’s ranks. It’s not that hard to do when Drew Brees is your quarterback, but Carmichael’s offense has ranked in the league’s top-six in yards and top-11 in points every year since his arrival. The Saints own the NFL’s No. 1 scoring offense this season that makes them one of the favorites in the NFC.
Jim Harbaugh (University of Michigan head coach)
Jim Harbaugh’s inability to beat Ohio State could spell the end of his time in Ann Arbor after four seasons. The 54-year-old has brought about a resurgence at Michigan, although they’ve been unable make the College Football Playoff during his time. A high-energy coach with previous head-coaching experience at the NFL level (he led the 49ers to an NFC Championship in 2012), could help with the culture change around the Jets locker room.
John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens head coach)
Jim’s brother, John, is expected to part ways with the Ravens after this season despite still being in the playoff hunt at 6-5. Harbaugh has won a Super Bowl, defeating Jim’s 49ers in 2012. A head coach with a proven track record could bring some much-needed stability to the fledgling Jets.
Matt Campbell (Iowa State head coach)
The 38-year-old Campbell is a hidden star in the Big 12 as he’s taken an Iowa State program overshadowed by the likes of Oklahoma and is on the verge of recording two-straight eight-win seasons. He’s not flashy, but he’s an offensive-minded coach that is far more disciplined than the likes of Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley or Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur. That could be exactly what Darnold needs as he continues developing.
John DeFilippo (Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator)
It’s noteworthy enough that DeFilippo has done well taking over for Pat Shurmur as Vikings offensive coordinator this year. What should be even more appealing to the Jets is that he helped develop Carson Wentz from a raw rookie to MVP candidate in just two seasons as Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach. Darnold is the Jets’ top priority which should make DeFilippo’s ability to work with young quarterbacks a must-watch this offseason.