Things looked like a done deal with Gregg Williams taking over as defensive coordinator of the New York Jets.
New Jets head coach Adam Gase held a 20-minute press conference on Monday, and there was no discussion of the future defensive coordinator.
It appears contract discussions between Williams and the Jets hit a snag, and in the meantime, the Redskins are working to bring him down to Ashburn for a meeting, sources told NBC Sports Washington.
That prospect is quite exciting for a number of Redskins fans. Of the last 20 years, Williams was here for the best seasons in Burgundy and Gold. He served as Joe Gibbs' defensive coordinator from 2004 to 2007, and the team twice made the playoffs.
Yes, the 'Skins currently have Greg Manusky as defensive coordinator, but Williams is much more accomplished in that same position.
The question in this process isn't why the Redskins would want Williams. That's obvious.
It's why would Williams want the Redskins?
Despite a seemingly endless series of calamities since the mid-November signing of Reuben Foster, the Redskins job should appeal to Williams. To start with, the Redskins are strong up front with Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Matt Ioannidis. Ryan Kerrigan is a perennial Pro Bowler on the edge.
For a defensive coordinator that prides himself on aggressive schemes and running a 4-3 base defense, Williams would have some excellent tools in those four players. Add in Tim Settle and Ryan Anderson, and there are young developmental pieces in place as well along the defensive front.
Beyond personnel, Williams might like the Redskins opportunity for the exact reason a number of other defensive coordinator candidates did not.
In 2019, Jay Gruden will be coaching in the sixth-year of a seven year contract. Few coaches work on the last year of their deals, so in the pressure-packed world of NFL coaching, it's easy to look at next season and as make or break for Gruden.
For many coordinators, they'd rather sign up to work with a head coach that has lots of job security, armed with at least a four-year contract.
Williams might not mind a spot with a potential change on the horizon.
In 2007, Williams was considered the heir apparent to Gibbs. Only when Gibbs retired, Williams did not get the top job, and he quickly moved on. There was talk of ill will between Williams and the organization, but the word around Ashburn is all of that has been smoothed over.
Now, if Williams believed he could come back to Washington and possibly be first in line for a head coaching opportunity if things go poorly for Gruden next season? That might be appealing. And knowing that the Redskins offense has major question marks at quarterback for 2019? Even moreso.
That situation might be a better spot than the Jets, where Gase has the full support of ownership to develop young QB Sam Darnold.
Gase will get at least three years in New York. Gruden only has two years left on his contract.
That kind of math is pretty simple for a 60-year-old coach that might want one last shot at being the boss.
Something else could be afoot too.
Whatever the contractual holdup is with the Jets, leverage could help Williams get what he wants. A meeting with the Redskins represents that leverage.
Williams could be meeting with the Redskins as soon as Tuesday. The team has already met with Steve Wilks and Todd Bowles, a pair of other highly regarded defensive coordinator candidates that took jobs elsewhere.
In a lot of ways, Williams is the Redskins' last hope for a new, big-name coordinator in this coaching cycle. And he's certainly the name that will excite the fan base most.
It's been a tough offseason in Washington, and it's only mid-January. Getting Williams in the building, and his name on a contract, would be a big win for the Redskins.
But for Williams, coming back to Washington more than a decade after his first successful stint as defensive coordinator, might offer a lot to like too.
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