The Jets interviewed a fourth candidate for their open general manager’s position, and could be nearing the end of their search for Mike Maccagnan’s successor.
Bears assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly interviewed with the Jets on Monday, the team announced. Kelly has been with Chicago the past four seasons after working with the Broncos for eight years.
Kelly worked with Jets coach and acting GM Adam Gase at both spots.
The Jets also have interviewed Seahawks co-director of player personnel Scott Fitterer, Eagles director of player personnel Joe Douglas and Saints director of pro scouting Terry Fontenot.
Douglas is considered to be the leading candidate for the job that became available when Jets chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson fired Maccagnan and vice president of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger nearly three weeks ago.
Johnson and Gase have been involved in the interview process.
Unless the Jets add another candidate to their list, they could hire their new GM in the coming days. Barring a bad interview by Douglas or another candidate winning over Johnson, it’s believed the Jets will offer Douglas the job.
It would seem that Gase, who had differences with Maccagnan, would want someone he’s comfortable with and has worked with. Gase has worked with Kelly and Douglas.
Gase was a member of the Broncos' coaching staff as either Denver’s wide receivers coach, quarterbacks coach or offensive coordinator in Kelly’s last six years with the Broncos.
In Kelly’s final five years in Denver as the assistant director of pro personnel, the Broncos won four AFC West titles. They also signed eight veteran free agents who went on to make the Pro Bowl.
Kelly and Gase overlapped for one season with Chicago. Kelly was the director of pro scouting while Gase was the Bears' offensive coordinator in 2015. Gase left the next season to become the Dolphins' coach.
In Kelly’s current role, he works closely with the Bears' pro personnel and college scouting departments.
Gase denied that a past or existing relationship would be a prerequisite for the new general manager. He said that Johnson would decide who will run the Jets’ football department.
Johnson said the reporting structure would remain the same. The coach and GM both report to Johnson. But it stands to reason that it would be ideal if the general manager and coach had similar visions and were on the same page.
That wasn’t the case with Gase and Maccagnan. But Johnson denied that the reported rift between the two was the reason Maccagnan was fired.