todd downing jets
Syndication: The Tennessean

While the Jets haven’t made the big upgrade everyone has been waiting for yet, they’ve been busy trying to plug holes on offense. First, it was replacing Mike LaFleur with Nathaniel Hackett as offensive coordinator. New York also wanted to fill the passing-game coordinator position.

That’s been done. It’ll be easy to read into this hire, too.

The Jets’ initial interest and hiring of Hackett immediately made people connect the dots to Aaron Rodgers. After all, those two were together in Green Bay for three years and had lots of success. Rodgers has also gone on record saying that Hackett is “his guy”.

ESPN’s Rich Cimini confirmed a report from NFL insider Ian Rapoport on Monday about the Jets hiring Todd Downing as their new passing-game coordinator. He also added some context behind the hire:

Talk about covering your bases, right?

The Las Vegas Raiders have to make a roster move with Derek Carr by Wednesday before $40 million of his future salary becomes guaranteed. The signal-caller will use his no-trade rights to refuse any deal. So, Las Vegas will be cutting Carr, allowing him to explore a contract with any team of his choosing.

That could be attractive for the Jets, especially depending on how things go with their pursuit of Rodgers. We don’t even know if the four-time MVP wants to play at all next year. And who knows when that darkness retreat is happening so he can figure out what next step to take in his life.

If Rodgers decides to play and is willing to do so for the Jets, Gang Green will have to fork over some draft picks and make salary cap room for it to come to fruition. Of course, New York isn’t the only team looking for a veteran quarterback, and wide receiver Davante Adams would like to see his former signal-caller join him in Vegas with the Raiders.

Downing comes with plenty of NFL coaching experience. He’s been on the sideline in some fashion since 2005. Here’s a list of his past teams and titles:

  • Minnesota Vikings, 2005: Offensive quality control coach
  • St. Louis Rams, 2006-08: Defensive assistant & special teams assistant, defensive quality control coach
  • Detroit Lions, 2009-13: Offensive quality control coach, assistant quarterbacks coach, quarterbacks coach
  • Buffalo Bills, 2014: Quarterbacks coach
  • Oakland Raiders, 2015-17: Quarterbacks coach, offensive coordinator
  • Minnesota Vikings, 2018: Tight ends coach
  • Tennessee Titans, 2019-22: Tight ends coach, offensive coordinator

Among his career accomplishments, Downing was named Quarterbacks Coach of the Year by Pro Football Focus in 2015. There’s another wrinkle to this, though. SNY’s Connor Hughes also notes Downing was arrested for a DUI on November 18th. So, we’ll have to assume the Jets did plenty of vetting for both the recent and distant past before officially making this hire.

We knew New York was committed to finding a veteran quarterback to plug into the offense for next year. If their recent offensive coach hires tell us anything, it’s a glimpse of what their wish list may look like right now.

Matt Musico can be reached at and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.