FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- With only a few days left in a bitterly disappointing season, the New York Jets are bracing for changes.
This is what happens when a team misses the playoffs two years in a row, when a team loses 12 of its last 18 games.
Jobs are on the line.
Rex Ryan, who has two years and about $6 million remaining on his contract, appears safe. Owner Woody Johnson is fond of Ryan and apparently wants to give him another chance to right the franchise, which reached the cusp of the Super Bowl in 2009 and 2010.
Ryan's boss, general manager Mike Tannenbaum, isn't on solid ground. The Jets are exploring the possibility of hiring a GM who would agree to keep Ryan for at least one season, according to league sources. Obviously, that would limit the pool of candidates.
One possibility is Joey Clinkscales, the Oakland Raiders' director of player personnel. Obviously, Clinkscales is familiar with Ryan. He's a former longtime Jets scout who spent five seasons as the vice president of college scouting, leaving last May to join the Raiders' front office.
The Jets tried to retain Clinkscales, but he opted to let his contract expire, becoming a free agent. It would be unusual, returning only eight months later, but perhaps the lure being the top football man in the organization would sway Clinkscales.
Tannenbaum could be re-assigned to another job in the front office. It's unconventional, but the Jets have done this before. In 2006, Tannenbaum replaced Terry Bradway as the GM, with Bradway remaining in the personnel department.
The Jets are sending feelers around the league, researching potential GM candidates, a source said. Another name that popped up is Baltimore Ravens senior personnel assistant George Kokinis -- another person with past ties to Ryan, a former Ravens assistant. Kokinis also served as the Cleveland Browns' GM.
“Ryan needs to just coach the players and let someone help him build a roster, not just a defense,” one league source said.
Ryan also could be looking for an offensive coordinator to replace Tony Sparano, whose days appear numbered. At least two names are on the radar -- San Diego Chargers coach Norv Turner and former Ravens coordinator Cam Cameron, according to sources.
Turner, who beat Ryan last Sunday, is expected to be fired. During the run-up to last week's game, he told reporters he wants to stay in coaching and would be interested in coordinator positions. Cameron was fired recently by the Ravens; he and Ryan worked on the Baltimore staff in 2008.
In one year under Sparano, the Jets have plummeted to 30th in total offense. The Tim Tebow debacle -- the failure to find a consistent role for him -- will go on Sparano's record. He also was undermined by injuries to starting wide receivers Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill and tight end Dustin Keller.
Sparano has declined to comment on his job security, but he believes the offense has potential in 2013 with a healthy cast.
"What I am as a coach ... is for somebody else to evaluate -- and, obviously, there are a lot of people evaluating me," he said, alluding to critics. "All that being said, I think when we had those pieces, which wasn't very long, I thought we were getting really close to where we needed to be."
In fact, the three players played only two quarters together -- in Week 1.
Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine also has an uncertain future, with reports surfacing last week that he rejected a contract extension early in the season. He declined to discuss his contract, but he said he hopes to remain with the Jets.
One coach who won't be back is special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff, 64, who is retiring after three decades in the NFL.
"I've been here 12 years, that's a long time,” Westhoff said. "It's time for me to go. Every coach has a shelf life. Sometimes change is a good thing."
Make no mistake, there will be a lot of changes around the Jets.