With Gase’s time with “Gang Green” going about as well as most people initially predicted that it would after his unimpressive stint with the rival Miami Dolphins, Jets chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson formally announced that New York will be heading into a different direction ahead of the 2021-22 campaign with the 2020-21 regular season now over.
While such a move by the Jets hardly comes as a surprise considering New York wrapped up the regular season with the second-worst record in the entire NFL, Gase went from having one foot out the door to officially being unemployed. With Gase out and a newcomer slated to take over along the sideline for the Jets prior to next season, it now remains to be seen as to how New York proceeds with its looming hire.
Whoever ultimately lands this job will walk into a unique situation as the Jets currently own the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft with a decision needing to be made under center.
Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy
After winning the Super Bowl as the offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs just a season ago, Eric Bieniemy surprisingly did not become a NFL head coach this past offseason. Considered to be one of the top candidates on the market this last time around, there is no doubt that Bieniemy is the name at the top of most team’s list at the present moment. Although Bieniemy is still leading a Kansas City offense that continued to thrive in 2020-21 as the defending Super Bowl Champion Chiefs have claimed the top seed in the AFC, it shouldn’t be long until other franchises join the Jets and come calling with their respective head coaching vacancies. Even though other suitors like the Houston Texans, Detroit Lions and possibly the Los Angeles Chargers surely slated to engage Bieniemy, perhaps the intrigue of having quarterback Sam Darnold and left tackle Mekhi Becton already in place alongside a somewhat formidable defense could lure the Chiefs offensive coordinator to East Rutherford — not to mention the fact that the struggling AFC East franchise remains in line to pick second in 2021.
San Francisco 49ers Defensive Coordinator Robert Saleh
If Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is the hottest candidate out there at the moment, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh isn’t too far behind. Obviously a more defensive-minded head coach than Bieniemy, it is entirely possible that the Jets let other suiotors duke it out for the Chiefs offensive coordinator as New York swoops in to secure Saleh’s services.
With the Jets finding themselves in the unique position of employing quarterback Sam Darnold while also possessing the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, perhaps general manager Joe Douglas will focus on the structure of the offense while a candidate like Saleh reboots the team’s defensive core. Not only is Saleh surely one of the top defensive minds in the league today, in addition to the fact that he is one of the most well-rounded coaches of any kind, but he has infamously done more with less over the course of the last few seasons and especially in 2020-21. The 49ers notably won a NFC title in 2019 en route to the Super Bowl, though San Francisco would then promptly encounter a slew of injuries throughout its roster this time around. Only winning six games while playing in the toughest division in all of football, the 49ers still came to play week-in and week-out, something that Saleh definitely had a hand in.
Tennessee Titans Offensive Coordinator Arthur Smith
The dark horse Jets candidate of the upcoming offseason, Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith has spent quite a few years down in Nashville — though it might be time to make a move elsewhere in order to receive a much-desereved promotion. With Titans head coach Mike Vrabel firmly in place in Tennessee and the team’s former Tennessee offensive coordinator in Matt LaFleur already becoming a head coach with the Green Bay Packers, perhaps Smith will be the next one to take a leap from Nashville. Although Smith only recently became the Titans offensive coordinator with LaFleur departing for Green Bay ahead of last season, he has quickly risen to the top of the profession by creating one prolific offense in Tennessee.
Whether it is quarterback Ryan Tannehill slinging it to wide receivers A.J. Brown and Corey Davis or Pro Bowl running back Derrick Henry leading the league in rushing in both of Smith’s seasons at the helm, including a 2,000-yard effort in 2020-21, this up-and-coming candidate could be given a chance by the lowly New York Jets, a team looking to turn things around in a hurry.