Rex Ryan went from the hot seat to some job security.
At least through the next two seasons.
The New York Jets signed the popular coach to a contract extension Thursday, removing the lame-duck label from Ryan and keeping him with the franchise through the 2015 season — and possibly beyond. The team announced the extension for Ryan, who had one year remaining on his contract, but provided no further details regarding the length of the deal or financial terms.
ESPN, which first reported the deal, said it is a multiyear extension that contains incentives based on playoff victories. Ryan is 4-2 in the postseason with the Jets, including trips to the AFC championship game in his first two seasons, but New York hasn't made the playoffs in three years.
"I know what we all want and we're striving to get there," Ryan said in a statement issued by the team. "But it's not about me. We're already into our off-season planning. There are a lot of areas where we can improve, and we can't wait to get this thing rolling."
Ryan was retained by owner Woody Johnson for next season after his job appeared in jeopardy. Expectations were extremely low outside the team entering this season, but Ryan led the Jets to a surprising 8-8 finish that had players and fans clamoring for Johnson and General Manager John Idzik to keep the coach.
Johnson, who announced after the season-ending win at Miami that Ryan would be back, rewarded him with the extension and removed the specter of him heading into next season without a contract beyond this year. Ryan is 42-38 in the regular season in his five years with the Jets.
"I'm no different than any of our fans," Ryan said. "I'm an ordinary guy that's been given an unbelievable opportunity. I've said all along: I'm glad to be a Jet. I'm happy to be a Jet. That's never changed."
Despite the extension, Ryan wouldn't necessarily be guaranteed to return after next season or 2015 if the Jets continue to miss the postseason.
For now, though, the idea that Ryan could be around for at least two more seasons could help recruit free agents, and the Jets are expected to be a major player this off-season since they will be comfortably under the salary cap.
New York will probably part ways with injured quarterback Mark Sanchez and wide receiver Santonio Holmes and possibly cornerback Antonio Cromartie to save money on the salary cap. There are several potential key free agents, including right tackle Austin Howard, right guard Willie Colon and kicker Nick Folk.
Bengals promote Guenther to defensive coordinator
The Cincinnati Bengals promoted linebackers coach Paul Guenther to defensive coordinator on Thursday, keeping continuity for a unit that finished No. 3 in the NFL last season. Guenther was promoted a day after the Minnesota Vikings hired Mike Zimmer as their head coach.
Guenther has spent nine seasons on Cincinnati's coaching staff, the last two with the linebackers.
Vikings hoping to sign Turner as offensive coordinator
Mike Zimmer has a lot to fix on Minnesota's defense. For the issues other side of the ball, the new coach of the Vikings has targeted Norv Turner.
Turner has emerged as the likely offensive coordinator to lead Zimmer's staff. Turner told the Associated Press in a brief phone interview Thursday that he and Zimmer have been talking about the job, though Turner said nothing was finalized yet.
"Hopefully it works out," Turner said.
Zimmer was hired Wednesday to replace coach Leslie Frazier, who was fired Dec. 30, and he's acted quickly to assemble his assistants. Though many on Frazier's staff have one year left on their contracts, new coaches almost always bring in their own.
The 61-year-old Turner would be a logical hire.