Jets Rumors

Jets Hire Nathaniel Hackett As OC

Nathaniel Hackett will receive an immediate opportunity to bounce back. The recently fired Broncos HC will be hired as the next Jets offensive coordinator, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The Jets have since announced the move.

This represents a quick turnaround for Hackett, who became just the third head coach to be fired before his first season ended since the 1970 merger. But Hackett brings extensive experience as an OC, having held that title for the Bills, Jaguars and Packers over the past 10 years. The Jets are also hiring Keith Carter as their offensive line coach, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

The Jets conducted an expansive search to replace Mike LaFleur, and considering Hackett’s recent past, this is a rather surprising hire. The Broncos submitted a bizarre season under Hackett, falling to last place offensively despite trading for Russell Wilson. Hackett both hired a game management coach and removed himself as Denver’s play-caller this season, and the Broncos cut the cord after the Rams’ Christmas Day 50-spot.

But Denver experienced a run of injury issues as well. The team lost starting wideout Tim Patrick in training camp, was down Javonte Williams and Garett Bolles by October and regularly played without multiple starting offensive linemen. Wilson also missed time due to injury. Hackett worked with Wilson to redesign Denver’s offense, and the results produced a spectacular failure. But this Jets hire will undoubtedly be connected to the quarterback many thought the Broncos were trying to lure last year.

Aaron Rodgers has spoken highly of Hackett, who held a non-play-calling OC role in Green Bay for three seasons. The Jets are among the latest teams connected to the all-time great, who is now in a third offseason of trade rumors. The Broncos were unable to lure Rodgers from the Packers to pair him with Hackett, but the rumblings about the 18-year veteran being on the move persist. Jets-Rodgers connections will intensify with the Hackett hire.

Hackett, 43, worked as Doug Marrone‘s OC in Buffalo and Jacksonville. Both jobs featured play-calling duties. While he was not gifted much at quarterback during these stints, four of the five offenses he oversaw ranked outside the top 16 — three of those finishing outside the top 20. The outlier came in 2017, when the Jaguars made a surprising run to the AFC championship game behind a strong defense and the No. 5-ranked scoring offense. The Jags upset the Steelers in the divisional round, scoring 45 points in that game, and held a two-score lead on the Patriots in the second half the following week. Jacksonville reached that stage despite losing Allen Robinson early in the season. The team crashed back to earth in 2018, with Blake Bortles regressing and Hackett being fired. But Hackett landed the Green Bay job soon after.

The Jets were the only team to interview Hackett for their OC gig this year. The Jets will now have employed both Nathaniel and Paul Hackett as OC; the elder Hackett worked in this role from 2001-04. Hackett and Robert Saleh were also on the Jaguars’ staff together in 2016, when the current Jets HC coached Jacksonville’s linebackers.

The Jets are placing a bet Wilson and the Broncos’ spate of injuries were the cause of Hackett’s shortcomings and/or that Hackett’s presence will appeal to Rodgers, who should have multiple suitors. The Packers have not committed to trading Rodgers, but GM Brian Gutekunst did say Jordan Love is ready to start. Jets owner Woody Johnson was in place when the team traded for Brett Favre before his age-39 season back in 2008. Rodgers turned 39 last month. Even if Rodgers is not bound for the Big Apple, the Jets should be expected to acquire a veteran passer. Johnson said he is prepared to pay up for one, after the team’s Zach Wilson experiment busted early. Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo are also set to be available, complicating a Rodgers path that may take longer to form.

The Titans axed Carter when they jettisoned OC Todd Downing this month. Carter served as Tennessee’s O-line coach for the past five seasons; that time overlaps entirely with Derrick Henry‘s surge and the team’s run of solid play with Ryan Tannehill. Other teams pursued Carter, SNY’s Connor Hughes tweets, but he will go with Hackett to New York.

Saleh: Jets Plan To Add Veteran QB

The Jets are not making any secret of their desire to make a specific upgrade at the quarterback spot. Not long after Woody Johnson said he was willing to pay up for a veteran quarterback, Robert Saleh said informed prospective offensive coordinators of this plan.

Saleh ended up going with Nathaniel Hackett, a rather controversial choice considering his rapid Denver unraveling, but he informed Hackett and others the team plans on acquiring a veteran quarterback, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com tweets. Saleh, understandably so, said Thursday the quarterback position was his top concern when discussing the state of the offense with candidates.

Saleh added he and Hackett did not discuss specific options, though this hire will point to one. Aaron Rodgers‘ praise of his former OC will connect the four-time MVP to the Jets, especially as a third round of Rodgers trade rumors are circulating. The Broncos’ Hackett hire, however, did not lead to a trade. And Hackett’s spectacular failure with Russell Wilson led him to become just the third first-year head coach in the past 53 years to be fired before the season ended.

With 2020s quarterback markets more action-packed than those of the previous decade, more options will be available in the event the Jets cannot pry Rodgers from Green Bay. Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo are the two names that immediately come to mind, though teams will certainly monitor the Ravens’ situation with Lamar Jackson. The Giants sound like they are now likelier to franchise Daniel Jones over Saquon Barkley, while the Seahawks have opened talks with Geno Smith. Both Pete Carroll and John Schneider said the team wants to retain the nine-year veteran. Tom Brady also could be available, though it remains to be seen if the legendary passer will play a 24th season. If he does, clearer connections exist with other teams (Raiders, Titans) compared to the Jets. Gang Green, however, does boast weaponry and a solid defense — similar to what the Buccaneers presented in 2020.

Carr and Garoppolo are set to be available at different points on the calendar. Carr’s contract stipulates his trade market will close Feb. 15, when his $40.4MM guarantee vests. Unless Carr and the Raiders change that date, the team must move the quarterback off its roster before that point to avoid paying him that money. The Jets are one of the teams expected to pursue Carr, joining the Commanders, Saints and potentially others in doing so. Garoppolo will be available in mid-March, when free agency opens. Rodgers’ $58.3MM option bonus can be paid at any point this offseason, and with a post-June 1 trade better for the Packers’ books, it may be a while before the 39-year-old star is dealt — if, in fact, Green Bay actually decides to move on this year.

The Jets have Zach Wilson under contract through 2024, but the former No. 2 overall pick has not shown much to indicate he can be a starter-caliber QB. Mike White is set for free agency, and injuries in back-to-back seasons cut the popular Jet’s time as a starter short. While the Jets could keep White and have continued to insist Wilson remains part of their future (Saleh did so again Thursday), a proven passer will assuredly be the team’s target this offseason.

A move for a veteran franchise-type option will be a change of pace for the Jets, who have invested five first- or second-round picks (Wilson, Sam Darnold, Christian Hackenberg, Geno Smith, Mark Sanchez) at the position since 2009. While the team pursued Kirk Cousins in 2018 and used the likes of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh McCown as stopgaps, it has not rostered a true franchise-level option since Brett Favre 15 years ago. The second of four Favre retirements ended that partnership after one season.

2023 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker

As the head coaching carousel spins, many of the league’s offensive and defensive coordinator positions are open as well. Teams seeking new head coaches will soon begin OC and DC searches — some have already started those processes — but a handful of other teams that did not make HC changes are also searching for top assistants.

The Browns and Patriots have begun 2023’s coordinator hires. Here are the rest of the teams searching for new OCs and DCs. As new searches emerge, they will be added to the list.

Updated 1-26-23 (10:06pm CT)

Offensive Coordinators

Baltimore Ravens (Out: Greg Roman)

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Joe Lombardi)

Los Angeles Rams (Out: Liam Coen)

New York Jets (Out: Mike LaFleur)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Out: Byron Leftwich)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Todd Downing)

Washington Commanders (Out: Scott Turner)

Defensive Coordinators

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Dean Pees)

Carolina Panthers 

Miami Dolphins (Out: Josh Boyer)

Minnesota Vikings (Out: Ed Donatell)

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/23/23

Today’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Kansas City Chiefs

New York Jets

Mullen was a second-round pick by the Raiders back in 2019. Despite starting 31 of his 37 appearances through his first three seasons in the NFL, he was traded to the Cardinals for a seventh-round pick prior to the 2022 campaign. He got into eight games for Arizona before getting waived, and he caught on with the Cowboys in December. The 25-year-old won’t officially join Baltimore until the day after the Super Bowl (February 13).

Jets Interview Klint Kubiak For OC

The Jets will interview Klint Kubiak for their offensive coordinator position today, as Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reports (via Twitter). This is the first time Kubiak has been connected to an OC vacancy in this year’s cycle.

Kubiak worked as the Broncos’ passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2022, and he took over play-calling duties from then-head coach Nathaniel Hackett in November. Hackett was fired before season’s end, thanks in large part to the difficulties he experienced with in-game management and the unexpected struggles of the Denver offense.

With Kubiak calling plays, the Broncos averaged 18 points per game, which was a marked improvement on the 12.1 PPG figure they managed with Hackett as the play-caller but which was still not an impressive output. On the other hand, the injuries and poor quarterback play that Denver dealt with in 2022 naturally limited the team’s ceiling, and Kubiak had a solid enough showing as the Vikings’ OC and offensive play-caller in 2021, when Minnesota finished 12th in the league in total offense and 14th in yards per game.

Interestingly, the Jets have also interviewed Hackett — along with a host of other candidates — for the OC gig. Whomever gets the job will be joining a club that has a playoff-caliber defense and an offense that, thanks to some young and intriguing skill position talent, could be just a quarterback upgrade away from being a worthy complement to that defense. Gang Green is widely expected to target veteran QB help this offseason and has been connected to the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Derek Carr.

Kubiak, 36 in February, is the son of longtime NFL offensive coordinator and head coach Gary Kubiak. Rich Cimini of ESPN.com says that even if the Jets were to hire Klint, Gary would not be joining the team in any capacity (Twitter link).

In addition to Klint Kubiak, the Jets have officially requested an interview with Bills quarterbacks coach Joe Brady, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Brady does love his role in Buffalo, however, and he may not be interested in the Jets’ position.

QB Rumors: Packers, Carr, Burrow, Colts

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is expected to play in 2023, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (video link). Fowler cites the ~$60MM balloon payment that Rodgers is due between March and the start of the 2023 regular season as a motivating factor for the four-time MVP, and assuming he does want to suit up, Green Bay will have to decide if it wants him back or wants to seek a trade.

The club’s top power brokers, GM Brian Gutekunst and HC Matt LaFleur, have publicly indicated they want Rodgers back in Wisconsin, which could — in Fowler’s estimation — force Jordan Love to request a trade. The 2020 first-rounder believes he is ready to become a QB1, and as he is entering the final year of his rookie deal, now would be a good time for him to get that chance.

Here are more QB rumors from around the league:

  • In the same piece linked above, Fowler says that the Derek Carr sweepstakes will start to heat up as we get closer to the Super Bowl. Carr, whose contract with the Raiders includes a no-trade clause, is beginning to do his homework on possible landing spots, and Fowler hears (unsurprisingly) that the Jets, Saints, and Commanders are expected to have interest. Several clubs have already reached out to Las Vegas to lay the groundwork for trade talks.
  • Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow will be eligible for an extension when Cincinnati’s season comes to an end, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that the club wants to get a new deal done this offseason. A Burrow extension will be hugely expensive, and owner Mike Brown and Burrow himself acknowledged the challenges that such a deal creates for roster construction (via Ben Baby of ESPN.com). Of course, the Bengals will have to operate within the same salary cap confines as every other team in the league, but as Rapoport observes, the small-market franchise does have more cash on hand these days thanks in large part to the success that the team has enjoyed with Burrow under center.
  • In a comprehensive piece that is well-worth a read for Colts fans, a piece that details owner Jim Irsay‘s increasingly impulsive decision-making and the ensuing fallout, Zak Keefer of The Athletic (subscription required) says that Irsay wanted to draft and develop a rookie QB in the 2021 draft. However, then-head coach Frank Reich convinced Irsay that he could resuscitate Carson Wentz‘s career. When that experiment went awry, Irsay began to lose faith in Reich, who apologized to his boss for his misstep. The team again opted for an established passer last offseason when it engineered the Matt Ryan trade, and in light of that failure, Adam Jahns of The Athletic (subscription required) believes Indianapolis is finally going to eschew the veteran QB route. The Colts, armed with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2023 draft, are in prime position to select a top collegiate signal-caller and could trade up to land the player of their choice.
  • Dolphins GM Chris Grier recently confirmed reports that Tua Tagovailoa will be the team’s starting quarterback in 2023, as Daniel Oyefusi of the Miami Herald writes. Grier says the medical professionals he has consulted have told him that the concussions Tagovailoa suffered this season will not make him more prone to concussions going forward. He also said “everything’s on the table for us” when asked if the team would exercise Tagovailoa’s fifth-year option for 2024 and/or engage in extension talks.
  • The Jets may keep 2021 first-rounder Zach Wilson on the roster in 2023, but the team is widely expected to pursue a veteran like Carr or Rodgers to upgrade the quarterback position. Apparently, that will be a welcome development for some of Wilson’s teammates and coaches, who “rejoiced” when Wilson was benched in favor of Mike White in November and who were disappointed when Wilson was reinserted into the lineup following White’s rib injuries (via Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic (subscription required)). Regardless of whether Wilson’s apologies to his teammates in the wake of his failure to accept much blame for his poor performance in New York’s Week 11 loss to the Patriots helped him regain the respect of the locker room, the consensus seems to be that he is not the passer who will guide the Jets back to the playoffs.

Jets Interview Chad O’Shea For OC; Frank Reich On Radar?

The Jets continued their search for Mike LaFleur‘s replacement on Friday. The team completed an interview with Browns wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea for their vacant offensive coordinator position, reports Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link).

[RELATED: Browns’ Bill Callahan No Longer A Jets OC Candidate]

O’Shea, 50, has nearly 20 years of experience as an NFL staffer. Most of that has come working with wideouts as a positional coach, including a 10-year stint spent in New England in that capacity. That tenure was immediately followed by a single season in Miami as their offensive coordinator in 2019.

Under O’Shea that year, the Dolphins failed to put up impressive numbers on offense. The team ranked 27th in the league in yards and 25th in scoring, and finished with the worst rushing attack in the NFL. While a distinct lack of talent played a significant role in those struggles, it nevertheless came as little surprise when he was fired by then-head coach (and fellow Patriots alum) Brian Flores at the end of the campaign.

O’Shea has spent the past three years coaching the Browns’ wideouts while also holding the title of passing game coordinator. The position has not seen much in the way of production over that span, as Cleveland ranked 27th in 2020 and 2021 in terms of passing yards, improving only to 23rd this past season. A number of factors have limited the team’s efficiency through the air, from quarterback play to a lack of consistent pass-catchers aside from Amari Cooper. Still, O’Shea is a candidate for a second OC gig with what would be a third AFC East employer.

Meanwhile, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler notes (on Twitter) that Frank Reich could garner interest from New York depending on the status of his head coaching interviews. The former Colts bench boss has been connected to the HC vacancies in Arizona, Carolina and Denver – though he is not currently expected to be a contender for the latter job. Should he strike out on those fronts however, he would be a highly sought-after OC candidate, and one who would understandably find himself on New York’s radar.

Bill Callahan Signs Browns Extension, Nixing Jets OC Interview

With Brian Callahan on the HC radar for a second straight year, his father re-emerged in the OC mix. The Jets requested an interview with Bill Callahan, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets, but the elder Callahan made other plans.

The Browns’ offensive line coach for the past three seasons, Bill Callahan will stay on the position coach level. The 66-year-old assistant signed an extension to stay in Cleveland, Garafolo notes.

Callahan, a former Raiders head coach who was last an OC in 2014 (with the Cowboys), has a history with the Jets. After his four-season run as Nebraska’s HC, the Jets brought him in for a four-year stint as their offensive line coach during Rex Ryan‘s stay. The team ventured to back-to-back AFC championship games during Callahan’s time in New York, which included work with Pro Bowlers Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Each of the latter’s three Pro Bowls came during Callahan’s New York tenure.

Cleveland’s offensive line has been one of the NFL’s best throughout Callahan’s tenure. The Browns have invested significantly in the unit, doling out second or third contracts to four of their Callahan-era cogs — Joel Bitonio, Wyatt Teller, Jack Conklin, J.C. Tretter. The group has seen a host of accolades come in during this period. Bitonio has been to the past five Pro Bowls, earning All-Pro recognition during his age-30 and age-31 campaigns over the past two years, while Conklin earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2020. A former Bills draftee acquired in a low-profile 2019 trade, Teller was a Pro Bowler last season. Cleveland’s O-line has helped drive Nick Chubb to the past four Pro Bowls.

The Jets saw one of the frontrunners for their OC post — Darrell Bevelldecline an interview, doing so with the Commanders as well. With Bevell out of the picture, the Jets have gone through a few interviews. Patriots tight ends coach Nick Caley, former Broncos HC Nathaniel Hackett and three Eagles staffers — Marcus Brady, Brian Johnson, Kevin Patullohave interviewed for the position. But the Bevell and Callahan decisions have affected the team’s search.

Dolphins’ Darrell Bevell Declines Commanders, Jets OC Interviews

Being in the running to land another offensive coordinator gig, Darrell Bevell is passing on that interest for the time being. The Dolphins’ quarterbacks coach will not interview with the Commanders or Jets, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

While other opportunities may come this year, Bevell will pass on the early overtures he has received. The Jets were believed to have the veteran play-caller as a frontrunner for their position, while the Commanders identified him as a candidate early.

This is an interesting choice, considering the opportunities potentially in play. But it would represent a positive for the Dolphins, who saw Tua Tagovailoa make a third-year leap with Bevell as his position coach. Although Bevell took the 2018 season off, his only NFL positions between 2006 and 2021 were OC roles. The Packers, Seahawks, Lions and Jaguars employed him as such. Instead of vying to be the top offensive coach with either the Jets or Commanders, Bevell will remain a third-in-command presence with Miami — behind Mike McDaniel and OC Frank Smith.

But Bevell does have a key role to play in Miami, should he indeed stay on for a second season with the AFC East franchise. The former Russell Wilson mentor was instrumental in Tagovailoa’s breakthrough season — one that ended with a 25-TD/eight-INT slate and a No. 3 spot in QBR. With the Dolphins still committed to Tagovailoa, ensuring continuity on their offensive staff will be important.

Even when dealt an unusual hand this season, via Tagovailoa and backup Teddy Bridgewater being frequently unavailable, the Dolphins remained competitive. They defeated the Jets with seventh-round rookie Skylar Thompson at the controls, and the Kansas State product played better — completion percentage notwithstanding — in the Fins’ surprisingly narrow loss to the Bills.

Bevell’s exit from the Jets’ OC search leaves a host of candidates without NFL play-calling experience. The team has talked to Eagles staffers Marcus Brady, Brian Johnson and Kevin Patullo, along with Patriots tight ends coach Nick Caley. Nathaniel Hackett is the exception here, though the experienced play-caller’s stock cratered thanks to his woeful season as the Broncos’ HC. Washington has former OCs Pat Shurmur and Ken Zampese, the team’s current QBs coach, on its radar. Falcons QBs coach Charles London is also a candidate. The team is interviewing Zampese, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets, noting the meeting will likely occur later this week.

Jets Interview Nathaniel Hackett, Marcus Brady, Brian Johnson, Kevin Patullo For OC Position

The Jets’ offensive coordinator search now includes six interviews, including three with Eagles staffers. In addition to interviewing Darrell Bevell and Nick Caley, the Jets have spoken with Philadelphia staffers Brian Johnson and Kevin Patullo, Rich Cimini and Dianna Russini of ESPN.com note (Twitter links).

Johnson has been the Eagles’ quarterbacks coach for the past two seasons, while Patullo serves as Philly’s passing-game coordinator. The team has also spoken with former Colts OC Marcus Brady, Cimini adds. Although Brady is best known for his time in Indianapolis, he joined Philly’s staff several weeks ago.

The team is also meeting with Nathaniel Hackett, Russini tweets. Coming off one of the worst head coaching tenures in modern NFL history, Hackett has been an NFL play-caller for three teams over the past 10 years. He joins Bevell as the only former NFL play-callers on the radar for the Jets position thus far. Hackett is interviewing with the team Wednesday.

While Hackett has been an OC for the Bills, Jaguars and Packers, he is looking to bounce back from an ignominious Broncos tenure — one that ended with him becoming just the third first-year HC to be fired before season’s end since 1970. Hackett’s offense produced weekly letdowns in Denver. Russell Wilson‘s performance nosedived from his Seattle years, and issues with game management plagued the second-generation NFL coach as well. By the time the Broncos fired Hackett, he was neither calling plays nor managing the game.

Speculation pointed to the Broncos hiring Hackett with the hopes of luring Aaron Rodgers, who had been on their radar since early in the 2021 offseason. The four-time MVP instead signed a Packers extension. However, he has recently reopened the trade door. Rodgers said his Packers future is not entirely up to him anymore and has broached the subject of the team dealing him and pivoting to Jordan Love. GM Brian Gutekunst pushed back on this, but Rodgers could be in trade rumors for a third straight offseason. The Jets are prepared to pay up for a veteran to better complement their improved defense, and Rodgers had two of his best seasons with Hackett as Green Bay’s OC. The future Hall of Famer has spoken highly of Hackett, who has a history with Robert Saleh from their time in Jacksonville.

Brady spent five seasons on Frank Reich‘s Colts staff, rising from quarterbacks coach to OC once the Eagles hired Nick Sirianni in 2021. Brady did not call plays in Indianapolis, however, with Reich doing so throughout his tenure. But the former CFL quarterback has OC experience north of the border as well, serving in that role for the Toronto Argonauts from 2012-17.

Jalen Hurts‘ progress has both reflected well on Johnson and Patullo. The Eagles have relied on Hurts’ rushing talents since he took over as their starter, but he made strides as a passer this season. Johnson has been Hurts’ position coach for the past two seasons, coming over after a short stay as Florida’s OC. Johnson was also Dak Prescott‘s position coach at Mississippi State. The Colts’ wide receivers coach from 2018-20, Patullo has held the pass-game coordinator role with the Eagles throughout Sirianni’s Philly tenure.