Johnson: GM Maccagnan Will Assist In Head Coach Hiring Process, Adds Previous NFL Head Coaching Experience Not A Must

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — No rest for the really weary.

Less than a day removed from their awful season mercifully come to an end and making Todd Bowles pay for it with his job, the Jets started their search for a new head coach.

According to the NFL Network, the Jets requested interviews with three assistant coaches, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken and Dallas Cowboys passing game coordinator/defensive backs coach Kris Richard. If granted permission, the Jets may have to wait to speak to both Bieniemy and Richard because their teams are preparing for playoff games this weekend.

Todd Monken

Todd Monken (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Monken, presumably, could be interviewed soon because the Bucs missed the playoffs, but he could also be a candidate for Tampa’s next head coach following the firing of Dirk Koetter on Sunday night.

The Jets also reportedly have interest in former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and former Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell.

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Speaking to reporters on Monday, Jets owner Christopher Johnson made it clear the current organizational structure will stay in place. The new head coach will answer to him, not general manager Mike Maccagnan. Johnson said Maccagnan and VP of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger will assist in the hiring process.

The coach that puts pen to paper will inherit a franchise quarterback-in-waiting in Sam Darnold, more than $100 million in salary cap space and the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 draft.

“This is a good landing spot for a coach,” Johnson said. “There are a number of reasons why the Jets are a good place to be right now. That may not have been true a few years ago. This is a good place to be.

“If you can make it here, you’re a freakin’ legend,” Johnson added. “That counts for something.”

Johnson shouldered the blame for the Jets’ 4-12 record in 2018, saying, “The buck stops with me. I think I let the fans down, and I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure we get to and win the Super Bowl. That’s not just hyperbole. The fans deserve better, and I’m going to try to find a head coach who can get us there.”

No matter who the Jets interview first, second or third, they are probably going to speak to many candidates. Johnson said prior head coaching experience is not a prerequisite for the job.

“I think that helps, but that won’t be the be-all and end-all of this search,” Johnson said, adding he’d “absolutely” consider hiring a college coach.

According to the Daily News, the Jets requested a sit-down with Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell, but it was declined.

Though Johnson earlier denied interest, it is believed the Jets also would like to speak to Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh.

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Though conventional wisdom suggests the Jets want a more offensive-oriented head coach, following years of defensive assistants getting the gig and then neglecting the offense, Maccagnan told reporters on Monday he wants a staff that can properly develop Darnold.

“We have some good pieces in place,” Maccagnan said. “We are well-situated in terms of salary cap and roster flexibility, so I think we can adjust to different coaches, different styles of scheme. … We have a very good young quarterback in Sam Darnold going forward, so I think it’s going to be an attractive job. So we’ll just see if we can find the right candidate for it and who that is.”

The veteran executive intends to do his part with the war chest the Jets have amassed.

“I think we are going to be an active team in free agency,” Maccagnan said. “I think like everything else make smart investments in right players both from a value standpoint, but I think we have a lot of ability to help this roster going forward and are excited about that.”

The No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 draft, Darnold experienced predictable ups and down during his first season in the NFL, completing 58 percent of his passes for 2,865 yards, with 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 13 games.

Following a foot injury that forced him to miss three games, Darnold played his best football of the season, throwing for 931 yards with six TDs and just one pick over the Jets’ final four games.

Johnson said any candidate the Jets interview will also speak to Darnold, but the young signal-caller will have no say in the hiring process.