Rex Ryan managed to save his job as head coach of the New York Jets with a surprising 8-8 mark in 2013 -- a mark that nearly propelled his very flawed team into the playoffs. He's now been rewarded further, with a multi-year contract extension, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Earlier reports indicated that Ryan, whose contract was up after the 2014 season, would be retained only through that upcoming season. This new deal is expected to keep Ryan in New York through at least 2015. The New York Post reported that the Jets "could easily get out of the deal" after that '15 season.
“I’m comfortable [with a one-year deal]," Ryan said at his season-ending press conference. "With me, I think just, I’m a guy that looks for opportunities. I have an opportunity right in front of me to coach the New York Jets. That, that’s all I need."
Even with a contract that lasts beyond 2014, Ryan will be under heavy pressure to produce a playoff berth next season. The Jets have missed out on the postseason each of the past three years, after reaching the AFC title game in both of Ryan's first two seasons (2009 and '10) at the helm.
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The Jets did manage to stay on the fringe of an underwhelming AFC wild-card race this season, despite alternating wins and losses for their first 10 games. They dropped three of four after that, however, to dip to 6-8. But the Jets closed strong with back-to-back wins, complete with a Week 17 victory in Miami that eliminated the Dolphins from the playoffs.
Jets owner Woody Johnson announced after that game that Ryan would remain the team's coach, and that Ryan had been aware of his fate prior to the upset of Miami.
Ryan has a 42-38 overall record in his five seasons with New York. The recent 8-8 showing was his fourth season at .500 or better since taking the job. The Jets accomplished that eight-win campaign despite finishing in the bottom half of the league in points allowed and 29th in points scored. Rookie quarterback Geno Smith struggled throughout 2013, too, finishing with 12 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. Still, his presence provided the franchise a little hope for better production next season.