The search for a general manager continues for the Jets with owner Woody Johnson voicing his support for a slow, methodical search.
The Jets announced last Monday they had parted ways with Mike Tannenbaum after 15 years with the organization, including the last six years spent in the role of general manager. Tannenbaum had some success, including consecutive AFC Championship game appearances in 2009 and 2010, but the last two years the Jets posted a 14-18 record and missed the playoffs both years.
Along with head coach Rex Ryan, Johnson spoke to the media in a Tuesday press conference, nine days after the end of the season. He underscored his admiration for Tannenbaum even as he cited a vote for change.
“I met Mike the first day I became involved with the New York Jets. I have a lot of respect for Mike,” Johnson said. “Mike was a very hard worker and diligent and all that but I felt we needed to go in a different direction to improve this team and get us to where we want to be. I’m never going to say anything negative about Mike because the positives outweigh the negatives.”
One of the top candidates for the job is Dave Caldwell, the director of player personnel for the Falcons. Caldwell flew into Teterboro Airport on Tuesday morning to meet with Johnson as he interviews for the job. In addition, the Jets seem to be heavily interested in 49ers director of player personnel Tom Gamble, who has emerged as a front runner for the position.
According to the owner, his head coach is part of the search process and his retention is part of the deal for anyone replacing Tannenbaum.
“That was [part of it]; I believe in Rex. With head coaches I’m always part of that search,” Johnson said. “The relationship with a head coach and an owner is critical. The relationship with a head coach and a GM is also critical. That’s why Rex is part of this and he’ll get to know the general manager [candidates].”
It all makes for a wildly unpredictable offseason. Rarely does a general manager get hired from outside an organization with a head coach already in place. It doesn’t seem to faze Ryan, who was especially fiery on Tuesday.
“I’m pretty sure I’ll have the same exact agenda as the general managers and that’s we want to win,” Ryan said. “And I don’t know who the general manager is but I can promise you he’ll want to win as bad as I do. … This is a new beginning, just like it will be a new beginning for the general manager who will be hired.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for all your offseason news.