Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott is scheduled to interview with the New York Jets about their head-coaching vacancy Wednesday, according to two league sources.
McDermott has guided top-10 defenses each of the past three seasons, and interviewed with Washington last year before Jay Gruden was hired there.
The Jets are looking for a replacement for Rex Ryan, who was announced as Buffalo’s new coach Monday after being fired this month following six seasons in New York.
The Jets have already talked to several candidates, including two other coordinators from NFC playoff teams – Seattle’s Dan Quinn and Arizona’s Todd Bowles, who will interview with New York a second time this week, according to reports.
The Jets reportedly are set to hire Houston Texans college scouting director Mike Maccagnan as general manager.
McDermott, 40, was the Sporting News’ Coordinator of the Year last season after the Panthers finished second behind Seattle in total defense and scoring defense.
McDermott is paid around $1.25 million annually after receiving a raise after last season. He’s signed with Carolina through 2015, according to a league source.
McDermott, a former Philadelphia assistant, oversaw a big improvement this season by the Panthers’ defense, which finished 10th in total defense after falling as low as 27th after a Week 7 loss at Green Bay.
The Panthers allowed 339.8 yards a game, despite losing Pro Bowl defensive end Greg Hardy, who missed the final 15 games while awaiting his pending jury trial on domestic violence charges.
Carolina struggled without Hardy initially, allowing 37 points or more five times in an eight-game span.
But changes in the secondary helped spark a turnaround as the Panthers closed the regular season on a four-game winning streak to win the NFC South for the second year in a row.
The Panthers ranked fifth in total defense, sixth in pass defense and second in points allowed over the final four weeks after cutting veteran cornerback Antoine Cason, benching safety Thomas DeCoud and starting rookies Bené Benwikere and Tre Boston in their spots.