Mike Florio, of NBC Sports, said rumors are flying within league circles about Manning joining the Jets because CEO Christopher Johnson wants a "great strategic thinker" to run his football operations and someone who can work well with new head coach Adam Gase.
“It’s more than a talent-evaluation guy,” Johnson told reporters last Wednesday, according to NBC Sports. “I want a great manager, a communicator, who can collaborate well with the building. I’m convinced we’re going to find that person.”
Florio says he believes these traits are exactly what Peyton Manning can bring.
The team's previous GM, Mike Maccagnan, was fired last Wednesday after reports suggested he didn't get along with Gase, who he personally assisted in hiring back in January.
Maccagnan, who joined the Jets in 2015, butted heads with Gase on moves the team made during free agency in 2019, including shelling out $52.5 million for former Pittsburgh running back Le'Veon Bell, according to NFL.com.
"Adam Gase likes Le'Veon Bell, just did not love spending that much money for a player at that position," NFL Network Insider's Ian Rapoport reported in May. "It's really just the running back position itself. So he likes the player just didn't love the price tag."
The team also gave former Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley a five-year $85 million deal with $51 million guaranteed, an average of $17 million per year.
"I was told Gase didn't want to pay more than about $13 million," Rapoport said. "So the disagreements on the price were something that were clearly issues."
Gase was promoted to interim GM when Maccagnan was let go and will hold the title until the team can find a replacement.
Peyton Manning has been linked to Gase after the two spent time together with the Denver Broncos, eventually losing to the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII after the 2013 season. The two are known to have a rapport, with Peyton Manning putting up career numbers when Gase was his offensive coordinator.
Back in January when New York was looking at Adam Gase for their head coach position, Jeff Darlington of ESPN reported that Jets CEO Christopher Johnson called Peyton Manning to ask about his former offensive coordinator.
Manning also talked about his relationship with Gase and how the two worked through his nearly career-ending neck injury.
"Adam was wonderful to me after my injury. I had to learn to play football in a sort of different physical state because I couldn't throw the ball the same way," Manning said to reporters at an event in February.
Manning has the qualities and connections the team is looking for, now we'll have to wait in see if he wants to be that person.