NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Jets were moving forward with their search for a new general manager, with San Francisco 49ers executive Tom Gamble appearing to be the front-runner to replace Mike Tannenbaum.
Gamble, the 49ers' director of player personnel, met with the Jets over the weekend. He also canceled a second interview with Jacksonville and postponed a meeting with San Diego for their GM vacancies, according to published reports.
New York also spoke with Atlanta director of player personnel David Caldwell this weekend.
The Jets were still expected to interview Marc Ross, the Giants' director of college scouting, and in-house candidate Scott Cohen, the team's assistant GM under Tannenbaum. The meeting with Ross will satisfy the NFL's "Rooney Rule," which mandates that teams must interview at least one minority candidate for front-office and head coaching jobs.
But Gamble seemed to have the clear edge as of Sunday night.
ESPN reported Sunday, according to sources, that Gamble told the Jaguars he wasn't taking a second interview for their vacancy so he could concentrate on the Jets. NFL Network also reported that Gamble rescheduled a meeting with the Chargers, fueling speculation that New York could be moving close to a deal.
The new general manager will have several issues to consider, including what to do with starting quarterback Mark Sanchez, who struggled mightily this season and was benched but has $8.25 million in guarantees in his contract for next season. The team would take a hefty salary cap hit of $17.1 million if he is cut.
The Jets are also expected to try to trade Tim Tebow or release him after just one disappointing season in New York in which he was rarely used — and never started at quarterback even as Sanchez was pulled. Tebow was disappointed in his lack of playing time, failing to reach the end zone during the regular season despite the team touting him before the season to be a major part of the offense.
The Jets also have several key potential free agents to address, including LaRon Landry, Dustin Keller, Braylon Edwards, Shonn Greene and Yeremiah Bell.