The 2023 NFL regular season has concluded, and the postseason is underway. However, several teams are still searching for new head coaches to lead their franchises next year. With top candidates like Bill Belichick, Jim Harbaugh, and Jerod Mayo already accepting jobs, the pool of available coaches has shrunk considerably.
Top Candidates Quickly Snapped Up
In the days following the end of the regular season, some of the most sought-after head coaching candidates have already landed jobs.
- The New England Patriots brought back legendary coach Bill Belichick just a week after firing Matt Patricia. Belichick returns for his third stint in New England and has signed a 5-year contract.
- The Las Vegas Raiders convinced Jim Harbaugh to leave the University of Michigan and return to the NFL. Harbaugh dominated the college ranks but looks to prove himself again professionally with the talented but underachieving Raiders.
- The Washington Commanders hired assistant coach Bobby Slowik in a surprise move. Slowik has no previous head coaching experience but worked with quarterback Carson Wentz in Washington this past season.
- The Atlanta Falcons went with former linebacker Jerod Mayo. Mayo was a top defensive assistant for the Patriots and will implement that system in Atlanta.
Those candidates accepting jobs early left several teams still searching for the right fit at head coach. And with the candidate pool shrinking, the remaining openings may look to position coaches or former players to take over.
Multiple Franchises Still Unsettled at Head Coach
Despite significant turnover early in the offseason, many teams remain unsettled at the critical head coaching spot. These include some of the league’s most high-profile franchises.
- The Los Angeles Chargers moved quickly in their search, interviewing Jim Harbaugh before he took the Raiders job. They reportedly also met with former Saints coach Sean Payton and Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.
- The NFC South champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers still seek a replacement for Todd Bowles after his firing. They hope to convince Kellen Moore or DeMeco Ryans to lead Tom Brady’s offense.
- NFC East rivals New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys both need new head coaches as well after declining production in 2022. For Big Blue, Brian Flores or Wink Martindale seem to be top options. Dallas may look internally at defensive boss Dan Quinn.
- After the failed Nathaniel Hackett experiment, the Denver Broncos want an experienced leader like Jim Caldwell or Frank Reich to maximize their talent.
- In a surprise, the Pittsburgh Steelers parted ways with long-time coach Mike Tomlin. Ownership wants a strong leader and motivator like Sean Payton or former Miami boss Brian Flores.
|Sean Payton, Bill O’Brien
| Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Todd Bowles | Fired 1/9/2023 | Kellen Moore, DeMeco Ryans
| NY Giants | Brian Daboll | Fired 1/10/2023 | Brian Flores, Wink Martindale
| Dallas Cowboys | Mike McCarthy | Fired 1/10/2023 | Dan Quinn, Kellen Moore
| Denver Broncos | Nathaniel Hackett | Fired 12/26/2022 | Jim Caldwell, Frank Reich
| Pittsburgh Steelers | Mike Tomlin | Contract Not Renewed 1/10/2023 | Sean Payton, Brian Flores
Table showing NFL teams still looking for head coaches, previous 2022 coach, current status, and top candidates
With several major coaching jobs still unfilled, the next few weeks will be critical across the league. As owners interview candidates and make offers, the 2023 season picture will come into better focus.
What to Expect Next
The wild 2023 head coach carousel is not over yet. In the coming days and weeks, the remaining teams need to conduct interviews, vet candidates, and extend contract offers to get deals done.
As top options come off the board, teams may be forced to act quickly on backup plans or rising assistants. Surprise hires could still happen.
Ultimately, most clubs want to have new head coaches in place by early February. That gives staffs enough time to prepare for free agency and the NFL draft.
So buckle up for more drama, negotiations, and announcements over the next few weeks! It should be an exciting remainder of the offseason.
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