Hmm. Yes, it is good that a potential GM candidate shouldn't have to answer questions in his first round of interviews about the coach in question with the coach figuratively in the room - that would stand to reason. But to imagine that Ryan's presence isn't felt in some way or another, especially after the owner publicly endorsed his return just last week as a given, seems to put matters in a different light.
Rex Ryan is not going to be the only one to pick the new GM, but his presence and the contingency that he returns has in some part had to have influenced the GM search. I'm not saying he's pulling the strings as Mike Francesa would have us believe, but his presence is hanging over this process - and it should if he's supposed to work with the new guy.
The truth is that there are plenty of executives in the NFL that are willing to take a turn in the big chair and make a very nice living by doing whatever their head coach tells them to do. Of course that happens most often when that coach has proven or distinguished themselves in some way - namely longstanding playoff runs or championships. So, that the Jets haven't quickly settled on someone gives me hope that the team is not looking for some go-fer for Rex. Rex is a major part of the team's search, but with the cap looking troublesome, an open quarterback spot and no sure things likely through the draft, it's going to weigh on a potential candidate and what sort of situation they are setting themselves up for long-term.
I think the Jets are looking at the right kind of candidates, but because they are the right kind of candidates, they want to know all the angles going in.