Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Jets hiring 49ers DC Robert Saleh as head coach

Jan 14, 2021 at 7:20 PM--

The New York Jets are hiring San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to be their next head coach. Josina Anderson was the first to report the news (h/t to Matt Maiocco). Anderson stated that her source was another candidate for the job, who was informed by the Jets that the team was hiring Saleh.

The report was later verified by ESPN's Adam Schefter, who states that the Jets and Saleh have reached an agreement on a five-year deal.

Minutes later, the Jets confirmed the news.

Saleh interviewed with the Jets twice — the first was conducted virtually last week, and the second was in-person this week. Saleh also interviewed with the Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Chargers, and Philadelphia Eagles. The Houston Texans are the lone team with a head-coaching vacancy that did not request to speak with the 49ers coach.

"Robert's earned this opportunity," 49ers general manager John Lynch told Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated via text shortly after news of the hiring broke. "He's smart, a tremendously gifted leader, and ready for this challenge. We'll miss him dearly but he's left us better and we'll be proud of all that he'll accomplish. The Jets are very fortunate."

RELATED Rapoport: 49ers expected to promote DeMeco Ryans to replace Robert Saleh

Hired by San Francisco in 2017, Saleh has spent the last four seasons with the 49ers. Even though the team finished with a 6-10 record, Saleh's defense ranked No. 5 in the league in total yards allowed per game (314.4), No. 4 in average passing yards allowed (207.9), was tied for No. 7 in total rushing yards allowed per game (106.4), and allowed 24.4 points per game during the 2020 season. The injury-ravaged 49ers defense still managed 20 takeaways.

As a result of the hiring, the 49ers will receive third-round compensatory picks in each of the next two drafts as part of the NFL's minority-hiring program.

RELATED 49ers' Mike LaFleur headed to Jets with Robert Saleh to be offensive coordinator

"I was very happy with what he did throughout the whole year," head coach Kyle Shanahan said following San Francisco's final game of the season. "I would be very surprised if we don't lose him. I don't know what's wrong with people if they don't hire him. I mean, he's as good as you can get, and he knows more about football, all three phases, and he's going to hire the best staff, knows about players, he knows what they're talking about, who doesn't know what they're talking about, and he also knows how to deal with people."

In 2019, Saleh guided the No. 2 ranked defense in the league, helping the 49ers advance to Super Bowl LIV.

Saleh spent three seasons (2014-16) as the Jaguars' linebackers coach before joining Shanahan's coaching staff in San Francisco. Before that, he was defensive quality control coach with the Seattle Seahawks from 2011-13.

Saleh's coaching career started as a coaching intern with the Houston Texans. From 2005-10, he served as a defensive assistant and assistant linebackers coach for the Texans.

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