The Jets’ thorough search for their next head coach will predictably include a guy with a proven track record. Gang Green is indeed expected to interview former Packers coach Mike McCarthy, according to a source.
McCarthy was fired in December after going 125-77-2 in 13 seasons in Green Bay. His fractured relationship with star quarterback Aaron Rodgers and an undesirable reporting structure were at the heart of the breakup, according to sources.
The Packers parted ways with McCarthy after a 4-7-1 start to a season that ended without a playoff berth.
McCarthy played an important role in fixing some of Rodgers’ mechanical issues coming out of college, prompting some people to think that he’d be a good fit to groom Sam Darnold. Jets CEO Christopher Johnson made it clear on Monday that he wants to build around their promising young quarterback.
Although Johnson didn’t say that candidates must have an offensive background, McCarthy’s experience working with two elite signal callers (Rodgers and Brett Favre) is clearly appealing for the Jets.
McCarthy, however, only managed to reach and win one Super Bowl with those two all-time greats.
Johnson admitted that any coach who would want complete control of football operations would be “off the table,” prompting inquiring minds to wonder how McCarthy would work with general manager Mike Maccagnan. The new head coach, however, will report directly to Johnson rather than Maccagnan.
“It would be interesting to see the dynamic between Mike McCarthy and Mike Maccagnan,” one general manager told the Daily News recently. “That doesn’t seem like a match made in heaven to me.”
There’s also a financial reality to this equation. McCarthy would command around $7 million per year, which is the amount the Packers owe him if he sits out this season. Woody Johnson has paid $4-5 million per year at most for head coaches.
Would the Jets really pony up $7 million per year for McCarthy?
“Woody Johnson is not going to pay that much,” another GM said.
McCarthy has yet to take an interview for any of the other openings.
“He’s a good football coach,” said a third GM. “The thing about someone like him is… When you get some coaches that have been in one place for a long while – and they want to jump right back into it—you don’t know which version you’re getting. Are you getting the Andy Reid version, who still has the fire in the belly and wants to get it done? You don’t know.”
NOTE: Although Johnson didn’t get into specifics about whether Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh would be a candidate, I’ve been told that Harbaugh is not in the running to be the next Jets head coach.