The Jets’ thorough search for a new general manager is nearly over.
Woody Johnson appears to have zeroed in on Seahawks vice president of football administration John Idzik, who is expected to be offered the job to replace the recently fired Mike Tannenbaum. The Jets, who interviewed at least 10 candidates in the past three weeks, were poised to offer the position to Idzik as early as Thursday night, according to ESPN.
Idzik had a second interview Wednesday before flying back to Seattle.
He was part of the second wave of candidates to interview with Johnson, team president Neil Glat and executive search firm head Jed Hughes last week. Johnson & Co. expanded the candidate pool after top choice David Caldwell chose the Jaguars G.M. job.
Johnson narrowed the list down to Idzik and Steelers’ executive Omar Khan, both of whom have specialized in contract negotiations and salary cap navigation. A source told the News that the Jets hadn't reached out to Khan as of Thursday night.
Former G.M.s Jerry Angelo, Ted Sundquist and in-house candidate Scott Cohen were also in consideration after the first round of interviews.
The prevailing belief entering the search process was that the Jets, whose roster is in desperate need of a makeover, would choose a G.M. with a personnel/scouting background like Caldwell.
The Daily News has learned that former Saints and Dolphins general manager Randy Mueller also interviewed for the job. Mueller, who’s spent the past few years with the Chargers, was the Executive of the Year in 2000 and had the strong personnel background to match the profile of what the Jets appeared to be lacking.
In all, the Jets interviewed three candidates (Mueller, Angelo and former Broncos’ executive Ted Sundquist) with prior general manager experience, but it looks like Johnson will go with Idzik, whose business and operations acumen is the strongest part of his resume. Idzik and Glat previously had previous dealings when Glat worked for the league office.
One source that knows Idzik described him as “smart, honest (and) tough” and revealed that the Seahawks executive had spent time this season on the college scouting trail.
The next significant step will be what Idzik decides to do to revamp the Jets’ personnel department. Johnson said last week that the new general manager, not Rex Ryan, will have final say on personnel matters. Ryan wasn’t involved for much of the search process in the past few weeks.
Idzik, who has a math degree from Dartmouth, isn’t a clone of Tannenbaum, who was largely viewed as a cap specialist despite spending six years in the pro personnel department. Idzik played college football before coaching two seasons (as a grad assistant at Duke and wide receivers coach at SUNY Buffalo).
Idzik was a player personnel assistant for the Buccaneers before rising up the ranks to assistant general manager during his 11 seasons with Tampa Bay. He spent three years as the senior director of operations with the Cardinals before joining the Seahawks in 2007.
One of Idzik’s former colleagues with the Buccaneers told the News that he spent plenty of time with coaches and the personnel each week watching game film to get a better grasp on the roster.
Idzik has ties to the Jets. His father, John, was an assistant for Walt Michaels in the late 70s.