INDIANAPOLIS – Jets coach Robert Saleh is one of three head coaches not attending the NFL Scouting Combine this week.
Saleh joined Rams coach Sean McVay and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan in skipping the event this year. Saleh is participating in the prospect interviews virtually and some of his position coaches will be here to work the on-field drills later in the week, but he felt staying in Florham Park was a better use of the coaching staff’s time.
“Obviously there’s a million different ways to do things,” Saleh said in a Zoom call with reporters on Wednesday. “We feel great about where we are in regards to the [combine]. Really felt for us it’s just a more efficient way to utilize our time. As you guys know, at the [combine] there’s a lot of medical checks, there’s a lot of testing, there’s a lot of poking and prodding of the players, so there’s a ton of downtime. We felt like it would be a great use of our time to stay here, dive deep into the draft, work on free agency, revisit the Senior Bowl. So, we’ve got a lot of work done.
“We have guys working these guys out so when they have their workouts, each position group has their workouts later in the week, we still have our position coaches flying down because they’ll be down on the field, which I think is useful in terms of getting up close and personal and being able to talk to them. We’re still able to execute all our 15-minute interviews, 20-minute interviews that we get with our players via Zoom. It’s a great chance to have an introduction and talk to them. We’re still getting everything that we need to out of the [combine] from an exposure to the player standpoint. But we felt like by being here we were able to get so much more work done with regards to scheme and draft and free agency and all of that. I feel very good about where we are and feel like we’re getting a lot better this week.”
Saleh was asked if he loses anything by not being in the room with the prospects during the interviews.
“The reality is it’s a 20-minute interview,” Saleh said. “No one’s going to hire … if you’re going into the combine thinking a 20-minute interview is going to make or break whether or not you’re going to give a young man millions and millions of dollars, shame on you. That’s my personal opinion. We still have Pro Days. We still have private workouts. We still have our 30 visits. We still have so many more conversations, phone conversations, there’s Zooms that follow.
“There’s going to be a lot of different conversations. A really cool 20-minute introduction via Zoom – hey, this is who we are, great to meet you, let’s go over some tape, let’s hear some philosophy, hey, that was great introduction, we’ll see you about 50 more times between now and the draft. What we want to get out of the draft, I think has been fantastic. We’ve had had meetings the first two nights. They’ve gone awesome. They’ve been seamless. I’m really happy about the decision we’ve made and the direction we’re going.”
Jets GM Joe Douglas said he fully supported Saleh’s decision and said it gave them “max efficiency.”
Douglas said the Jets will pick up the fifth-year option of DT Quinnen Williams for the 2023 season. Williams is due to make $4.9 million this year and the option would be for a fully guaranteed $11.5 million in 2023, according to Over The Cap. Williams is eligible for a contract extension but the Jets have shown no desire to give him one yet and Williams and his agent have not made noise about wanting one.
Douglas said he met with Nicole Lynn, Williams’ agent, and said he had a “productive conversation” with her.
“We’re excited to have Quinnen,” Douglas said. “This is going to be Year 2 in a defense that we feel really accentuates his strengths, his positives. Looking forward to him come back and dominate this offseason and have a great year.”
Douglas said he has spoken with agent Drew Rosenhaus about bringing back WR/KR Braxton Berrios, who is scheduled to hit free agency in two weeks.
“With Braxton, had some good conversations with his representation Drew and we’re going to have more conversations,” Douglas said. “Obviously, Braxton has been awesome since we brought him in. He’s an asset to this team. For us, it’s important to keep the guys that do things the right way and carry themselves the right way.”