The New York Jets waited a little over 24 hours after their season ended to fire head coach Todd Bowles after four seasons.
It was a decision that was seen coming from a mile away as Bowles led the Jets to a 4-12 record in 2018 on the heels of two-straight 5-11 campaigns. It was a disappointing regression for a team that was expected to take a small step forward after drafting quarterback Sam Darnold while improving the defense with the likes of veteran cornerback Trumaine Johnson.
Instead, the Jets looked uninspired for most of the season under Bowles, which was once the former head coach’s most redeeming quality. Despite finishing six games under .500 last season, it was believed Bowles’ relationship in the locker room was positive, which was a large reason as to why the Jets overachieved last year with veteran backup passer Josh McCown leading the offense.
Despite a 14-34 record over the past three years, the Jets job is still an attractive one for free-agent head coaches. And management is wasting no time in accruing candidates and interviews with some of the top available talents.
One thing is clear though: The Jets look to be honed in on offense.
Per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, the Jets will meet with Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy on Wednesday. During his first year as a coordinator of an NFL team, Bieniemy has helped first-year starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense become one of the most explosive attacks in the league.
His offense ranks first in the NFL in total yards and points while Mahomes passed for over 5,000 yards and a league-leading 50 passing touchdowns.
That kind of output with a young quarterback obviously has the Jets dreaming of a scenario in which he can bring that kind of production to Darnold’s game.
The Jets are also expected to interview former Green Bay Packers boss Mike McCarthy, per Rapoport, after he was fired following 13 years with the franchise. With a Super Bowl win under his belt, McCarthy’s 125 victories in Green Bay ranks behind only the legendary Curly Lambeau.
But two-straight losing seasons saw McCarthy axed before the 2018 season ended as a frayed relationship with star quarterback Aaron Rodgers saw the Packers crash and burn. Regardless of their issues, McCarthy is still the man responsible for helping Rodgers in becoming an elite NFL quarterback.
Rounding out an early trio of interviewees is USC offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury, according to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports.
Kingsbury is regarded as one of the most creative offensive virtuosos in college football after working with the University of Houston and Texas A&M as a coordinator before leading Texas Tech for six seasons as head coach. He’s helped develop the likes of Mahomes, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, and Denver Broncos passer Case Keenum, which would only provide a wealth of knowledge to help Darnold reach new heights.
Why would they choose the Jets, though?
Not only does it provide the promise of coaching in the largest sports market in the world near New York City, but the Jets will also have an abundance of money to spend this offseason to surround the promising Darnold with.
According to Spotrac.com, the Jets have $106 million freed up to work with this winter. Only the Indianapolis Colts ($122 million) have more.
That could mean that the Jets might make a serious run at free-agent running back Le’Veon Bell, considered one of the top two-way rushers in the NFL before an unceremonious split with the Pittsburgh Steelers that saw him sit out the entire 2018 season.