With the recent firing of head coach David Cully in Houston, there are now eight open head coaching jobs in the NFL. And if you look at the NFL stats for point differential in 2021, not surprisingly, all eight openings rank in the league’s bottom half.
But how does each of the open jobs rank among the others? If you were a top coaching candidate with your pick of jobs, which would you want?
1.) Las Vegas Raiders
This team actually has a coach, and it’s unclear if the interim label will be removed from Rich Bisaccia or not. Perhaps it should be, since the Raiders became the first team to ever replace their coach in the middle of the season and make the playoffs.
Making this the most desirable job in football is a brand new stadium in Las Vegas, a passionate fan base, a very good quarterback in Derek Carr, and a team that could win ten games despite a series of off-the-field troubles.
There is a foundation in Las Vegas, and a new coach could turn them into a regular postseason visitor.
2.) Minnesota Vikings
A case could be made to have the Vikings number one on this list. They have stable ownership, excellent facilities, legitimate superstars in Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson, and the foundation of the team that went to the NFC Championship Game in 2017 is still in place.
They rank behind the Raiders for two reasons. One is Kirk Cousins and his contract. He’s a good quarterback, but his $45 million cap hit in 2022 is rough. And with $45 million in a dead cap hit, you’re stuck. Also, the defense in Minnesota needs a complete overhaul.
Still, ownership has shown patience, so a new coach should get the chance to make a turnaround.
3.) Miami Dolphins
There is a lot to like about the Dolphins roster and a lot to love about their defense. You also have several young pieces on offense that should be fun to play with for a new head coach. They also don’t come with substantial price tags.
The only concern is that Brian Flores wasn’t fired for performance but rather fit. And if a new coach doesn’t fit well with ownership and general manager Chris Grier, the job in Miami might not have security.
4.) Chicago Bears
The Bears have a solid defense with built-in leadership, a young quarterback on offense that shows lots of promise, and a good situation in the NFC North. The best quarterback in the division is in the twilight of his career, and a new team and coach are poised to become competitive in the next few years.
There will also be a new general manager with whom a new head coach can grow.
5.) Denver Broncos
With a change in ownership on the way in the coming months, it’s hard for a new coach to know what kind of working relationship he can expect with his new boss.
That concern, however, is tempered by an outstanding roster on defense and good skill position players on offense. If only they had a viable quarterback on the roster, the Broncos would rank higher.
6.) Jacksonville Jaguars
The next Jaguars coach comes in knowing that because of the botched hiring of Urban Meyer, the rookie season of Trevor Lawrence was a waste. Lawrence isn’t a waste – he oozes talent. But there was little to no growth this year.
General Manager Trent Baalke is also still in place, and it’s his bad roster that will make this a challenging job.
7.) New York Giants
The Giants are projected to have just $3.54 million in cap space for 2022. They are facing fifth-year option decisions on Saquon Barkey and Daniel Jones. A host of other players are expected to be expensive this offseason.
After a four-win season and rough finances, things might actually get even worse in New York.
8.) Houston Texans
No coach in the 2021 season was set up to fail more than David Culley in Houston, and the fact that he got fired despite getting the absolute most that could be expected from the worst roster in the NFL speaks volumes about ownership.
If a coach has other choices, he should avoid Houston.