Six teams — and counting — have head coaching vacancies after several firings were announced on the bloodbath that usually is the Monday after the conclusion of the regular season.
The Jaguars, Jets, Texans, Falcons, Lions, and Chargers are all on the hunt for a new head coach, and some of these jobs are as attractive as a coaching gig can get.
But which is the most attractive? Here’s our ranking, in reverse order.
6. Houston Texans
The Texans don’t have a first-round pick, but they do have QB Deshaun Watson. Maybe that works as an offset. But Watson’s been in Houston for a few years now and if one thing’s become blatantly obvious, it’s that he needs help. That help can only come via the NFL Draft, and a new head coach will begin his tenure without the third overall selection. The Texans sent it to the Dolphins in the trade for offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil.
5. Detroit Lions
There are some building blocks in place in Detroit, starting with quarterback Matthew Stafford, who despite his tenure in the league is still just 32 years old (he turns 33 in February). There are several good years left in his right arm. The Matt Patricia era was a complete disaster and a waste of some of Stafford’s prime years. But with a good core of offensive skill players and the sixth overall pick in their arsenal, the Lions should have little trouble attracting a top coaching candidate.
4. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons are a tough one to gauge. Matt Ryan will be 36 next season and aside from WR Calvin Ridley, the offense feels very aged. But fear not! The Falcons own the fourth pick in the 2021 NFL draft and they should be able to land one of the top quarterback prospects in the class with that selection (either BYU’s Zach Wilson or Ohio State’s Justin Fields). That, alone, makes this gig enticing.
3. New York Jets
The good news for whoever takes the Jets job is they’ll have options at quarterback. They can either stick with Sam Darnold for another season or go all-in with whichever quarterback they grade highest after Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, who’s expected to be the first pick to the Jaguars. The bad news is that New York is an impatient town. There’s more pressure to win (soon) with the Jets than any of the other jobs, so it’ll take a certain type of person to handle the outside noise. That said, the lure of winning in the league’s biggest market will be very real.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars
Trevor Lawrence. Need we say more? So much of today’s NFL success comes down to the quarterback and the Jaguars are on the cusp of landing the best quarterback prospect to come along since Andrew Luck. The Colts experienced the kind of turnaround one player can lead, and Lawrence will do the same in Jacksonville. Coaches who have great starting quarterbacks usually hang around for a while. The line of candidates who want this job will be extremely long.