- Eight NFL teams are heading into the offseason in search of a new head coach.
- Some candidates in high demand could have their pick of available gigs.
- Looking at the situation of each franchise, it’s clear that two teams are far better opportunities than any other in the NFL.
The 2018 NFL regular season is in the books, with 12 teams left to compete for their spot in Super Bowl LII and the rest of the league preparing for next year.
For many teams whose season is over, that means cleaning shop, and on this week’s proverbial “Black Monday,” a whopping six teams chose to let go of their head coaches in favour of searching for another candidate for the job.
Combined with the midseason firings, there are eight head coaching positions to be filled, and a plethora of candidates that includes former coaches, current college coaches, and coordinators hoping to make the leap.
While there are only so many NFL head-coaching jobs, not all are created equal. Depending on the state of the franchise – it’s young players, cap space, and the influence of ownership – some jobs look much more enviable heading into the 2019 season.
Below we break down the most enticing jobs in the NFL and some of the candidates rumoured to be in the mix to fill them.
8. Miami Dolphins
2018 record: 7-9
Rumoured candidates: Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores, Dolphins special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi
Why they’re interested: You have to start your NFL head coaching career somewhere and all of the names currently set to interview for the Miami job so far would be first-time head coaches in the league. With big questions across the board on offence, from a frustratingly average quarterback to a group of receivers and running backs that were quite vocal about their dislike of previous head coach Adam Gase, it will be far from an easy entrance into NFL head coaching.
7. Cincinnati Bengals
2018 record: 6-10
Rumoured candidates: Former Browns head coach Hue Jackson, former Broncos head coach Vance Joseph, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels
Why they’re interested: The Bengals have been stuck between being bad and mediocre for too long, and while the roster includes some studs such as A.J. Green and Joe Mixon, the team is far from a Super Bowl run. Still, the Bengals job is an opportunity to rebuild the team anew and comes with what must feel like a healthy amount of job security.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2018 record: 5-11
Rumoured candidates: Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy
Why they’re interested: There’s a good amount of talent in Tampa Bay, but even after a difficult year at the quarterback position, general manager Jason Licht recently made it clear that the team would be sticking with Jameis Winston moving forward. If that’s something an incoming head coach is willing to work with, the Buccaneers job is rather enticing.
5. Denver Broncos
2018 record: 6-10
Rumoured candidates: Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores, Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak, Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor, former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy
Why they’re interested: While a tough division and a far-from-luxurious cap situation after signing Von Miller and Case Keenum ensure that the Broncos job will be a challenging one, the franchise likely sports one of the most talented rosters available to an incoming head coach.
4. Arizona Cardinals
2018 record: 3-13
Rumoured candidates: Saints assistant head coach Dan Campbell, Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor, former Dolphins head coach Adam Gase, USC offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury
Why they’re interested: Josh Rosen’s rookie season didn’t go as well as planned, but he still has plenty of potential to turn into a franchise quarterback. Meanwhile, David Johnson might have been the most underutilized skill position player of the 2018 season and is a talent that any incoming coach would appreciate. The biggest drawback of the job? Being stuck in the same division as the Rams, Seahawks, and 49ers.
3. New York Jets
2018 record: 4-12
Rumoured candidates: Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, USC offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury
Why they’re interested: The Jets don’t have quite the stockpile of young talent that the Browns have. But with Sam Darnold, a slew of draft picks, and a good amount of cap space in the coming seasons, whoever takes over the Jets head coaching job will be in a position to turn the team around.
2. Green Bay Packers
2018 record: 6-9-1
Rumoured candidates: Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores, former Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano
Why they’re interested: Aaron Rodgers isn’t getting any younger, but he still has plenty of game left in him at 35 years old. The opportunity to coach the greatest quarterback of a generation doesn’t come around all that often.
1. Cleveland Browns
2018 record: 7-8-1
Rumoured candidates: Interim head coach Gregg Williams, former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, Saints assistant head coach Dan Campbell
Why they’re interested: Lead by rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield, the Cleveland Browns showed during the second half of the season how much potential they have over the next few years – going an emphatic 5-3 after the mid-season firing of Hue Jackson. Between Mayfield and a slew of other talented early-round picks over the past two years, including Nick Chubb, Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers, and more, the Browns are only set to get better in the immediate future, in a city that’s hungrier for a winning football team than any in the country.