There was always a very strong possibility that former Packers coach Mike McCarthy would sit out the 2019 season, as previously reported, and after his negotiations with the Jets fell apart that is precisely the case. League sources said the Jets were very interested in the former Lombardi Trophy winner but talks broke off over staffing issues.
McCarthy rebuffed strong overtures from the Cardinals before the end of the regular season, as reported, and he and the Browns were never going to be a match, something both sides knew throughout the process. There was little mutual interested and he never seriously spoke to Browns general manager John Dorsey – who he worked with in Green Bay – about the job, sources said. The Jets were his most serious pursuer, but even then it was always going to be a bit of a long shot.
McCarthy harbored some concerns about the structure and composition of the Jets front office, sources said, though he did have a productive interview with ownership and team officials. However, as the Jets began deeper conversations with their finalists for the job, it became clear he was not going to mesh with their direction. Specifically, sources said, the Jets asked to see a list of a potential coaching staff so that they could peruse and consider the options. McCarthy complied with the request but began to have reservations about the process at this point, sources said, and was unsure if this would in fact be a match.
McCarthy was always going to be very judicious about any job he took, with the Packers owing him roughly $9 million next season, according to sources, and with his family so entrenched in the Green Bay area. He was blindsided by his in-season firing, according to confidants, and it was going to take the perfect pitch to land him on the heels of that. Talks broke down essentially over the issue of staffing, sources said, before it reached the stage where the job was outright offered to McCarthy.
The Jets were also deep in talks with Baylor coach Matt Rhule at the same time, and he ultimately withdrew as well over staffing issues; Rhule wanted to bring a staff of primarily college coaches, which the Jets had concerns with. Adam Gase, who accepted the position, will have a staff of experienced NFL coaches coming in with him, which could include a former NFL head coach as the defensive coordinator – Gregg Williams is among those under consideration.
McCarthy will be watching film and following the league closely in 2019, and will also be fully able to interview with teams at any point in the season should clubs continue the trend of in-season firings.