Is this 2013 all over again?
The New York Jets were spurned Monday by two more potential general manager candidates, bringing the total to at least four. Kansas City Chiefs director of player personnel Chris Ballard and New Orleans Saints director of player personnel Ryan Pace declined invitations to interview for the job, it was confirmed. The NFL Network first reported them.
So what's going on here?
The uncertainty surrounding the Jets' power structure could be a contributing factor. The Jets are looking for a GM and a head coach, and they haven't defined the pecking order -- at least not publicly. It's possible they could first hire a coach, with that coach -- and the subsequent GM hire -- reporting directly to owner Woody Johnson. The conventional setup has the coach reporting to the GM. The Jets' plan of attack during the dual searches has created the perception that the GM will have a diminished role.
Obviously, other factors could be at play, too. For instance, DeCosta, the heir apparent to Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome, has declined many interview requests over the years. Ballard is interviewing for the Chicago Bears' GM vacancy -- he's a former Bears scout -- and he's considered the front-runner. Pace and Paton are said to be comfortable in their current jobs, but it seems odd they wouldn't even take the interview.
A similar situation unfolded in 2013, when the Jets were blown off by several candidates. In that case, though, the job wasn't deemed attractive because the coach (Rex Ryan) came with the gig. They ended up settling for John Idzik.
Right now, the Jets have six known candidates -- Trent Kirchner (Seattle Seahawks), Rod Graves (Jets), Bill Kuharich (Cleveland Browns), Rick Mueller (Philadelphia Eagles) and Mike Maccagnan (Houston Texans), who was scheduled to interview Monday. The sixth is Chris Grier (Miami Dolphins), who still hasn't met with the team.