The Jets conducted their first interview for their general manager opening Friday, meeting with Seahawks co-director of player personnel Scott Fitterer, the team said. He has been with the Seahawks since 2001.
Other candidates expected to interview in the coming days are Eagles director of player personnel Joe Douglas, Saints director of pro scouting Terry Fontenot and Bears assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly.
Douglas, whom many consider the leading candidate, reportedly will interview Sunday, a day after Fontenot.
The Jets could add another name or two to their list. The Athletic reported that Vikings assistant GM George Paton declined the Jets’ interview request and will stay in Minnesota. He also turned down an interview with the Jets in 2015, when they hired Mike Maccagnan as GM.
Fitterer has climbed the ranks with the Seahawks. After starting out as an area scout, he became West regional director of scouting and college scouting director before being promoted to his current position in 2015.
He and co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner, who interviewed for the Jets’ GM vacancy in 2015, have worked closely with GM John Schneider to help turn Seattle into a perennial playoff team. Some of the players drafted with this management team include Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman, K.J. Wright, Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner.
Maccagnan and vice president of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger were relieved of their duties May 15. Jets chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson appointed coach Adam Gase as the acting GM. Johnson and Gase will be involved in the interview process and picking Maccagnan’s successor.
“There was pretty good synergy, but it was not everything I was hoping for,” Johnson said after Maccagnan was let go. “I made the decision that I want to find a better fit for this building.
“I want a great strategic thinker. It’s 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.”