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The 2024 NFL Coaching Carousel: Ranking the Open Jobs and Top Candidates

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Jan 19, 2024

The 2023 NFL regular season has ended, kicking off one of the wildest coaching carousels in recent memory. With seven teams looking to fill head coach vacancies, big names like Bill Belichick and Jim Harbaugh are on the move, while top college coaches are considering making the jump to the pros.

The Open NFL Head Coach Jobs

Seven NFL franchises are searching for new head coaches:

  • Atlanta Falcons
  • Carolina Panthers
  • Arizona Cardinals
  • Denver Broncos
  • Indianapolis Colts
  • Houston Texans
  • Los Angeles Chargers

These jobs have been ranked from least to most attractive by coaches, executives and analysts:

  1. Houston Texans
  2. Carolina Panthers
  3. Atlanta Falcons
  4. Indianapolis Colts
  5. Arizona Cardinals
  6. Denver Broncos
  7. Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers job is viewed as the crown jewel, featuring a talented young quarterback in Justin Herbert and a solid core of playmakers. The Broncos job still holds appeal due to Russell Wilson’s presence, while the Cardinals and Colts provide the chance to mold a young signal-caller. The Falcons and Panthers face longer rebuilds but do have some promising pieces. The Texans slot last as the furthest away from contention with uncertainty at QB.

Top Head Coach Candidates

With so many openings, many of the league’s top coaching candidates are in the mix across multiple teams:

Bill Belichick

The legendary Patriots coach is being targeted by the Chargers and Broncos after shockingly leaving New England. Going to Los Angeles would allow Belichick to work with Herbert, while Denver offers a chance to revive Wilson’s career.

Top Suitors: Chargers, Broncos

Jim Harbaugh

Harbaugh is expected to leave Michigan after a successful college tenure. His candidacy is boosted by his previous NFL experience coaching the 49ers.

Top Suitors: Broncos, Panthers, Colts

DeMeco Ryans

The 49ers defensive coordinator is a top up-and-comer after architecting the league’s #1 defense this season. He figures to land a job soon.

Top Suitors: Texans, Broncos, Colts

Dan Quinn

Quinn has orchestrated a defensive revival with the Cowboys, making him a safe hire for teams looking for a proven NFL coach.

Top Suitors: Broncos, Cardinals

Eric Bieniemy

The Chiefs OC is long overdue for a top job. His pedigree working under Andy Reid intrigues teams.

Top Suitors: Panthers, Cardinals, Colts

Brian Daboll

After earning high praise for the Giants’ turnaround, Daboll is a candidate for both the Colts and Cardinals jobs.

Top Suitors: Colts, Cardinals

Other names being discussed include college coaches Luke Fickell (Cincinnati) and Matt Campbell (Iowa State), and coordinators Kellen Moore (Cowboys), Shane Steichen (Eagles) and Mike Kafka (Giants).

Ultimately, the most intriguing storylines center on where premier coaches like Belichick and Harbaugh end up, and if someone like DeMeco Ryans can follow the Sean McVay/Kevin O’Connell mold from coordinator to head coach.

What’s Next

The coaching carousel turns quickly in the NFL. Teams have begun lining up interviews with candidates, which will unfold over the next two weeks. Hiring decisions are expected by early February. Additional movement often occurs with coordinators slotted to fill assistant vacancies underneath new head coaches.

This rare confluence of star power and openings should reshape the league’s coaching ranks for years to come. Franchises like the Chargers and Broncos are hoping this coaching search can land them the leader to get their talented rosters over the hump. Others like the Panthers and Texans face longer rebuilds, but are seeking a coach who can establish a winning culture and develop a young quarterback.

No matter the job, the stakes are high. The 2023 carousel emphasizes just how vital the right coaching hire is for on-field success. After predecessors like Matt Rhule (Panthers), Nathaniel Hackett (Broncos) and Frank Reich (Colts) struggled, owners must identify candidates who can thrive in today’s NFL. With veteran coaches like Belichick and Harbaugh potentially changing teams, other franchises may feel pressured to keep pace.

For now, the ball is in the court of decision-makers like Dave Ziegler (Raiders), Chris Grier (Dolphins) and Bill O’Brien (Patriots) to interview and evaluate candidates. Over the next month, their choices will shape teams and divisions for years to come, adding more intrigue to an already captivating carousel.

So buckle up – with marquee jobs open and superstar coaches circling, the 2024 NFL offseason is poised to start with a bang.

AiBot

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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