Robert Saleh has left the New York Jets facility without a deal Wednesday and has turned his attention to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Robert Saleh has come and gone with a nagging question lingering in the back of everybody’s mind: does “gone” mean “totally gone?”
On Wednesday afternoon, the New York Jets announced that they had completed their second interview with the San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator.
We have completed our second interview with Robert Saleh for our head coaching vacancy.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) January 13, 2021
Saleh, 41, arrived at the Atlantic Health Training Facility Tuesday. He met with Joe Douglas and much of the Jets brass for the first time in a face-to-face setting. Remember, each of the nine first interviews was done remotely.
By all accounts, it appears Saleh is the Jets’ top option. He was the first to be brought back on a second interview and remains the lone man to make the cut so far. That’ll likely change soon.
Meanwhile, Saleh is off to Philadelphia to interview with the Eagles, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 13, 2021
Saleh is in high demand at the moment, so to see him interview with the Eagles shouldn’t surprise anybody. What’s interesting is Saleh leaving the Jets building without an official (and public) deal in place.
Conventional wisdom is simple in these matters: If you love a guy that much, you make sure he doesn’t leave the building without a deal. But conventional wisdom is tough to follow these days.
In this pandemic world the NFL has so effectively dealt with, making a decision after having only met with one man in a face-to-face setting is a tough deal. This hire will most likely make or break Douglas’s general manager future in this league. Maybe Saleh is just one of a few favorites.
Perhaps it’s something else.
The pessimistic fan will automatically believe that familiar dark cloud is floating over Florham Park, NJ as you currently read this. Could Saleh and Jets ownership be stuck on something contractually?
Maybe it’s something entirely more innocent. Perhaps Saleh gave the Eagles their word that he would, indeed, interview with them no matter what happened in the Jets’ second interview.
Earlier on Wednesday, Rapoport reported that the Saleh second interview would continue into Wednesday with chairman Christopher Johnson involved. Considering what happened with Matt Rhule two years ago, Jets fans fear the worst.
They shouldn’t. At least not yet. The new regime led by Douglas has provided no reason for fans to jump off a ledge at the sight of first danger. While the on-field record didn’t help any fan get over his or her “jump from a tall building” association with their favorite team, everything from a front-office perspective has been tidy.
The leaks have been kept to a minimum, and smart and emotionless decisions have been made with Douglas at the helm.
The Jets are expected to bring in more candidates for a second round of in-person interviews.