FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The New York Jets are expected to hire Adam Gase as their new head coach, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington.
The Jets reached out to Gase soon after he was fired by the Miami Dolphins on Dec. 31. He was only 23-25 in three seasons, but he dominated the Jets, winning five of six meetings.
Gase would become the Jets’ first head coach since Bill Parcells (1997) with NFL head coaching experience. He also would fill the need for an offensive-minded coach, something they haven’t had since Rich Kotite (1995-1996). Gase is also expected to be the Jets’ primary playcaller.
It was an exhaustive process that included countless discussions, but sources told Darlington that Jets CEO Christopher Johnson took a phone call on Tuesday night from an especially impressive reference who advocated for Gase: Peyton Manning.
With a potential franchise player in Sam Darnold, the Jets wanted a coach with a background in developing quarterbacks. Gase has worked with many, most notably Manning, who set passing records as the Denver Broncos‘ quarterback in 2013 with Gase as the offensive coordinator.
Multiple sources told Darlington that the Jets wanted to make sure they got the right person to help Darnold, and the QB believes they did.
Darnold didn’t impose his opinion on general manager Mike Maccagnan or the team’s ownership, but after speaking with Gase via FaceTime on Monday night, he personally felt like Gase was the right guy, sources said.
The Jets’ hierarchy opted for Gase over former Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy and fast-rising college coach Matt Rhule of Baylor.
Gase was considered a rising star in 2016, when he took over the Dolphins and led them to a 10-6 record and their first playoff berth since 2008, but the team regressed over the next two seasons.
He was hailed as an offensive mastermind, but the Dolphins never finished better than 17th in scoring or 24th in yards during his three-year tenure. Instability at the quarterback position was a factor, as Ryan Tannehill played in only 24 of 48 games due to injuries.
After a 3-0 start this season, the Dolphins stumbled to a 7-9 record, due in large part to an offense that ranked 31st in yards.
The relationship between Gase and owner Stephen Ross eroded toward the end of the season, with Gase rebuffing Ross’ recent desire for him to give up control of the 53-man roster, Darlington reported. At one point, Gase yelled at Ross, according to the Miami Herald.
With the Jets, Gase wouldn’t have control of the roster. That belongs to Maccagnan, who arrived with Todd Bowles in 2015 and managed to avoid the axe. Maccagnan and Bowles both reported directly to Johnson, and the same power structure will be in place with Maccagnan and Gase.
Bowles was fired hours after the Jets’ season finale. He compiled a 24-40 record in four seasons, with no playoff appearances.
Maccagnan and Gase had no prior relationship.
With Gase as offensive coordinator, the 2013 Broncos had the highest-scoring offense in NFL history, with Manning throwing a record 55 touchdowns, but they got blown out in the Super Bowl by the Seattle Seahawks. Gase was the offensive coordinator under John Fox, and he followed Fox to the Chicago Bears in 2015.
He would inherit a team that hasn’t reached the postseason since 2010 and has only one Super Bowl win in franchise history — 50 years ago. He’s the 14th full-time head coach since Weeb Ewbank, who led the Jets to their only moment of glory with a win in Super Bowl III.
The job was widely considered one of the most desirable, in large part due to Darnold, who showed upside in his rookie year. Beyond Darnold and Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams, the roster needs significant work, especially on the offensive and defensive lines. They can attack the weakness with $100 million in cap room and the third pick in the draft.
The Jets conducted at least eight interviews. In addition to McCarthy and Rhule, the Jets met with former Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Dallas Cowboys defensive backs coach Kris Richard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken and former Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury, who was hired by the Arizona Cardinals.
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