Saints WR coach John Morton to join Jets as offensive coordinator

ByRich Cimini ESPN logo
Sunday, January 29, 2017

After a four-week search, the New York Jets are poised to hire Saints receivers coach John Morton as their new offensive coordinator, league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Morton will replace Chan Gailey, who held the job for two years before announcing his retirement two days after the 2016 season ended.

Morton, 47, will be the Jets' fifth coordinator in the past seven years, and the second under coach Todd Bowles. Morton and former Texansoffensive coordinator George Godsey were the only known candidates.

Previously, Broncos running backs coach Eric Studesville interviewed for the job, but he decided to remain in Denver.

Bowles interviewed Morton before the Senior Bowl, where he met with Godsey. This was a difficult hire because of the circumstances. The Jets have no proven quarterback, only Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg, and Bowles could be entering a make-or-break season.

The Jets finished 26th in total offense and 30th in scoring this season.

Morton has no coordinator experience at the NFL level, but has spent 10 seasons as an assistant coach with the Raiders, 49ers and Saints.

His biggest coaching influences are Saints coach Sean Payton andMichigancoach Jim Harbaugh, who was the 49ers' head coach while Morton worked as the receivers coach from 2011 to 2014.

Morton returned for a second stint with the Saints in 2015 and was credited with developing young receiversBrandin Cooks, Willie Snead and Michael Thomas.

Thomas, a second-round pick, finished with 92 catches, the second-most of any rookie receiver, behind only Anquan Boldin's 101 in 2003 and just ahead of Odell Beckham Jr.(2014) and Eddie Royal (2008) with 91 each.

Thomas' 1,137 yards ranked sixth among rookies in NFL history, and his nine touchdowns tied for 15th, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Thomas, Cooks and Snead formed the most prolific receiving trio in the league in 2016, combining for 242 catches and 3,205 yards.

Bowles still has two vacancies on his offensive staff, at quarterbacks and running backs coaches.

ESPN's Mike Triplett contributed to this report.