Jan. 14 (UPI) -- San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh has reached an agreement in principle with the New York Jets to become their next head coach, the team announced Thursday night.
The 41-year-old Saleh quickly established himself as one of the top candidates for the Jets' head-coaching vacancy. According to ESPN, he traveled to New Jersey for a second interview Tuesday. The team decided to make an offer to Saleh after a second interview with Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith on Thursday.
Saleh, who will become the first Muslim-American head coach in NFL history, received interview requests from six of the seven teams in the market for a new head coach this off-season.
Saleh replaces former head coach Adam Gase, who posted a 9-23 record in two years and was fired immediately after the 2020 season. According to ESPN, Saleh is expected to bring 49ers passing game coordinator Mike LaFleur with him as his offensive coordinator.
Prior to joining the Jets, Saleh spent four seasons as the 49ers' defensive coordinator. He inherited the 32nd-ranked defense in yards allowed and transformed it into a top-5 unit the last two seasons. Despite multiple injuries, his defense finished fifth in yards and 17th in scoring in 2020.