Jets Complete Second Interview With Robert Saleh Without Reaching Deal; What Happens Next?

Did the Jets' opportunity to hire Robert Saleh as their next head coach slip away on Wednesday?
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The search for the Jets' next head coach continues.

After meeting in person with New York on Tuesday night, with discussions continuing on Wednesday morning, the Jets announced that they have completed their second round interview with Robert Saleh.

Reports surfaced on Wednesday that New York was looking to "get this done" and hire Saleh before he left the building later in the day. Based on the team's announcement, however, Saleh has left the facility without coming to an agreement.

Not only did they not reach a deal, the 49ers defensive coordinator is on to check in with other organizations. Saleh is now headed to Philadelphia to interview for the Eagles vacancy, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network

Several teams with openings at head coach had shown interest in Saleh, but the Jets were the first to meet with him in person. 

Among nine candidates that were interviewed in the first round of New York's head coaching search, Saleh was the first candidate to be brought in by the Jets for a second-round interview in person. All signs pointed to negotiations nearing an agreement considering New York flew Saleh across the country and met with him two times. Nonetheless, general manager Joe Douglas, CEO Christopher Johnson and the rest of those involved in this hire evidently want more time to make their decision. 

Then again, maybe it's Saleh that wants to take his time in making a decision and explore other options. 

It's possible that part of the reason why this didn't get done today is the candidates that are still in the postseason. New York can't interview coaches in person if their team is still alive in the playoffs. That means highly sought-after candidates like Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, ex-Jets cornerback and current Saints secondary coach Aaron Glenn as well as Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley can't meet with the Jets until their respective team is eliminated from postseason contention. 

It'll be telling if New York announces that the organization plans to conduct additional in-person interviews with other candidates that don't work for teams playing in the postseason. By bringing in candidates like former Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady or Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus for instance, the Jets would show that this thorough search will extend deeper into the second round. 

Saleh, 41, is a desirable candidate during this year's head coaching cycle due to his experience (16 years as a coach in the NFL) and his track record. He helped bring the 49ers defense from mediocrity to dominance in a span of four years, helping take them to the Super Bowl in 2019. His animated personality and intensity on the sideline would make him a tremendous leader in the locker room for any organization. 

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