If Rex Ryan wants to return to the Jets for what would be a seventh season in 2015, conventional wisdom is the head coach will have to make the playoffs this year.
But Metro New York has learned it isn’t “postseason or bust” for Ryan this year if he wants to extend his stay in New York.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a team source with knowledge of the situation said Ryan “isn’t on any hot seat” this season, despite the fact his Jets haven’t had a winning record the past three seasons let alone made the playoffs.
Ryan defied most outlooks last year with an 8-8 record as his Jets played meaningful football into December. In the 2013 preseason, he was a betting favorite to be the first head coach fired. Now he’s back for a sixth year.
General manager John Idzik and owner Woody Johnson announced to much fanfare in the locker room following the final game that Ryan would be back in 2014.
“Rex isn’t on any hot seat and there is no playoff mandate even though he thinks and management thinks we can make the playoffs. That’s the goal every year,” the source told Metro. “But it isn’t postseason or bust for him. There are a lot of factors that go into it.”
Ryan led the Jets twice to within a game of the Super Bowl in his first two years as a head coach. But he’s fallen on hard times since then with a cumulative 22-26 record in the last three seasons.
With Idzik in his second year, the two could be linked for the long haul.
“He’s very much in the second year of a rebuilding project,” the source said. “There’s an understanding about that, so it isn’t as simple as, ‘Make the playoffs or you get fired, Rex.’ It isn’t that simple. There’s a good working relationship with John, they get along very well and Rex is clearly on John’s page. To say that he’s on thin ice or there’s a playoff mandate simply isn’t true. Far more goes into the decision than that. He won’t be judged solely on the basis of if he led the team to the playoffs or not.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.