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7 Possible Candidates To Replace Todd Bowles As Jets Coach

December 30, 2018 - 9:06 pm
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (WFAN) – The Jets on Sunday night fired coach Todd Bowles after four seasons. 

Here are some possible replacements that the Jets could (and should) look at now that Bowles has officially been shown the door.

Mike McCarthy

McCarthy is going to be one of the most sought-after head coaching candidates this offseason after the Packers fired him earlier this month.

In 13 seasons as Green Bay's head coach, McCarthy was 125-77-2 in the regular season and 10-8 in the playoffs, which includes a Super Bowl title during the 2010 season. Green Bay made the playoffs in nine of the 13 years under McCarthy, and made it all the way to the NFC championship game on four different occasions.

It is obvious that New York's future success will largely ride on the play of rookie quarterback Sam Darnold. McCarthy had a great track record working with Aaron Rodgers, and his extensive offensive background could make him a great choice to help groom Darnold.

Jim Harbaugh

The first college coach on the list is no stranger to the NFL.

Harbaugh has led Michigan to a 38-14 record in four seasons as head coach. Prior to leaving for Ann Arbor, Harbaugh found a ton of success as head coach of the 49ers. In four seasons in the Bay Area, San Francisco went 44-19-1 and went to the playoffs three times, including two trips to the NFC championship and a loss in Super Bowl XLVII.

It remains to be seen if Harbaugh is ready to leave the college ranks yet again, but if he is prepared to return to the NFL, the opportunity to work with a promising young QB such as Darnold could be too good of an opportunity to pass up. 

MORE: Keidel: Jets Benefits Of Hiring Jim Harbaugh Would Be Endless

Jim Caldwell

Caldwell, who turns 64 next month, has seven years of NFL head coaching experience under his belt, going 62-50 with the Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions. Caldwell led teams to winning seasons in five of his seven seasons and to the playoffs four times -- including the Colts to the Super Bowl in 2009. He was also the Ravens' offensive coordinator when they beat Harbaugh's 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII and a member of the Colts' Super Bowl-winning staff under Tony Dungy in 2006.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport listed Caldwell, along with McCarthy, as the Jets' top candidates. If they're serious about Caldwell, they won't be alone -- the Packers are also expected to interview him.

Josh McDaniels

It's hard to imagine McDaniels leaving New England for the Jets, but, hey, we've seen crazier things happen.

McDaniels returned to the Patriots' sideline for his second stint with the team in 2012, working as the team's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. His experience serving under Bill Belichick and with Tom Brady has made him an annual candidate for the league's various head coaching vacancies. 

His first turn as a head coach did not go so smoothly, as he went just 11-17 in two seasons in Denver. Following the debacle with Indianapolis last season -- when he backed out of a deal to become the Colts' head coach -- team, including the Jets, may be hesitant to pursue McDaniels this offseason.

Lincoln Riley

Despite just two years of head coaching experience, Riley has quickly skyrocketed up the wish list of several NFL teams looking for a new coach.

The Oklahoma Sooners have gone 24-3 under the leadership of Riley, including two trips to the College Football Playoff. Oklahoma fell to Georgia in the Rose Bowl in double overtime last year and are playing Alabama in this year's Orange Bowl.

Riley, 35, is credited for the Sooners' offensive success with Baker Mayfield last year and Kyler Murray this year. His connection with Mayfield will connect him to the Browns' vacancy at head coach, but Riley will certainly be on the Jets' radar as well. 

Riley told reporters this week he plans to stay at OU, but coaches have often denied interest in jobs publicly before ultimately taking them.

Eric Bieniemy

Bieniemy is another name that should be a hot commodity this offseason due to the tremendous success of Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs' offense.

In his first season as offensive coordinator in Kansas City, Bieniemy has helped lead the Chiefs' offense to 35.3 points (first in the NFL) and 426.7 yards per game (third in the NFL). Meanwhile Mahomes, in his first campaign as the team's starting quarterback, is one of the favorites for this year's MVP award.

Bieniemy, 49, may not have a ton of experience working with quarterbacks, as he served as Kansas City's running backs coach for five seasons prior to being promoted to offensive coordinator, but Bieniemy's offensive mind could be too tempting for the Jets to ignore.

Bruce Arians

Arians has already said he is not interested in replacing his former disciple, Bowles, but the Jets would be foolish not to at least give him a call.

Arians is known for being a legendary quarterback guru, working with talented signal-callers such as Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck and Carson Palmer. In five seasons as Arizona's head coach, Arians went 49-30-1, including two postseason berths and one trip to the NFC championship game (2015).

The NFL veteran is an old-school, hard-nosed coach that could really help mold Darnold into a great quarterback. The 66-year-old told NFL.com earlier this season he would only consider returning to the coaching ranks with the Browns, but the Jets should at least give the two-time NFL Coach of the Year a call to see if they can change his mind.