BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Bills are closing in on hiring Rex Ryan as their coach.
A person familiar with discussions told The Associated Press on Sunday the team has offered the job to the former New York Jets coach. The two sides are negotiating the final details of a contract.
The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Bills have not discussed their search to replace Doug Marrone, who stepped down abruptly Dec. 31.
The offer was made a day after the Bills identified Ryan as a finalist and met with him for a second time. He was one of 12 candidates to interview for the job since last weekend.
Ryan is very familiar with the Bills after spending the past six seasons coaching their AFC East rival. He had a 50-52 record, including 4-2 in the playoffs, with the Jets before being fired along with general manager John Idzik following a 4-12 finish.
The Bills went 9-7 to match their best record in a decade, but missed the playoffs to extend the NFL’s longest active drought to 15 seasons.
Ryan’s strength is defence, as it is with the Bills. Buffalo’s defence finished fourth in the NFL in yards allowed last season and produced three Pro Bowl linemen.
Ryan’s challenge in Buffalo would be similar to the one he had in New York — providing a spark to a sputtering offence. The Jets finished 22nd in yardage last season — four spots ahead of Buffalo.
Quarterbacks were concerns for both teams, involving two players drafted in 2013 draft.
The Jets faltered behind second-year starter Geno Smith, who was eventually benched and replaced by Michael Vick.
In Buffalo, second-year starter EJ Manuel was benched after four games and replaced by 10-year journeyman Kyle Orton, who has since said he plans to retire.