San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh was a popular name floated around for potential head coaching jobs and it appears the New York Jets found their man. The Jets announced that they have an agreement in principle for Saleh to be their head coach.
Terms weren’t disclosed by the Jets but according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, it’ll be a five-year deal. In addition, Schefter revealed that Saleh is expected to bring over Niners passing game coordinator Mike LaFleur to be the offensive coordinator.
This seems strange to say about the Jets but they seem to have made some very good moves. As defensive coordinator for the past four years, Saleh turned the 49ers defense into a top powerhouse. The defense went from 24th in total defense and 25th in points allowed in 2017 to 5th and 17th respectively. And that 17th mark in 2020 was largely due to injuries to many on defense, including early season ending injuries to Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas. In their 2019 Super Bowl season, the 49ers finished 2nd in total defense and 8th in points allowed.
The Jets will be a big project but it could be one worth taking for Saleh. Saleh can work on the defense (along with their defensive coordinator) while LaFleur takes on the offense. LaFleur’s previous coaching jobs as a wide receivers coach and a passing game coordinator has to be great news for Sam Darnold. Granted, Darnold had a coach like that with Adam Gase but LaFleur can take what he had when he worked with Jimmy Garoppolo and possibly apply that to Darnold to potentially transform him into a top QB.
The Jets have some work in order to become a contender but they took a massive step in the right direction with hiring Saleh. There’s certainly a great chance it all falls apart because it’s the Jets but if the Bills and the Browns can win playoff games now, why can’t the Jets do the same?