Terry Fontenot

AFC East Notes: Jets, Patriots, Mayo, Bills

While it is not known when the Jets will make their GM decision, they do appear to be done interviewing candidates. The four executives the Jets spoke toJoe Douglas (Eagles), Scott Fitterer (Seahawks), Champ Kelly (Bears) and Terry Fontenot (Saints) — remain in contention, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets (video link) the team has since discussed salary expectations with the candidates. These follow-up talks occurred Tuesday night, per ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). The favorite since this process started, Douglas has not done anything to remove himself from that perch, but Fitterer has gained steam after a strong interview, Rapoport adds.

These meetings may have also been for the benefit of the candidates, with Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweeting multiple interviewees are concerned about the Jets’ atypical ownership situation. CEO Christopher Johnson is working in brother Woody Johnson‘s place, with the latter having accepted an ambassador position with the Trump administration. Woody Johnson will sign off on this GM pick, Mehta adds.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • A Patriots contingency plan for if presumptive left tackle Isaiah Wynn is not ready: perhaps Joe Thuney sliding over one spot. The Patriots’ fourth-year left guard worked with their first-string offense at left tackle Wednesday, according to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe (subscription required). Brian Schwenke and Ted Karras have been rotating at left guard during Pats minicamp. A 2016 third-round pick, Thuney has started every game at left guard since entering the league. Wynn, a 2018 first-rounder who tore his Achilles’ tendon during camp last year, is not yet ready for team drills.
  • Bill Belichick is expected to call Patriots defensive plays this season, but the team is using minicamp to try out some other possibilities. First-year full-time assistant Jerod Mayo was calling Pats plays for a second straight day at minicamp, according to Howe. The Patriots hired their former linebacker as assistant inside ‘backers coach this offseason, and Howe adds the 33-year-old calling plays during the season is now a “serious possibility.”
  • Quinnen Williams sustained a calf injury recently and will be limited for the rest of Jets minicamp, Adam Gase said (via Mehta), calling it a scare. However, the No. 3 overall pick is expected to resume full work when the team, interestingly, holds another OTA session next week.
  • Former Buccaneers seventh-round pick Stevie Tu’ikolovatu worked out for the Bills on Wednesday, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com tweets. The former USC defensive tackle has not played since being drafted, with injuries keeping him off the field.
  • One of the Dolphins‘ 18 priority free agent signings hit the waiver wire Tuesday. The Dolphins parted ways with cornerback Tyler Horton (Boise State) via left-squad designation, veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer notes (on Twitter).

East Rumors: Norman, Jets, Dolphins

As teams continue studying their respective rosters during OTA sessions, here is where some of the franchises in the East divisions stand:

  • While Josh Norman has not lived up to the contract that pays him $15MM per year, the Redskins do not appear to be planning anything radical regarding his employment. The team has not engaged in discussions on a possible post-June 1 Norman release, J.P. Finlay of NBC Sports Washington writes. Washington would save $11MM by cutting the 31-year-old cornerback, who graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 50 corner last season, but old-school post-June 1 releases do not occur often anymore. The Redskins’ corner corps would obviously take a hit without Norman. Two seasons remain on Norman’s deal.
  • The Jets wrapped up their interview with Saints exec Terry Fontenot. They will begin their Joe Douglas meetings tonight and continue them on Sunday, per ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini (on Twitter). Douglas remains Adam Gase‘s preferred hire, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets, adding there does not seem to be a big chance CEO Christopher Johnson goes in a different direction.
  • Mark Walton is facing three pending legal cases but remains in contention for a Dolphins backup job. Two of the running back’s hearings will occur this week. In one of those, a Wednesday matter that overlaps with Dolphins minicamp, his attorney will be making a court appearance for him to allow the embattled ex-Bengal to practice with his new team, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald notes. Walton is trying to secure Miami’s No. 3 running back job, behind Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage. Miami drafted Washington alum Myles Gaskin in Round 7 and picked up former Chargers back Kenneth Farrow earlier this year.
  • In addition to the ACL tear Reuben Foster suffered, the former first-round pick also must rehab LCL damage.
  • Ezekiel Elliott‘s run-in with a security officer at a Las Vegas concert could produce another suspension for the Cowboys’ two-time rushing champion.

Jets To Interview Terry Fontenot

While one of the Jets interview requests got rejected, it sounds like they got their way with another potential candidate. ESPN’s Rich Cimini reports (via Twitter) that the organization will indeed interview Saints executive Terry Fontenot for their general manager opening.

We heard earlier this week that the Jets had put in a request in for Saints’ Director of Pro Scouting. New York had done the same for Vikings assistant general manager George Paton, although that executive ended up declining.

Fontenot isn’t as much of a household name as some of the Jets’ other candidates, but that doesn’t make him any less qualified for the position. The 38-year-old has spent the past 16 years with the Saints organization, including the last six in his current role. During that time, Fontenot has played a role in shaping a roster that’s made three playoff appearances, including a near-Super Bowl birth in 2018.

New York is searching for a new GM after firing Mike Maccagnan following the 2019 draft. For now, first-year head coach Adam Gase is running Gang Green’s personnel department as interim general manager, but the club wants to get a full-time executive in place.

The organization has been connected to a number of different names for the open position. Besides Fontenot, there seems to be three other major candidates for the opening: Scott Fitterer (Seahawks co-director of player personnel), Champ Kelly (Bears assistant director of player personnel), and Joe Douglas (Eagles vice president of player personnel). Douglas appears to be the favorite for the position.

Jets Request Interview With Terry Fontenot

The Jets added a fifth name to their GM search. The Jets put a request in for Saints Director of Pro Scouting Terry Fontenot, sources tell Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).

[RELATED: Jets GM Search Tracker]

Fontenot was not previously connected to the job and doesn’t have the name value of the Jets’ other four candidates. However, as Rapoport notes, he has a strong reputation in the football world and has been credited with improving the Saints’ roster, along with Sean Payton and Jeff Ireland.

Fontenot, 38, has spent 16 years with the Saints and six years as the club’s director of pro scouting. He joins Eagles VP of player personnel Joe Douglas, Seahawks co-director of player personnel Scott Fitterer, Bears assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly, and Vikings assistant GM George Paton as known candidates for the job.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.