The Jets should have a new general manager in place by next week, and it most likely will be Joe Douglas, the Philadelphia Eagles vice president of player personnel.
But it's not a done deal yet, and it's not a lock that he's going to get the job.
The 42-year-old Douglas remains the prohibitive favorite to replace the fired Mike Maccagnan as the new Jets GM, but a team source cautioned that the hire isn't the slam dunk so many believe it is. The Jets appear to be impressed by Scott Fitterer, the Seattle Seahawks co-director of player personnel. And Adam Gase has ties to Champ Kelly, the Chicago Bears assistant director of player personnel, too.
The Jets also interviewed Terry Fontenot, the New Orleans Saints director of pro scouting, for the job, and though he appears to be a long shot, it also doesn't appear that the Jets have eliminated anyone yet.
In fact, on Tuesday, a source confirmed that the Jets circled back and had follow-up phone calls with all four candidates. The purpose of the calls, according to a source, was to discuss everything from salary to a possible staff and to gauge how seriously they were interested in the job. Basically, the Jets wanted to have all the parameters in place and have a good feel for whether the candidates would be willing to accept, if asked. After the criticism the organization took for the clumsy way they fired Maccagnan and promoted Gase to interim GM, they don't want to be in a position where their top choice or choices turn them down.
There actually was a report from Fox Sports Radio on Wednesday that Douglas had turned the Jets down "right now" in an apparent dispute over money. One NFL source said that was "premature", though it's possible Douglas initially balked at what the Jets said they were willing to offer.
It's unclear if the Jets have entered into actual negotiations with any of the candidates yet.
If the Jets do end up with Douglas, the consensus around the NFL is that they'll emerge from this unseemly power struggle in their organization in better shape than they were before. Douglas has long been considered a rising star in the executive ranks, and did a terrific job in his three years with the Eagles, where he helped build a Super Bowl champion. Before that, he spent one year (2015) as the Bears' director of college scouting, and 16 years in the Ravens' player personnel department.
Perhaps most importantly, he's close to Gase from their year together in Chicago - and that seems to be something everyone believes will be key.
"He's qualified to be a GM, but to be a GM of that team it's all about the relationship with the head coach," said one NFC executive. "The view from outside is that Gase pushed out the old GM, which gives him a lot of power. So the only way a new GM would want to work with him is if he knows him and knows they can get along."
Technically, the new GM will have control and final say over the roster and the draft, but the Jets' power structure puts the coach and GM on equal footing, with both reporting directly to CEO Christopher Johnson. That has proven difficult to navigate in the past when a Jets coach and GM haven't exactly been on the same page.
Presumably that won't happen since Gase has essentially been leading the search for Maccagnan's replacement. He has insisted that Johnson will make the final decision, but it's unlikely that decision will go against what Gase ultimately wants.