Why Jets job isn’t as appealing as other NFL coaching vacancies

The Jets are one of six NFL teams now searching for a new head coach. All of the jobs have appeal, and all have warts. There are only 32 of these jobs, so it is silly to think of any of them as undesirable. But some are more appealing than others. 

After speaking to people around the NFL in various roles, here is how we would rank the job openings.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

2020 record: 1-15

Record in last 5 years: 25-55

2021 projected cap space: $74.4 million

2021 Draft picks: 11

This is a job where you get a completely clean start. A new general manager is coming in, you have the No. 1 pick in the draft to take Clemson star Trevor Lawrence to be your quarterback and there is plenty of cap space to improve the roster quickly. Jacksonville has 11 picks total, four in the first two rounds.

Owner Shad Khan said he wants to retain control over the roster, which will need some clarification for people, but Khan has shown he is a patient owner. Gus Bradley and Doug Marrone both got plenty of time as head coach and former GM Dave Caldwell survived a lot of bad years.

2. Los Angeles Chargers

2020 record: 7-9

Record in last 5 years: 38-42

2021 projected cap space: $31.3 million

2021 Draft picks: 8

This team looks ready to win now. That is a good and a bad thing. Yes, you are getting quarterback Justin Herbert, who had an outstanding season, and the team has stars like Joey Bosa and Derwin James on the roster. That roster does not need as much work as the others on this list. What some people mentioned, though, is the idea that Anthony Lynn was just fired after a 7-9 season. Are the expectations going to be too high there? 

There is also a question about GM Tom Telesco, who is now going on his third coach. 

3. Houston Texans

2020 record: 4-12

Record in last 5 years: 38-42

2021 projected cap space: $17.7 million over the cap

2021 Draft picks: 8

Deshaun Watson makes this job one that coaches desire. Watson is a franchise quarterback, checking off a huge box for any potential coaches. Houston has talent on offense but needs work on defense. The downside of this job is you don’t have many assets to improve the roster with. Houston has no first- or second-round picks and they are going to need to make some moves to get under the cap.

4. Atlanta Falcons

2020 record: 4-12

Record in last 5 years: 39-41

2021 projected cap space: $24.4 million over the cap

2021 Draft picks:

There are a wide variety of opinions on the Atlanta job. Some people look at quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones as pieces you can still make a run with. Others view their contracts as obstacles that will prevent a needed roster overhaul. Owner Arthur Blank is considered a good owner who is willing to spend but some coaches believe he is too hands on. 

5. New York Jets

2020 record: 2-14

Record in last 5 years: 23-57

2021 projected cap space: $72.6 million

2021 Draft picks: 9

There are many people who feel the Jets job is the worst of the bunch, but I think it edges out the Detroit job. The Jets have the worst roster of all six teams with an opening, but they do have assets to improve that roster with two first-round picks in each of the next two drafts and cap space. Expectations will also be low for the next coach after how unpopular Adam Gase was.

There are major questions about ownership. Coaches and their agents are concerned about Woody Johnson’s return and what that means. There are questions of how willing the Johnsons will be to spend in free agency, too. Some coaches worry about the New York market and unreasonable expectations for a quick turnaround.

Jets coaching search NFL
Woody Johnson
Bill Kostroun

6. Detroit Lions

2020 record: 5-11

Record in last 5 years: 32-47-1

2021 projected cap space: $12.5 million

2021 Draft picks:

Detroit has not won a playoff game in 29 years. It is a tough place to win. Matthew Stafford turns 33 this offseason. The new coach is going to have to decide whether to make one more run with Stafford or try to move on. There is also concern about the influence team president Rod Wood has.

New York Post

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