NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Jets were closing in on hiring a general manager, with Seattle executive John Idzik the apparent front-runner.
The Jets, who fired Mike Tannenbaum on Dec. 31, have held a thorough interview process with the help of a search firm with about 10 candidates.
ESPN, citing anonymous sources, reported Thursday night that the Jets were close to offering the job to Idzik, the Seahawks' vice president of football administration.
No announcement - of an offer or hiring - was expected until Friday, at the earliest.
Idzik and Pittsburgh executive Omar Khan, along with Jets assistant GM Scott Cohen, are among the finalists being considered by owner Woody Johnson and team president Neil Glat.
Johnson fired Tannenbaum after seven seasons, but chose to keep coach Rex Ryan aboard despite the team going 6-10 and missing the playoffs for the second straight year.
At a season-ending news conference last week, Johnson praised Ryan and added that a condition set for all GM candidates was that they would have to be willing to work with Ryan.
That setup - having a coach already in place for an incoming GM - was considered a possible drawback by some, but Johnson insisted it would not cause any hangups in finding a replacement for Tannenbaum.
"I never looked at it (as) kind of a precedent in terms of management," Johnson said. "I've never looked at it that way. I'm looking at what's best for the New York Jets going forward, and so I made the decision on that basis."
Johnson also said Ryan would be involved in the process, which has gone on for more than two weeks. Seven jobs opened up after the season, but only the Jets and Cleveland Browns are still looking for general managers.
The Jets have been using Jed Hughes of the search firm Korn/Ferry International to aid them in the search, which has included Tom Gamble - considered the front-runner a week ago - David Caldwell, Jerry Angelo, Marc Ross, Brian Gaine and Ted Sundquist as candidates.
Idzik has a unique skillset that may put him over the top for the Jets. His strengths include managing salaries and the salary cap, but has also worked in player personnel. He has been with the Seahawks the past six seasons after previously working in the front office for Tampa Bay and Arizona.
Idzik has a math degree from Dartmouth, where he played college football before coaching two seasons at the collegiate level at Duke and SUNY Buffalo. Idzik's father, John, was a long-time NFL coach, including a stint as the Jets' offensive coordinator from 1976-79.
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