After the New York Jets finished 2-14 in 2020, absolutely everyone knew they were in the market for a new head coach.
The Jets hired 42-year old Robert Saleh who most recently served as defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers from 2017-2020.
This is Saleh’s first head coaching role; he has been in the league for 15 years working mainly on the defensive side.
While the San Francisco 49ers finished a disappointing 6-10, there are talented free agents on that team that Saleh could bring to the Jets.
— New York Post Sports (@nypostsports) March 7, 2021
Here are two of the most likely candidates.
1. Richard Sherman, Cornerback
This one seems obvious.
Richard Sherman has worked with Robert Saleh two times in his career, and he is a huge fan of Saleh.
Richard Sherman on Robert Saleh:
"He's able to rally men, he's a leader of men"pic.twitter.com/LXcqfQwhWT
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) January 15, 2021
Saleh was the defensive quality control coach for the Seattle Seahawks when they won Super Bowl 48.
That was in the heyday of Richard Sherman’s career when the Seattle defense was the “Legion of Boom.”
Then Sherman joined the 49ers in 2018 and worked with Saleh again.
Sherman has said for at least a month that he knows San Francisco will not re-sign him.
Richard Sherman at 32 years of age likely will play two more years.
The Jets have money and draft picks, and there is a real belief that Saleh can turn that team into a winner.
Perhaps the biggest question mark is whether Sherman wants to tolerate a bit of rebuilding, or if he prefers to step into a situation where the team is on the brink of winning.
If he wants a rebuilding in a major market like New York, Sherman could be a veteran that could mentor younger players.
2. Kyle Juszczyk, Fullback
Juszczyk, nicknamed “Juice,” is a fascinating player.
He was drafted in 2013 (4th round, 130th overall) by the Baltimore Ravens.
Juszczyk went to Harvard.
In 2017, he signed a four year $21 million contract with the San Francisco 49ers which was the largest contract in NFL history for a fullback.
Juszczyk raved about Saleh after the Jets announced the hiring.
Kyle Juszczyk says Robert Saleh's pre-game speeches are so good that guys want to light themselves on fire. (Haberman and Middlekauf podcast) #TakeFlight
— Jets X-Factor (@jetsxfactor) February 19, 2021
Though Saleh was on the defensive side of the ball in San Francisco, he understands the value of a quality fullback.
Look no further than the Cowboys teams of the 1990s, Moose Johnston was the fullback who was largely responsible for Emmitt Smith‘s success.
In addition to being a blocker and creating lanes for the running game, a fullback can be an extra receiver also.
It is worth mentioning that the 49ers appear to be working same late hour dealings to keep Juice.
— OurSF49ers (@OurSf49ers_) March 14, 2021
Juszczyk’s agent jumped into the social media conversation with an interesting response.
In response to John Lynch’s early-morning tweet to 49ers’ fans about wanting “Juice” – a reference to the 49ers’ fullback – Kyle Juczykz’s agent, Joe Linta, said this morning: “I would like juice, too. But it’s expensive at this time of year.”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 14, 2021
Free agent signings begin at 4 pm EDT on March 17, 2021 so we will soon have answers to the many burning questions New York Jets fans have.