- Last Updated: 4:34 AM, January 17, 2013
- Posted: 2:52 AM, January 17, 2013
The long and winding road to find a new Jets general manager finally could be reaching its end.
The Jets expect to hire a GM today or tomorrow, according to league sources. The team has been searching for Mike Tannenbaum’s replacement since firing him Dec. 31.
The Jets have interviewed at least 10 candidates and brought back a few this week for second interviews. Steelers executive Omar Khan, Seahawks executive John Idzik and current Jets assistant GM Scott Cohen have had second interviews and are finalists for the job, according to a source. There could be other finalists as well in what was described as a “fluid” situation. Idzik interviewed yesterday and Khan was in on Tuesday.
Khan and Idzik come from the business side of their respective front offices, something that is going to draw harsh criticism if the Jets hire one of them. Tannenbaum’s area of expertise was from the salary cap/contract negotiation side. Initially, the Jets were expected to hire someone with more of a personnel background to fix their talent-depleted roster.
Cohen is the only one of the reported finalists who comes from the scouting side. But Cohen has been Tannenbaum’s right-hand man since 2008, and it will be a tough sell to the fans that someone who worked so closely with Tannenbaum is going to change the organization’s direction.
The Jets initially interviewed four candidates who had scouting backgrounds — Dave Caldwell, Tom Gamble, Marc Ross and Cohen. They reportedly were prepared to offer Caldwell, the Falcons director of player personnel, a contract that included a $1 million housing allowance, but he chose to take the Jaguars GM job instead.
The Jets then opened up their search again and brought in candidates with varied backgrounds. Idzik and Khan were both in that group.
The Jets also have been talking to people around the league to gather information and ideas on how to go forward as an organization. One of those people is Jack Mula, the former Patriots general counsel-player personnel, according to sources. The Jets wanted Mula’s opinion on organizational structure. Mula worked for the Patriots from 1999-2008, winning three rings working alongside coach Bill Belichick.
Former Bears GM Jerry Angelo’s name had gained some momentum in recent days, but he reportedly is not among the finalists.
Idzik is the Seahawks vice president of football administration. His father of the same name was the Jets offensive coordinator from 1976-79. Idzik has worked for the Buccaneers and Cardinals. He has a mathematics degree from Dartmouth.
Before coming to the Jets, Cohen was the director of pro personnel for the Eagles.
Khan, 35, is the Steelers director of business and football administration. His background is in contracts, but Steelers GM Kevin Colbert said yesterday he has football knowledge, too.
“He’s very knowledgeable about how this business works — I mean the football business, not just the business side of it,” Colbert told reporters Wednesday in Pittsburgh. “He’s been very strong in salary cap administration, but he’s also observed and learned a lot about how the player personnel side of things works.”
* Appearing on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL,” Jets linebacker Bart Scott said the Jets’ problems in 2012 were simple and unrelated to any chemistry problems.
“You can ask anybody in there,” Scott said. “We were together. There was never any complaining … You know what the problem was with the New York Jets this year? We didn’t have enough quality players to win. Simple as that.”
Scott also said he will have surgery tomorrow on his big right toe.