The New York Jets have begun their search for Mike Tannenbaum’s replacement.
David Caldwell, Atlanta’s director of player personnel, was scheduled to meet with the Jets on Friday, while Tom Gamble, San Francisco’s director of player personnel was set to sit down with the team Saturday, according to published reports.
Former Cleveland GM Tom Heckert canceled a scheduled interview with the Jets, the New York Post reported Friday night.
Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross, Green Bay director of football operations John Dorsey and Jets assistant GM Scott Cohen also have been mentioned as candidates.
The team hasn’t commented on individual candidates or the interview process.
Tannenbaum was fired Monday, following a 6-10 finish, after seven seasons as the team’s general manager. In a statement Monday, owner Woody Johnson said the team hired Jed Hughes of the search firm Korn/Ferry International to find the best candidates.
”Like all Jets fans, I am disappointed with this year’s results,” Johnson said in the statement. ”However, I am confident that this change will best position our team for greater success going forward.”
While Johnson fired Tannenbaum, who had been with the organization for 15 years, he chose to keep coach Rex Ryan. ESPNNewYork.com reported Friday that the team, according to sources, is telling candidates they must be willing to work with Ryan for at least next season.
”It’s an interesting situation because you usually don’t see it done that way where just the GM is fired,” defensive lineman Mike DeVito said in an interview WFAN radio. ”But Rex is a great coach, he really is.”
Ryan, who has two years remaining on his contract, will address the media next Tuesday, along with Johnson, for the first time since the season ended. Ryan is vacationing in the Bahamas, where his tattoo of wife, Michelle, wearing a No. 6 Jets jersey — Mark Sanchez’s jersey number — became an Internet sensation after the Daily News ran a front-page photo Friday.
The rest of the Jets’ coaches also are away from the facility until next Monday. Despite rampant speculation, the team hasn’t made a decision on the fate of offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, whose offense finished 30th overall in his first season with New York. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine turned down a contract extension early in the season, and special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff retired after the season finale, so there could be several changes to Ryan’s staff.
The new general manager might also have some say on who stays or goes — but will have to be able to work with Ryan.
Caldwell was hired in 2008 by Atlanta as the team’s director of college scouting, and promoted to his current role before this past season. Along with the others high on the Jets’ list, Caldwell is being considered by several other teams for GM vacancies.
Gamble, the son of former Philadelphia Eagles President Harry Gamble, has spent the last seven years helping rebuild the 49ers into one of the NFL’s top teams.