The Robert Saleh Tracker: He's the Jets New Head Coach

Say goodbye.
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These were Robert Saleh's final moves with the San Francisco 49ers. 

January 14: The New York Jets signed Saleh to a five-year deal to be their head coach, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Saleh is the second person to be hired as a head coach this offseason, meaning he's one of the most sought-after coaches in the NFL. And for good reason. He's an elite coordinator who shows all the qualities necessary to be an elite head coach. The 49ers just lost a superstar.

No word yet on who will be his offensive coordinator, but it likely will be Mike LaFleur or Mike McDaniel. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: The 49ers will promote linebackers coach DeMeco Ryans to defensive coordinator to replace Saleh, according to the NFL Network.

UPDATE: Saleh's offensive coordinator will be former 49ers passing game coordinator Mike LaFleur, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

January 14: The Los Angeles Chargers have scheduled a second interview with Saleh, according to the NFL Network.

Saleh still is interviewing with the Eagles, so the Chargers will have to wait a bit. But probably not too long, because the Chargers have the best job-opening available. Every head-coaching candidate should want to work with Chargers stud quarterback Justin Herbert. Plus, Southern California has its perks. 

Most experts expect the Chargers to hire an offensive coach, but their past three head coaches -- Norv Turner, Mike McCoy and Anthony Lynn -- all had offensive backgrounds, and all failed as head coaches. Maybe the Chargers want to try a defensive coach for a change. And Saleh is by far the best one available.

Hiring Saleh would be an extremely shrewd move by the Chargers.

January 14: The Jets completed their second interview with Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith.

Smith and Saleh are the only two coaches who have received second interviews from the Jets. Meaning the Jets could make a decision soon, unless they want to wait for this weekend's games so they can interview and hire coaches from the teams who lose. Maybe they want to hire Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, or Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, or New Orleans Saints assistant head coach Dan Campbell. If the Jets drag their feet the next few days, it's possible they want one of those three coaches.

January 14: The Jaguars are set to name Urban Meyer as their next head coach.

So the Jaguars won't hire Saleh. Reports speculated Saleh was the Jaguars' second choice after Meyer, who won National Championships as a college head coach, and quit on both Florida and Ohio State. Only the Jaguars would hire a known quitter. Plus he gets to work with Trent Baalke, one of the worst executives in the NFL, as any 49ers fan knows. What could possibly go wrong in Jacksonville?

The Jaguars have become the new Browns. What a horrendous organization.

Saleh dodged a bullet.

And for the record, Meyer will be disaster in the NFL. He's a great recruiter, but there's no recruiting in the NFL, and he can't coach. Once his players figure that out, he's toast.

January 13: Saleh leaves the Jets to interview with the Eagles.

The Jets reported they've completed their second interview with Saleh, and ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Saleh traveled immediately to Philadelphia to interview with the Eagles. As I mentioned below, it's possible Saleh and the Jets were negotiating money. It's expensive to live in New Jersey, which means it's difficult to hire quality assistant coaches. Perhaps the Jets didn't offer Saleh enough money to hire assistants. Perhaps the Eagles' money will go further than the Jets' money will. Stay tuned.

January 13: Saleh still interviewing with the Jets.

Saleh appears to be their top candidate, and they conceivably could hire him as soon as today. But ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reports the Jets still could bring in other coaches for in-face interviews, coaches such as Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith. 

It's clear the Jets want to build a support structure around Sam Darnold the way the Titans built one for Ryan Tannehill and the 49ers built one for Jimmy Garoppolo. Darnold's support structure would include a good running game and a good defense. And Smith could bring the running game. But only Saleh could bring both the running game and the defense, because he could take 49ers offensive assistants with him. If the Jets are smart, they won't let Saleh leave their building until he signs on the dotted line.

UPDATE: It's possible Saleh's negotiations are taking so long because the cost of living is so high in New Jersey. Saleh might be trying to get more money for himself and his potential assistant coaches, considering the cost of living will be higher in New Jersey than it is in San Jose.

January 12: The Philadelphia Eagles have requested permission to interview Saleh, according to ESPN.

The Eagles fired their head coach Doug Pederson on Monday. Of all the jobs available, the Eagles probably are the worst because they have an expensive quarterback, Carson Wentz, who got benched last season. But the Eagles also play in the worst division in the NFL, so Saleh might be able to take that team to the playoffs in his first season as their head coach. I'm sure he'd do a good job in Philadelphia, but I'm guessing the Eagles would be his last choice.

January 12: New York Jets schedule Saleh for second interview, according to NFL Network.

Meaning Saleh is a finalist for the job. He first interviewed with the Jets over Zoom on January 8, and now they'll fly him out to New Jersey and interview him in person, which bodes well for him. He presents well in person.

I'm not surprised the Jets are interested in Saleh, because they just had a miserable experience with an offensive coach -- Adam Gase. Plus every other team in the AFC West has a good defensive coach. The Dolphins have Brian Flores, the Bills have Sean McDermott and the Patriots have Bill Belichick. So there's an appreciation for defensive coaches in that division.

And I'm not surprised Saleh is interested in the Jets, because that job opening actually is a good one. The Jets have young talent and the No. 2 pick in the upcoming draft. If I were Saleh, I'd rather go to the Jets than the Lions, Texans, Falcons or Eagles.

We'll monitor this as news develops.

January 9: Saleh interviews with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Saleh was the Jaguars linebackers coach from 2014 to 2016, so they know him. And this job is intriguing because Jacksonville has $80 million in cap space and the No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft. Saleh would be the right football decision for the Jaguars, but NFL teams rarely make football decisions. Meaning Jacksonville probably will hire a celebrity coach such as Urban Meyer just so the media will praise them for a few months.

January 9: Saleh interview with the Los Angeles Chargers.

This is the best job opening because the Chargers have a young stud quarterback, Justin Herbert, who will be inexpensive for the next three seasons. Saleh could make this team instant contenders in the AFC -- they'd be similar to the Miami Dolphins, expect with a much better quarterback. But the Chargers probably will make a bad decision and hire Eric Bieniemy simply because he's an offensive coach who's from the AFC West.

January 8: Saleh's offensive coordinator likely would be Mike Kafka, accord to a report.

Much better choice than LaFleur. Kafka at least played quarterback in the NFL and was a quarterbacks coach the past three seasons in Kansas City. Meaning he helped in the development of Patrick Mahomes. Saleh and Kafka would make a terrific tandem.

January 8: Saleh interviews with the New York Jets.

The Jets are a blank slate and they have the second pick in the draft, so they're a decent spot for Saleh. But they probably will hire some has been like Marvin Lewis.

January 7: Saleh interview with the Detroit Lions.

This is where most people expect Saleh to go, because he's from Michigan. Saleh could turn that team around and win right away. They should make him an offer right now.

January 5: Saleh's offensive coordinator likely would be Mike LaFleur, according to a report.

LaFleur is the 49ers' passing game coordinator, and the 49ers' passing game isn't particularly great. It's a supporting actor on offense, and the run game is the star LaFleur also has no experience coaching quarterbacks in the NFL, although he coached the position and played it in college. Saleh can do better.

January 4: Saleh interviews with the Atlanta Falcons.

This probably is the worst job opening, because the Falcons still have Matt Ryan, who's old and expensive -- he will take up almost 23 percent of their salary cap next season. They have to trade him and start over. Which means they're not even ready to rebuild. This should be Saleh's safety job.