- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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After interviewing no fewer than eight candidates for their general manager vacancy, the Jets finally are in the homestretch of the process.
Former Bears GM Jerry Angelo has emerged as a finalist, according to league sources. Jets assistant GM Scott Cohen and Steelers director of football and business administration Omar Khan also will be involved in follow-up discussions with the team, ESPN Insider Adam Schefter reported Sunday morning. This doesn't necessarily mean it's a three-man race, but Angelo. Cohen and Khan are definitely in the mix.
From all indications, the Jets want to wrap up the search by midweek, Friday at the latest.
What does this latest development tell us about the Jets? Well, it tells us they don't know what they want. Angelo and Cohen are football guys, from the scouting and personnel side of the operation. Khan's expertise is the salary cap and contract negotiations. Considering the plight of the team -- a roster with plenty of holes -- they need a sharp talent evaluator, not a bean counter.
No one has more experience than Angelo, 63, who has run 25 drafts in his career. He's the only candidate with previous GM experience.
Angelo was out of the NFL last season after getting fired, but he had a long run with the Bears, compiling an 87-73 record in 11 seasons and building the 2006 team that went to the Super Bowl. He probably would've had another Super Bowl appearance if QB Jay Cutler hadn't hurt his knee in the 2010 NFC Championship Game -- a 21-14 loss to the Packers.
Cohen came to the Jets in 2008 and spent five seasons as Mike Tannenbaum's right-hand man. Prior to the Jets, he worked in the Eagles' personnel department. With the Jets, he has devoted most of his time to pro personnel, evaluating players on other rosters and playing a key role in free agency.
Cohen is the only in-house candidate, which could work against him. If Woody Johnson promotes Cohen, it would be a vote for the status quo -- and that wouldn't sit well with the fan base.
Khan has a close relationship with former Steelers coach Bill Cowher. Even though Cowher issued a statement Saturday saying he has no desire to return to coaching, the Cowher-to-the-Jets speculation will run rampant if they hired Khan. Khan also is friendly with Jed Hughes, the head hunter leading the Jets' search.
Where's Rex Ryan in this? Johnson said last week that Ryan would be part of the GM search, but sources say the coach hasn't had a visible role to this point.
Here's a rundown on the list of known candidates and their current status:
Interviewed and waiting to hear: Angelo, Cohen, Brian Gaine (Dolphins), Tom Gamble (49ers), John Idzik (Seahawks), Omar Khan (Steelers) and Marc Ross (Giants). Gamble and Ross were on their "A" list of candidates.
Hired by other teams: Dave Caldwell (Falcons/Jaguars), John Dorsey (Packers/Chiefs) and Tom Telesco (Colts/Chargers). The Jets expressed interest in Dorsey and Telesco, but never interviewed them because they had other opportunities.
Previous reports that Russ Ball (Packers) and Jim Popp (Montreal Alouettes) were interviewed are not true.