Would you believe there are more than 25% of the NFL teams in need of a new head coach this offseason? Nine in total. I haven’t bothered to research what the record is for coachless teams in the NFL at any given time is, but I have to imagine nine is up there. Each situation is unique and each team brings a different set of challenges for any takers. As with most of these circumstances, a new regime comes with a new philosophy. Some teams are cleaning house altogether and some are looking for a guy to take their team to the next level with as little changes as possible. Whichever category these teams fall under, there is usually a ranking order one could suggest as to which spot is least to most desirable, but first, let’s remember how we got here.
First out the door was Jon Gruden. While investigating the email scandal in Washington connected to the team’s sexual misconduct accusations, it was discovered that Jon Gruden had made potential racist and insensitive comments about NFLPA president DeMaurice Smith, Roger Goodell, and Michael Sam… 10 years ago while an employee of ESPN. After a public apology, a day after this email was leaked to a New York Times reporter, Gruden made the announcement that he would resign as head coach of the Raiders, so to not be a distraction to the team.
Then we had Urban Meyer, who many thought was dead on arrival in Jacksonville. First came a questionable hiring Chris Doyle, who had a history of alleged racist behavior. Then there was the bumping and grinding incident at the bar with a woman half his age that sparked many memes. Finally a report that he kicked the team kicker Josh Lambo. Parlay all that with their inability to win, and here we are.
Mike Zimmer was my preseason favorite to be the first to be shown the door. Although that guess didn’t pan out, he was eventually given his walking papers after another disappointing season. The Giants moved on from Joe Judge after his second season with the team. They seemed to get worse in the process. The Texans decided it was one and done for David Culley. The Bears have seen enough of Nagy and his quarterback throuple. With a new owner potentially coming in Denver and with John Elway still looking for a quarterback since Peyton Manning retired, they felt now was as good of time as ever to move on from Vic Fangio. In a bizarre move with bizarre reasons the Dolphins moved on from Brian Flores. Lastly, just yesterday Sean Payton decided to hang em up after a decade and a half with the Saints. So here’s the list…
New York Giants:
This is a full blown remodeling job. This team is seriously lacking talent in major areas, and are over spending in others. Some of their best players have little time left on their contracts. They have a gigantic question mark at quarterback. To top all that off they’re currently $7 million over the cap. The good news is that they currently sit on the 5th and 7th overall pick in the draft, as well as the 4th pick in round two and the 3rd in round three. However since this draft won’t likely land them their future quarterback, this good news isn’t enough to keep them from dead last on this list. They are likely the 4th best in the NFC East for the foreseeable future.
Another team over the cap. At $13 million in the red, the new staff will have to make a decision on Kirk Cousins. He’s just good enough to keep them in most games and just bad enough to lose most of them. They will be shedding some aging weight as Patrick Peterson, Anthony Barr, Sheldon Richardson, Xavier Woods, and Everson Griffen are expected to hit the market, but thats also a lot of bodies to replace. With a new staff coming will Justin Jefferson want to stick around for a rebuild? Will Dalvin Cook continue his productivity? The team could move on from him at the end of the 2022 campaign as his cap hit goes down bigly. The best news the Vikings could use is a retirement from Aaron Rodgers, but other than that, they’ve got a lot of work to do and a lot of questions to answer.
This might be one on the worst run franchises in professional sports. Jack Esterby has a magic spell over the owner. Every elite level player has demanded their release or trade. No coach can possibly be safe there. Some of the players signed last year in free agency have already been traded or waived, and if you’re a free agent this year, Houston has to be 32nd on your favorite destinations list. A new coach is likely to clean house and start from scratch, assuming Esterby allows it. It wouldn’t surprise me if this is the last team to hire a coach unless they really want Josh McCown. The upside is that they will likely get a king’s ransom by trading Deshaun Watson before the draft. Last I heard they want multiple number ones and possibly players to boot. They have $17 million in cap room and as of now, the 3rd overall pick.
$30 million in cap room likely makes any coach smile. Allen Robinson and two key components to their front seven in Alec Ogletree and Akiem Hicks are hitting the op[en market. Andy Dalton and Jimmy Graham also will be off the books. They don’t have a 1st rounder since they traded it to move up and take Justin Fields, so whoever takes the job is likely tied to the success and development of their sophomore quarterback. New GM Ryan Poles is likely to be the guy that chooses the next direction for the team and coach. Historically they’ve mostly been a run heavy team and dedicated resources to defense. Since he was in fact a Chicago Bear himself, I’ll assume they stick with the status quo.
Is there a more glamorous city to coach in? The models, the food, the beach, the wild colors, and a whole lot of the houses money to play with. The Dolphins boast the largest amount of cap space in the league at, wait for it… $70 million to spend. That’s a crazy amount of money available, but it gets better. Tua Tagovailoa may or may not be their quarterback of the future but he’s not a bad option to have in the interim in the event that they decide to go a different way. Albert Wilson and Will Fuller are likely not to be resigned and thats ok. Their best pass catcher in DeVonta Parker is still under contract. Emmanuel Ogbah and Mike Gesicki are big decisions to make and they can definitely afford to keep them if they want to. Their first round pick isn’t exactly near the top as they hold the rights to the 49ers selection, who are still playing, so at best it will be in the bottom four of the round. Be that as it may, 70 large can plug a lot of holes.
Las Vegas Raiders:
If you’re gonna take the job in Sin City, there’s only one rule… Just win baby. After a year many in the organization would prefer to forget, the team is actually not in terrible shape as they build for the future. The team has decided to not commit interim Rick Bisaccia and keep their options open. The team goes in to the offseason with $29 million in cap room and a full draft worth of picks. Other than Jalen Richard the team isn’t at risk of losing any major components to the roster. Most of the key losses to the team have sadly already happened. If I were to make a prediction. The next coach has to want to throw the ball deep early and often. They also need to make sure within the first 5 to 10 plays of any game, the other team’s quarterback must go down, and he must go down hard.
Duval!!! Not exactly the most exciting city in America. However the tax system in Florida is nice, they’ve got sandy beaches, and oh by the way… Fabio is there. I simply cannot not sell a team in a city where the main road that splits it east to west is called none other than… The John Turner Boulevard. The Jags have the second most cap space at $59 million, the 1st overall pick in the draft, Travis Etienne coming back, and the best mustache of any team owner in the league. Honestly I’m only sad because the quarterback room doesn’t include Gardner Minshew and Tim Tebow. Other than that, this team is a very attractive landing spot for any head coach hopeful. They actually have a few nice pieces to build around on the roster and the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck.
New Orleans Saints:
One of my favorite cities in the country. The cap situation is God awful as they’re $74 million over it. They have a couple of contracts tied up on players they absolutely need to move on from, with Michael Thomas being the first off the top of my head. There’s some heavy hitters coming off the books and headed to free agency, but if they can figure out how to restructure a couple of deals and move a few players in conjunction with drafting well… This team will be right back in the thick of the division. The upside of having a team financially strapped is that they’re in the NFC South. The Falcons are… mediocre at best. The Panthers are probably or should be in rebuild mode. Oh, and TB12 might retire, which sends Tampa in to a tail spin. Between the 2nd Lines, the food, the pride on Bourbon Street, and the Chiefs that roam the streets during Mardi Gras… The Big Easy is an easy choice.
The Mile High City. At first glance I don’t see anyone that would be considered a core player hitting free agency. They’ve got about $42 million in cap room, and a couple of quarterbacks that might be dangling out there just far enough for John Elway to be convinced to play “Let’s Make a Deal”. They let their best pass rusher go midseason, but got out of his deal in the process. Other than having a top 10 pick in the first round, they also have two picks in rounds two and three. There’s a reason Mike Shanahan still calls this place home after being let go from the organization 14 years ago. Between the views and the easy living lifestyle, Denver should always be a target of anyone’s. The cherry on top is that they will likely have a new owner that is likely a first timer in that regard in the NFL, therefore susceptible to being open to suggestions.
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