The strength of the Pittsburgh Steelers front office is the cooperative effort of GM Kevin Colbert and Director of football operations and business administrations Omar Khan. Khan is now a finalist for the vacant GM job with the New York Jets.
The Jets have interviewed nine candidates so far, reportedly already making offers to some. New Jacksonville Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell was allegedly offered a contract involving such perks as a million dollar housing allowance, only to see Caldwell accept the Jaguars job instead, evidently using the Jets for leverage.
Other interviews included: Tom Gamble (49ers), Marc Ross (Giants), John Idzik (Seahawks), Brian Gaine (Dolphins) and former Broncos GM Ted Sundquist. The Jets were also interested in Jon Dorsey (Packers/Chiefs) and Tom Telesco (Colts/Chargers), but neither interviewed as both accepted other opportunities.
Of the nine men interviewed, the Jets have narrowed their list down to three men: former Chicago Bears GM Jerry Angelo, NY Jets assistant GM Scott Cohen, and Khan. Second interviews are set to begin Tuesday morning, with the Jets wanting to make their hire by Friday.
The biggest reason the Jets weren't a highly coveted spot to land for a new GM, is the team is a mess. Jets ownership has already made it clear head coach Rex Ryan is a part of the package and must be retained at least through the 2013 season. Considering Ryan's personnel choices and quarterbacking conundrum of Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow, the Jets are in terrible shape regarding the salary cap and need better talent evaluation.
The Jets hinted toward the idea they were looking for a personnel expert to turn things around, however they have had zero luck wooing many in. Because of their desire for a "football guy", Khan makes the least sense of the three remaining candidates.
Khan's expertise falls in his ability to negotiate contracts and balance budgets, not his scouting intuition or player assessment. Those were areas handled by Colbert. Khan's mathematical genius would make him a good choice to fix their cap situation, but talent evaluation and selection would fall back on Ryan in most cases; something the Jets were seemingly trying to avoid.
Angelo and Cohen better fit the mold of the type of executive the Jets are looking for. Angelo's Bears teams produced a record of 87-73, with one Super Bowl appearance in 2006. He has handled 25 NFL drafts in his career, and is the only candidate with GM experience. Cohen, former Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum's right-hand man for five seasons, specialized in personnel profiling and free agency.
No specific times have been announced for any of the expected interviews, but the Jets are apparently becoming impatient. Khan looks to be the least likely candidate based on the Jets wants, but the fact he has been called in for a second interview means the Jets were impressed and intrigued by him nonetheless. Of course, they may only be considering Khan because most of their other targets either claimed disinterest or jobs elsewhere.
Some believe Khan's candidacy revolves around the possibility of his ability to drag analyst Bill Cowher away from CBS, but his ability to manipulate salary cap hits and structure contracts adherent to the CBA are the reasons he is a valid candidate for any GM position.
If Khan is offered the position, the Steelers will have yet another vacant position to fill prior the upcoming 2013 NFL season.