There doesn't seem to be any way for Todd Bowles to save his job now, which means the Jets are probably already thinking about what comes next. Most good executives always have a list of future potential coaches. Surely GM Mike Maccagnan and CEO Christopher Johnson have lists, too.
It's hard to say for sure who is on it with four games to go in the regular season. It's not even absolutely certain who will lead the search, though one team source indicated Maccagnan will have "strong influence" if not total control. Regardless, the Jets will have several strong candidates from which to choose.
Here's a look at the top seven coaches the Jets are likely to consider, in order of the likelihood that they'll be the top name on the list. It's an updated and whittled-down list from the one SNY published one month ago -- and will surely be whittled down again when (if?) Bowles is fired at the end of the year:
The favorite: Mike McCarthy, Packers head coach
If he's interested -- and that may be a big "if" -- it's hard to imagine he's not the top name on the list. In 13 seasons, he has won 10 or more games eight times, went to the playoffs nine times, the NFC championship game four times, and won a Super Bowl. Plus, he helped develop Aaron Rodgers and had a Top 10 offense nine times, including this year.
What's not to like? He could be perfect for QB Sam Darnold. He'll have options, though, and no one is sure he wants the New York spotlight.
The young, offensive whiz: John DeFilippo, Vikings offensive coordinator
The Jets have kept an eye on their former quarterbacks coach (2009), and even tried to interview him for their offensive coordinator job in 2017 before the Eagles blocked him. If the Jets try to find the next Sean McVay -- a young, bright, offensive mind -- this 40-year-old figures to be the target. He helped develop Carson Wentz in Philly, though his first year as a play-caller in Minnesota has been average and bland.
The wild-card: John Harbaugh, Ravens head coach
He hasn't been fired yet, of course, but he's definitely on the hot seat. The Ravens' recent three-game winning streak to get them back in the playoff hunt may end up saving him. But after 11 years, and with Eric DeCosta about to take over for Ozzie Newsome as GM, his future is definitely uncertain. If Harbaugh becomes available, he might move right to the top of this list.
The hot college name: Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma University head coach
His stock is incredibly high, and it'll only get higher if the Sooners can pull up an upset in the BCS semifinals against Alabama -- one year after they were knocked out in the semifinals. He's only 35, but his offense and his work with Baker Mayfield caught the eye of the NFL.
Some think if he leaves, he'll end up in Cleveland (if McCarthy doesn't).
The unknown assistant: Zac Taylor, Rams quarterbacks coach
If everyone really is looking for the next Sean McVay, why not look at one of the top assistants on McVay's staff? He's obviously done terrific work with QB Jared Goff. No, he doesn't call plays, but he did with the Dolphins in 2015, so he has that experience. He's 35 and maybe this is a risky hire, but if he brings McVay's offense to New York, who's going to complain?
The under-the-radar star: Matt Campbell, Iowa State head coach
He's a much bigger name in NFL circles than he is across the nation, but the 38-year-old is definitely a rising star after quickly turning the Cyclones from a Big 12 doormat into a bowl contender. His lack of NFL experience makes him a risky hire, but pro teams do have their eyes on him.
The longshot candidate: Eric Bieniemy, Chiefs offensive coordinator
Andy Reid gets and deserves all the credit for running the Chiefs offense and turning Patrick Mahomes into a star, and that could hurt this former NFL running back on the job market. But Reid's last offensive coordinator, Matt Nagy, has turned into a terrific head coach in Chicago. The Jets could do worse than take someone off the Reid coaching tree.
Names that were previously on the list:
Dan Campbell (Saints tight ends coach/assistant head coach), Matt LaFleur (Titans offensive coordinator), Chris Peterson (University of Washington head coach), Bruce Arians (former Cardinals coach), David Shaw (Stanford coach), Jim Harbaugh (Michigan coach), Josh McDaniels (Patriots offensive coordinator).