-- Preparing for the likelihood of an organizational housecleaning, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson is poised to hire former Houston Texans and Washington Redskins general manager Charley Casserly as a consultant in the event he decides to make major changes, league sources told ESPN.
With the Jets missing the playoffs for the fourth straight season, speculation has been widespread that coach Rex Ryan will be fired. The biggest question surrounds general manager John Idzik. He was hired only two years ago, but Johnson is so frustrated with the 3-12 season that he's leaning toward firing Idzik as well, according to sources.
Ryan gave the standard response, saying he's "not worried" about his coaching future.
"I know one thing for sure: Woody is going to do what he thinks is going to help this organization win. Whether it's Charley Casserly or whoever, that's what he'll do," Ryan said when asked specifically about the possibility of Casserly being hired. "That's what Jets fans need to understand about Mr. Johnson. He wants to win and he's going to do what he thinks is in the best interest of the team."
Casserly won't be part of the evaluation of Ryan and Idzik. Sources stressed that Casserly would be retained only if Johnson decides to replace Ryan and/or Idzik, but the fact that he reached out to Casserly is a strong indication the Jets are preparing to start over.
Casserly, 66, who currently works as an analyst for NFL Network, was the Redskins' general manager from 1989 to 1999. He worked in the same capacity with the Texans from 2000 to 2006. He's had no previous connection to Johnson or the Jets, but he's well-respected in league circles and was recommended to the owner.
Casserly is a member of the NFL's career development advisory panel, which is comprised of eight former coaches and general managers. The panel was created a year ago to help identify coaching and general-manager candidates for teams. Johnson would lean on Casserly and other football people he trusts during a search, sources said.
During their GM search after the 2012 season, the Jets employed Jed Hughes of the Korn/Ferry executive search firm. This time, Johnson apparently wants a longtime football executive at his side in the likely event that he decides to rebuild the organization.
The Jets are suffering through one of their worst seasons in franchise history. If they lose Sunday to the Miami Dolphins, it'll be their worst record since 1996, when they finished 1-15.