Is Jets HC Robert Saleh on the hot seat in 2024?

Robert Saleh brought a lot of emotion, passion and excitement to New York when the Jets hired him in 2021.

The former 49ers defensive coordinator orchestrated one of the best units in the NFL during his time in San Francisco while he earned the praise and admiration of his players and the rest of the NFL. Hiring him looked like a coup for the Jets, a team that previously suffered through the Adam Gase and Todd Bowles seasons following the fiery Rex Ryans years.

There was always the expectation that Saleh would inherit a rebuilding team, at least initially. The Jets had the No. 2 overall pick and looked ready to move on from Sam Darnold following a 2-14 season in 2020 with Gase. New York went 4-13 in Saleh’s first year and finished last in the AFC East for the fifth time in six seasons.

Saleh improved in Year 2 with a 7-10 record and a top-5 defense, but he still couldn’t get over the hump in major games because of his team’s offense. The Jets tried to remedy that with the Aaron Rodgers trade in 2023, which ended in disaster almost before it became and resulted in another 7-10 season.

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So while Saleh has a lot of excuses for his 18-33 record in three years, the Jets will want better results sooner rather than later. And if the collective of Saleh, Rodgers and general manager Joe Douglas doesn’t perform up to expectations in 2024, there could be changes to the top of the Jets’ hierarchy in 2025.

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This reality will be a major thread this year, and likely why Saleh is one of the top head coaches on the hot seat heading into 2024.

Is Jets HC Robert Saleh on the hot seat in 2024?

Yes, Saleh should be considered on the hot seat this season. Rodgers effectively said that a few weeks ago when he said “if I don’t do what I know I’m capable of doing, we’re all probably going to be out of here.”

The Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer ranked Saleh as the 10th-most likely head coach on the heat seat this year — a relatively low mark considering how much is at stake for the Jets in 2024. Here’s what Iyer had to say:

Saleh is also a promising Coach of the Year candidate. His Jets have gone 18-33 over the past three seasons with no playoff trips. But now with Rodgers back, there’s an expectation the Jets get to well above .500 and emerge as an armed-and-dangerous AFC playoff contender. The Jets should come through, given their offensive support improvements and defensive nastiness. If they do, Salah can stay cool and challenge Harbaugh and maybe Eberflus, too, for Coach of the Year.

However, if the team underachieves with Rodgers and doesn’t make the playoffs, both Saleh and GM Joe Douglas will be under fire. Saleh has used up his mulligans through the Jets’ patience. Now, it’s time to put up or fly out.

Of course, the Jets could further flop with Rodgers, and that won’t cut it.

It’s a fair assessment because, at some point, the bell will toll for Saleh if he can’t deliver at least a playoff appearance. Jets owner Woody Johnson rarely gives public playoff mandates, but one is there if you read between the lines and watch the body language of Saleh, Douglas and Rodgers.

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The Rodgers trade signaled desperation for the Jets but it also showed that ownership still believes in Saleh and Douglas. The defense remains one of the best in the NFL with arguably the best cornerback duo as well. Douglas’ 2022 draft class produced at least marquee stars in Sauce Gardner, Garrett Wilson and Breece Hallall of whom will need new deals as early as next offseason.

So while Saleh is on the hot seat in 2024, the current iteration of the Jets could be as well. Failure on all fronts could mean a new coach, GM, quarterback and …. maybe more.

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