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News » Woody, make offer that Cowher can't refuse

Woody, make offer that Cowher can't refuse

Woody, make offer that Cowher can't refuse
Boomer Esiason has worked alongside former Steelers coach Bill Cowher for the last two years on the set of CBS' NFL pregame show. Although the former Jets quarterback says Cowher has not tipped his hand about the possibility of returning to the sideline, Esiason thinks it's possible Cowher could be enticed into coaching the Jets.

"He's played it close to the vest, but I will tell you this," Esiason said. "The guy sits and watches the games as intensely as ever. If somebody made a hard run at him, it would be hard for him to turn it down. If he got the money offered to him that I would think [the Jets] would have, I think he might come back."

Esiason's advice to Cowher if the Jets offer him an absurd amount of money, perhaps $10 million or more per season: "I would say, 'Take the job. You're working in the biggest city and the biggest fish bowl in the world, but you should do it.'"

Esiason said he has not spoken directly with Cowher about coaching the Jets, although Esiason has ribbed him about it a few times: "I've kidded him from time to time that if he comes here, I don't want to call plays. I just want to do the TV show."

But Esiason says it's impossible to read the tea leaves with Cowher.

"He is not giving any of us at CBS the real insight into what he's looking at," Esiason said. "It will be interesting to see if he's on their radar."

One potential red flag with Cowher's hiring would be the issue of sharing front-office power. Cowher is known to want an active role in personnel issues, and though Eric Mangini had significant input on the draft and free agency, general manager Mike Tannenbaum had ultimate authority. Tannenbaum likely would have to cede some power if Cowher is hired.

Jets owner Woody Johnson and Tannenbaum yesterday declined to address specifically whether they'd reach out to Cowher, other than to say they would consider all possibilities. It is believed the team will contact Cowher. According to another person familiar with Cowher's situation, he has sent out signals to teams other than the Browns that he is at least willing to listen to offers. And that includes the Jets.

If the Jets cannot lure Cowher, Esiason said he would expect the team to consider Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. They'd be crazy not to interview him. Spagnuolo put together one of the most vibrant defenses in recent memory last season and has helped the Giants earn the No. 1 seed in this season's NFC playoffs despite having lost defensive ends Michael Strahan to retirement and Osi Umenyiora to a season-ending knee injury during preseason.

"He's a young coach with an aggressive defense," Esiason said of Spagnuolo, 47. "The Jets obviously have a quarterback issue, but they've got to get this defense right, too. This defense has not been right. They've got to find themselves defensively to get this team playing better. Why wouldn't you go after Steve Spagnuolo?"

Another possibility, according to league sources: former Browns, Chiefs, Redskins and Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer. He has attended several Jets games in recent weeks, although not in any formal capacity. Schottenheimer is the father of Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who would be expected to remain with the team if his father were hired.

As for the question of what to do with Brett Favre, Esiason believes he will not be with the team next season, despite assurances from Johnson and Tannenbaum that he is wanted back.

"Barring any crazy Jon Gruden signing, I think Brett Favre is going to retire, especially if he has to have surgery on his shoulder," Esiason said. "Brett Favre's not 30 years old. He's had a great career and should be celebrated. But I can't pay a 40-year-old quarterback $13 million. You can't pay him for what he did for the Packers. You've got to pay him for what you think he can give to the Jets."

Esiason never thought the Jets should have dumped Chad Pennington for Favre in the first place.

"It turned out to be the ultimate twist of fate," he said. "As luck would have it for Chad Pennington, his dumping led to Eric Mangini's firing. And that's on Tannenbaum. You're the one who evaluated that Pennington isn't good anymore and that Favre is. Not only did you let him go, but to let him go to a team in your division ..."

Now to ask Favre back for another year?

"I'd much rather give Bill Cowher $13 million a year than Brett Favre," Esiason said.

No argument there. That's why the Jets' search needs to start with the former Steelers Super Bowl-winning coach. Johnson needs to throw as much money as it takes at Cowher to make it happen.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 30, 2008

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