It’s been a wild week for head coaching jobs in the NFL, as two of the biggest icons in the sport have been removed from their coaching jobs, Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll. Belichick’s removal had been forecast over the last couple months, but Carroll was more surprising. Add in Mike Vrabel getting canned in Tennessee and it has been an interesting week.
We can’t say that all the head coaching firings are over, but it appears as if the current head coaches have managed to stick around for another season. Let’s take a look at those openings and rank them for desirability for a coach looking for a new job.
7. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers traded away the farm for the No. 1 pick in last year’s draft and so far the returns have not been good. Quarterback Bryce Young underperformed throughout the 2023 season, giving no real hope for his future. That of course doesn’t mean he can’t turn things around, but initial returns have been ugly. A new head coach would likely need to be in on Young and that turnaround, as they have no first round pick this season and aren’t going to cut ties with their first-round pick after just one season.
6. Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders head coaching job has been a perilous one of late, as we’ve seen Jon Gruden and Josh McDaniels go down in the vortex of their own making. Antonio Pierce showed enough as interim to give him a shot, but Mark Davis could once again go for an expensive hire for his expensive new stadium.
Las Vegas picks 13th overall, rank 12th in draft capital for this season, and have the 10th-most salary cap at the moment. But, they don’t have a quarterback. Quarterback isn’t a position you can hide for very long and it takes special circumstances to be able to win a championship with just an above average signal caller. Until they figure that out, the Raiders head coaching job remains a tough one.
5. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks proved the last two seasons that they have the talent to compete, but not enough to truly compete for a Lombardi trophy. They are near the bottom in salary cap room and they don’t have a Top 10 pick, but Geno Smith has proven he can win. The worry is that they’ll get stuck in NFL purgatory with Smith, which could doom a new head coach.
4. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons have talent on offense and defense, unfortunately, they don’t have a quarterback. That could change this offseason, as Justin Fields or Kirk Cousins could be available in a trade or they could trade up in the draft from their No. 8 pick overall. Finding that quarterback will be the difference between this job being a great opportunity versus a job that could get you fired after a couple seasons.
3. New England Patriots
Following the greatest coach ever isn’t the easiest task, but the Patriots are set up well for a rebuild, as they have the No. 3 overall pick and the third most salary cap space. I’d like to see a fresh face in New England, but we will likely get a Patriots veteran. The good news is that Bill Belichick the GM is gone, which could help the new head coach gather the personnel he needs for a quicker turnaround.
2. Washington Commanders
It feels odd to put a Washington team this high on the list, but with new ownership and the No. 2 overall pick, there is a lot to like in D.C. We know the fan base there is rabid if they can get any taste of winning and new ownership should have the money to land a top candidate. There is talent on the roster, but they traded some of that away and will be rebuilding, but with a good rookie QB on his rookie contract. They also have the most salary cap space in the league at the moment. I could see them being the No. 1 job, especially for a coach wanting to prove they can pick and develop a QB into a star. But that also means they have to do that, while Chargers QB Justin Herbert has shown what he can do in the pros.
1. Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers may be cursed, which would drop them in the rankings, but, if they just need the right head coach to get them out of their very, very long funk, then it’s my favorite spot for one reason and one reason only, QB Justin Herbert.
There are a lot of negatives right now for the Chargers, including ownership, cap space and aging talent. But they have one thing that many teams don’t have, a top end quarterback. And, if they can land Jim Harbaugh or Bill Belichick, I don’t see how they don’t turn that team around fast. Add in a No. 5 overall draft pick this season to sweeten the pot and people will want this job. If they can shore up the defense and give Herbert reliable targets, winning is right around the corner.