Todd Bowles fired by Jets, and next hire will be 25th AFC East coach since Bill Belichick joined Patriots

The Jets have been heading towards a clear outcome to 2018 for a while now and the inevitable became reality after the team's loss to the Patriots on Sunday in New England as Todd Bowles was fired. 

Bowles began his Jets career with a 10-win season back in 2015, but the Jets have won five games or less in each of the last three years, living in the AFC basement for much of that span.

More importantly, Bowles is a defensive-minded coach, and the Jets just drafted Sam Darnold with the third overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Darnold flashed serious potential at various points in 2018, including his debut in Detroit and in several weeks down the stretch.

But this how things work in the NFL: when a GM in charge of a struggling team has a young quarterback on the roster, he's going to get a little more leeway in terms of job security and will get a second shot to hire a coach who can develop said young quarterback. 

Rumors of the Jets trying to lure Jim Harbaugh out of Michigan and back to the NFL cropped up last week, but the Jets quickly denied those reports emphatically.

Bowles has been hamstrung with some tough personnel positions (having Bryce Petty and a 38-year-old Josh McCown at QB in 2017, for example) during his tenure with the Jets, and you can make an argument he actually got his team to play above their expectations. 

Winning five games last year was downright impressive, and the Jets often times played better than people thought they would, particularly with a rookie quarterback, no really great weapons and a questionable offensive line. 

But, again, a defensive-minded coach winning five games three years in a row and not really developing a young potential franchise quarterback in his rookie season with a GM under pressure is almost always going to result in a head-coaching change. 

Coaching in the AFC East is just hard. Sean McDermott, hired by the Bills before 2017, was the 24th head coach hired within the division since Bill Belichick took over in New England back in 2000. The Jets next head coach will be the 25th guy to try and beat Belichick and the sixth hired by the Jets since Belichick spurned them for the New England job.

Bowles could actually end up landing on his feet -- there's lots of chatter about the Cardinals having interest in their former defensive coordinator. Bowles worked in Arizona under Bruce Arians for several years before taking the Jets job. He could conceivably return to the desert and take over if Steve Wilks is fired, as is expected to be the case. 

Regardless, it would be surprising if Bowles didn't at least land a solid defensive coordinator gig this coming offseason. His tenure in New York wasn't successful but he is well thought of around the league and handled his situation in New York with class. 

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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