The Jets could be targeting Peyton Manning as their next general manager.
Speculation to the effect is circulating, according to news and rumor website ProFootballTalk. The idea is not without foundation.
Adam Gase, the Jets’ coach and acting general manager, has a strong relationship with the former Colts and Broncos quarterback. Gase was Manning’s QB coach and offensive coordinator for three seasons with the Broncos. Manning threw an NFL-record 55 touchdown passes in Gase’s first season as offensive coordinator.
Manning spoke to Jets CEO and chairman Christopher Johnson and endorsed Gase to be their coach. Johnson said Gase will “assist” in the hiring of the new GM, so it would make sense that he would want someone with whom he’s comfortable.
Johnson fired GM Mike Maccagnan on Wednesday in a move that stunned many in the football world. Though Johnson gave no specific reason for the firing, he acknowledged the synergy between coach and GM “was not where I hoped it would be.”
But he said after spending more time in meetings, NFL Draft Combine interviews and taking part in the everyday operations of the football department, he realized he needed to make a change.
Johnson defined his open GM position as “more than a talent-evaluation guy. I want a great strategic thinker, a great manager, a communicator, someone who can collaborate well with the building. I’m convinced I’m going to find that person.”
Manning, the only quarterback to lead two different franchises to the Super Bowl championship (XLI with the Colts, winning MVP, and 50 with the Broncos) could also be a mentor to Sam Darnold, the Jets’ second-year quarterback.
It’s unclear if Manning is even interested in such a position. A source familiar with Manning’s situation told Newsday, “I would be shocked” if he took a job in the Jets’ front office.
The Jets declined to comment.
There have been other names linked to the Jets’ vacancy. Joe Douglas, the Eagles’ vice president of player personnel, was considered a leading candidate for the job. He and Gase worked together with the Bears for a year.
Another potential candidate is Champ Kelly, the Bears’ assistant director of player personnel. He worked with Gase in Denver and Chicago.