Report: Jets pursued coaches before firing Todd Bowles

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Remember when the Packers were criticized for firing coach Mike McCarthy with a month left in the season? As we argued at the time, that’s far better than the alternative.

The alternative is this: Working secretly behind the coach’s back to line up potential replacements before firing the head coach, finagling a head start on the process before severing ties with current coach.

Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports that the Jets did just that, and that the effort included a late November/early December meeting between CEO Christopher Johnson, now-former G.M. Mike Maccagnan, now-former V.P. of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger, and agent Erik Burkhardt. The goal was to discuss the possibility of hiring Kliff Kingsbury to become the team’s new head coach.

Mehta also reports that Johnson engaged in other efforts to explore replacement coaches without Maccagnan’s knowledge or involvement. Johnson used an intermediary to touch base with two “established head coaches” who would have had the power to keep or to fire Maccagan. (It’s unclear whether the “established head coaches” were coaching other NFL teams at the time; if that’s the case, it would open a separate can of worms for the Jets under the tampering policy.)

Moreover, Mehta confirms that the Jets also made overtures to Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh before firing Bowles. PFT reported in December that the Jets intended to make a run at Jim Harbaugh. Johnson quickly issued a statement denying that, but we stood by our report.

As Jets coach Adam Gase said last Thursday, none of this matters if the Jets win. And he’s right. If they keep losing, however, fans will continue to point to this and other evidence of dysfunction, forcing them at some point to do what not long ago would have been unthinkable: Count the days until Woody Johnson returns to reclaim day-to-day control of the team.

61 responses to “Report: Jets pursued coaches before firing Todd Bowles

  1. One thing that will destroy a franchise is the organization behind the players, and right now, Jets aren’t looking good.

  2. Im not sure why Bowles got fired, Maccagnan and Johnson gave him no tools to work with. always felt like he was stuck in a lame duck situation.

  3. There’s nothing wrong with exploring potential replacements and generating a list of candidates. It’s not like they interviewed or hired someone before firing Bowles.

    Smart businesses just don’t fire people without having a plan in place. Sheesh.

  4. Cleveland says,” thanks raiders, for making us not look completely incompetent. ”
    Raiders say,” thanks jets, for making us not look completely incompetent. “

  5. Hmmmm… I’m starting to think that the Jets’ CEO doesn’t know what he’s doing.

  6. Worse? No! Best to figure out if you can find anyone you think you might like better and if they might be available/interested before you fire the one driver you have, or else you could be even further up the creek you’re in. This is actually the most sensible thing I’ve heard the Jets do! And you know Jerrah does it every year before saying he’s 100% behind Garrett.

  7. In the sane world without tampering rules, this is known as smart. Firing a key employee without a strategy in place moving forward is poor planning.

  8. Is this cool to do so? Probably not but I would not be shocked if this happened more frequently and we just do not know about it. But I would say that if you get to this point, then it is best for everyone if you just move on from the guy.

  9. That’s just dirty. Be adults & be upfront about everything. It show a tremendous lack of character of certain folks in the Jets organization.

  10. That’s just smart business and it’s the way they’ve been doing it for decades. Why would you fire an employee before you knew you could hire someone better? If the Patriots did that we’d be saying what a brilliant move it was.

  11. This further-demonstrates, which was previously very well-documented, how hiring Joe Douglas from Philly is no guarantee to the organization’s overall health. He certainly will help and upgrade what he can do, but he’s not team president and he’s not ownership… Douglas can’t do anything on those two fronts.

  12. Is Chris Johnson really qualified to run an NFL franchise? I think that answer is blatantly obvious. The jets have actually compiled a young, talented roster over the past couple of years and have some foundation pieces. That is all in jeopardy now if the jets can’t find a suitable GM, which seems like a long shot considering he will be forced to be tethered to an existing head coach.

  13. Agree with the comment above. Isn’t this one of those many things in the NFL that are technically not supposed to happen but always do anyway? Like negotiating contracts before they are supposed to, “interview” a minority candidate, etc.

  14. “It’s unclear whether the “established head coaches” were coaching other NFL teams at the time; if that’s the case, it would open a separate can of worms for the Jets under the tampering policy.”

    Of course they tampered, they know Goodell at worst won’t do anything but impose a small fine on his former employer.

    Can’t tamper with people under contract to another team.

  15. The practice of firing a coach with no idea who will replace him has always struck me as stupid. It’s just good business to see if there is someone better you can realistically acquire. Then you can have a seamless transition.
    An organization that decapitates itself and then looks around for another head seems clueless to me.

  16. Ah, so quick to forget that Bowles fired OC John Morton and surrounded himself with inexperienced coaches before his final year which left the Jets with no in-house interim HC candidate. But yes more fake outrage over the 24-40 HC/GM with no playoff appearances getting fired please.

  17. phinfan says: “Stay Classy Jets”
    —————–

    Hours after firing Adam Gase on Dec 31, you team requested and got permission to interview five NFL assistants – Vic Fangio, Eric Bieniemy, Brian Flores, Mike Munchak and Kris Richards.

    How exactly did you think the Dolphins came up with that list without doing the same background work the Jets did here???

  18. “How exactly did you think the Dolphins came up with that list without doing the same background work the Jets did here???”

    There’s a difference between compiling a list of candidates and asking the team they are currently under contract with permission to employ them.

    Violating the CBA to secretly reach out to someone through a 3rd party is what the Fins did not do. Other teams have lost draft picks for tampering, KC I believe most recently, while the Jets get minimal fines for doing so because of Goodell protecting his former employer.

  19. No employer I ever worked for… maybe except for when I worked at Burger King 25 years ago but that’s all I can think of.

    ——
    joetoronto says:
    May 30, 2019 at 10:23 am
    What employer doesn’t do this?

  20. No, its much worse to not do anything and have no plan at all. The Jets are incompetent for sure but preparing to fire the worse coach in the league by making phone calls and having meetings is not on the list of problems.

  21. Why the Jets would do the same thing a then-dysfunctional Miami team did in 2011–trying to hire Harbaugh while Sparano was still HC–is beyond me….well not really…the Jets are gonna do what the Jets are gonna do. Didn’t work for Fins and it won’t work for Jets either.

  22. Can you remember when Dallas was showing Jimmie Johnson around their facilities while Tom Landry was still the head coach???….All of this is nothing new!!!!

  23. The Dolphins have done just about all the things the Jets have done this offseason. It just took the Dolphins many seasons to achieve this much dysfunction…

  24. I don’t see this as all that terrible. The team had decided to make a move. and they decided to finish out the season with what they had in place. They trusted the people in the room and it never leaked so I don’t see any problem with discussing contingency plans and potential options. As long as they didn’t reach out to candidates, really it seems like responsible upper management. However Adam Gasse seems like a very strange choice. That one does make me question management

  25. Living proof of another dysfunctional franchise, and sadly this is happening more and more in every sport. It’s also proof that you don’t need smarts to own, run, or manage a sports franchise, just the money.

    Of course it smart to have a plan. I doubt Chris Johnson has one. You also need people capable of carrying out your plan. I don’t see any people in place. Gase’s record says he not your man. The Jets can’t find anybody capable to take the GM’s position. Nobody want to take on that job without the power to hire and fire his own coaching staff.

    The very sad in all of this, is the fact the Jets have a lot of good young players!

  26. This division will be so much more interesting when the Patriots are not coached by Belichick….

  27. Classy or not, it doesn’t matter, the Jets roster is vastly improved over previous years, they have atleast 6 potential Pro bowlers , an up and coming QB, and a pretty damn loyal fan base, let management be dysfunctional! They are not out ther playing on Sundays. I am not a Gase fan, but, with that roster he doesn’t have to be brilliant, just minimally competent. The Jets will be in every game they play this year, despite management!

  28. I’m sure Bowles knew even if not officially. Papers are read, reporters ask questions, TV and radio is heard. Also looking at your record doesn’t help either

    Unnamed people drop hints to media all the time to set the stage for future actions. I’m sure the writers here have had their share of them.

    I’m just surprised Jeff Fisher wasn’t picked. Go big, I always say.

  29. This is basic logic. Why would you not ensure you have a better alternative before you fire someone you need to pay for the next year or two or whatever? What do you think they do with players? Oh we need to release this linebacker and hope we find a suitable replacement. NO, they talk to free agents, draft-eligibles all the time looking to upgrade. Why should coaches be any different? Or GMs for that matter. Any worthwhile organization would always be looking to upgrade at all times if one is necessary.

  30. kennypowers1078 says:
    May 30, 2019 at 12:58 pm
    This division will be so much more interesting when the Patriots are not coached by Belichick….

    1 0 Rate This

    ——————-

    Or BB as the personnel manager. The best ever, not even close. That’s the real secret.

  31. tylawspick6 says:
    May 30, 2019 at 1:15 pm
    kennypowers1078 says:
    May 30, 2019 at 12:58 pm
    This division will be so much more interesting when the Patriots are not coached by Belichick….

    1 0 Rate This

    ——————-

    Or BB as the personnel manager. The best ever, not even close. That’s the real secret.

    ————————
    Only if he had the authority with no questions from anyone. This last draft “THEY NEED A TE!!!!!”
    Maybe they do need one, but no one is going to tell him when and who to pick. Not a lot of ownerships have the stones to let it happen his way. “Yeah but….we…fans…tickets….respect…..” which at least from what everyone knows he give spit about publicly.

  32. Let’s all keep in mind that the President of the United States picked the owner of this disaster to be the ambassador to our closest ally. We live in an era of mind-blowing stupidity.

  33. The Jets like most of the NFL are copy cats, but they consistently act like the Browns used to. Fire your GM after the draft & hire Gase who reminds me a lot of Josh McDaniels. A young punk who “thinks” he knows the NFL while vet coaches like Mike Shanahan and Brian Billick can’t get a sniff.

  34. They should have fired him after the game against the Dolphins where Miami couldn’t move the ball on offense but still won the game due to the center flinging the ball everywhere except Darnold’s hands and throwing the entire offense out of sync. He allowed this to go on for over half the game and waited until it was too late to pull him. They should have pulled the trigger then or after the first Buffalo game where they got blown out by Matt Barkley!

    After that the entire team just went into the tank and didn’t show any signs of life until the final month of the season. The biggest problems with Bowles was the inability to adjust, relying too heavily on mediocre, underperforming vets instead of developing Rookies, keeping Kacy Rogers on as D.C. no matter how many times he got exposed and arguably worst of all, just not instilling any type of killer instinct. I saw more blown 4th quarter leads in one season with him then I had in Rex Ryan’s entire tenure(it seemed like it at least). How often does anyone see the Pats blow a 4th quarter lead? Not too often, right? Bowles just lacked that personality trait.

  35. I wish the Johnson family could run a franchise as well as they can over saturate the midwest with opioids.

  36. Manish should be fired this guy is a terrible reporter who has more unnamed sources than anyone else what a joke that his reports get published by profootball talk I thought u guys were better than that

  37. streetyson says:
    May 30, 2019 at 10:39 am
    Worse? No! Best to figure out if you can find anyone you think you might like better and if they might be available/interested before you fire the one driver you have, or else you could be even further up the creek you’re in. This is actually the most sensible thing I’ve heard the Jets do! And you know Jerrah does it every year before saying he’s 100% behind Garrett.

    ————————————-

    There are always coaches available. Unless you KNOW you are hiring the next Lombardi/ Walsh/ Belichick for the next 15 years (and nobody ever does, including Robert Kraft), the only thing you are doing is damaging your reputation as an owner a coach can trust. I’d be very wary if I were a respected coach (e.g., Harbaugh) and an owner asked me if I were interested in coaching his team while there was already a coach in place.

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