The Jets have named their next general manager, but they are still looking for the man that will succeed Rex Ryan as head coach.
The team made the almost inevitable official on Tuesday: former Texans director of college scouting Mike Maccagnan was hired as the Jets’ GM.
“We interviewed a number of impressive, qualified candidates, but Mike Maccagnan clearly stood out,” owner Woody Johnson said in a statement. “Mike’s attention to detail, strong personnel background and collaborative approach to evaluating players made it clear that he is the right choice to be the next General Manager of the New York Jets.”
Maccagnan was the only general manager candidate to receive a second interview and had remained in New Jersey since that second interview last Friday.
One of Maccagnan’s first acts of business will be to work with Johnson and consultants Charley Casserly and Ron Wolf to hire the team’s next head coach. He was actually working on it before he was officially named GM, as Maccagnan was in on the team’s second interview with Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles on Tuesday prior to being hired, according to a source. Bowles dined with Johnson, Maccagnan, Casserly and Wolf on Tuesday evening, according to a source.
If the Jets want Bowles, they might have to move fast. Bowles, another hot candidate, spent the night in New Jersey but is set for an interview with the Falcons on Wednesday. Bowles is set to be at the Jets facility tomorrow before a tentatively scheduled morning flight to Atlanta, according to a source.
Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is the other favorite to land the Jets job. The team is serious enough about Quinn that they considered flying to Seattle if the Seahawks lost to the Panthers on Saturday to try and lock him down, according to sources.
Maccagnan and the new head coach will both report directly to Johnson, which is a change from the past, when the head coach reported to the GM. Maccagnan will pick the 53-man roster while the head coach will have final say on who plays.
All three of Maccagnan, Bowles and Quinn are New Jersey natives.
Maccagnan had been the director of college scouting in Houston since 2011 and was the assistant director of college scouting before that. He worked for Washington as a scout from 1994-2000 and began working for the Texans in 2000. He worked under Casserly at both organizations. Casserly recused himself from Maccagnan’s initial interview, according to a source.
“Mike Maccagnan is an outstanding football man, one who is highly organized, and an excellent evaluator,” Casserly said in a statement. “He is very thorough in his preparation and will do a terrific job for the Jets.”
“We have a solid foundation of players and a state-of-the-art facility in one of the most exciting and dynamic areas in America,” Maccagnan said in a statement. “As with all teams, there are some areas we need to address, but we’re going to hire the right head coach, evaluate our personnel, and work together to build a football operation to get the New York Jets back on the winning track.”
The Jets fired John Idzik and Ryan on Dec. 29 following a dismal 4-12 season. Idzik lasted just two seasons in New York and by the end fans were clamoring for him to be fired.
In Maccagnan the Jets have the opposite of Idzik from a résumé standpoint. The majority of Idzik’s experience came on the salary cap management side while Maccagnan comes with a scouting background, which Johnson said before the search the team was probably looking for.
Maccagnan has a reputation of being a quiet and hard worker who specializes in personnel evaluation.
One knock against Maccagnan is the recent Texans drafts, which have been spotty. The team has had only drafted one Pro Bowler in the last five years — though an excellent one: J.J. Watt. However, Watt was selected prior to Maccagnan’s promotion in 2011. The Texans did have a good first-round pick in 2013, when they selected DeAndre Hopkins 27th overall.
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