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We're tracking who's gone, who's staying, and the top candidates for openings as the NFL coaching carousel starts to spin

By The MMQB Staff
January 05, 2018

THE LATEST

According to Steve Corkran, the Raiders will introduce Jon Gruden as their new head coach on Tuesday.

The Bengals have signed Marvin Lewis to a new, two-year contract.

Pete Carroll has said he will not retire.

Longtime Packers GM Ted Thompson will transition to a new role within the organization.

Broncos fire multiple assistant coaches, but offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave will return for 2018.

Bears GM Ryan Pace has received a contract extension.

Bruce Arians has told his staff he is retiring.

John Elway announced Vance Joseph will get a second season in Denver.

The Bears have fired John Fox.

Jim Caldwell has been fired by the Lions; Detroit requests interview with Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel.

Broncos GM John Elway is on the fence about Vance Joseph, but is now leaning toward keeping Joseph for a second season.

After a season-ending loss to the Chargers, Jack Del Rio said he has been fired by Oakland. All eyes now turn to Jon Gruden.

Chuck Pagano has been fired by the Colts.

Read on for team-by-team news and analysis...


Arizona Cardinals

STATUS: Bruce Arians is retiring.

THE LATEST

Plan is for Eagles QBs coach John DeFilippo to interview for the Cardinals and Bears HC jobs on Friday/Saturday in Philly, per source. —Albert Breer

Bruce Arians: "I probably didn't truly know until that kick went through that I was gonna retire. Everybody was speculating ... Been an unbelievable journey." —Albert Breer

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians told his coaches that he's retiring, per sources. It'll be made official shortly. —Albert Breer

CANDIDATES TO WATCH

Arizona has put in a request to interview Vikings OC Pat Shurmur.—Albert Breer

I'd expect the Cardinals' search to be as wide open as any out there during this cycle. They'll be thorough with it, and go in without a front-runner. —Albert Breer

Whispers within league circles suggest GM Steve Keim wants an offensive-minded head coach—most likely one who values traditional dropback pocket passing (essentially, a younger Bruce Arians). Josh McDaniels is the biggest name out there, but there are multiple jobs that come with a long-term franchise quarterback; Arizona isn’t one of them. Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter is hot young candidate, but his passing game isn’t as sophisticated as Arians’. Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy’s stock has sky-rocketed in the past month since Andy Reid appointed him as the play-caller. But Nagy, given his inexperience, represents a serious gamble. Someone with previous head coaching experience and many more years of play-calling would be safer, perhaps an older branch of the Andy Reid coaching tree: Pat Shurmur. —Andy Benoit


Chicago Bears

STATUS: John Fox has been fired. GM Ryan Pace has received a contract extension.

THE LATEST

Bears have requested permission to interview Patriots OC Josh McDaniels and Vikings OC Pat Shurmur. —Albert Breer

Plan is for Eagles QBs coach John DeFilippo to interview for the Cardinals and Bears HC jobs on Friday/Saturday in Philly, per source. —Albert Breer

Bears president Ted Phillips announces contract extension for GM Ryan Pace. New deal takes the sides through 2021. —Albert Breer

The writing has been on the wall here for a while. What’s less certain is whether GM Ryan Pace gets to pick the next coach, and whether the coaches pursued by the Bears dictate Pace’s fate. —Albert Breer

CANDIDATES TO WATCH

Expect to hear offensive names like Minnesota's Pat Shurmur, New England's Josh McDaniels and Philly QBs coach John DeFilippo in the mix. —Albert Breer

If Vic Fangio follows Fox out the door (which is likely), you’re left with a defense that’s decent, but only decent, especially considering it may need to replenish at cornerback (starters Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara are both free agents). Stylistically, Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel could be seen as a good fit. Vrabel has spent much of his playing and coaching career in Romeo Crennel’s intricate system. But would GM Ryan Pace, whose own job security might be iffy, take a chance on a coach with just one year of coordinating experience? He may see a safer option in Dennis Allen, who has four years of coordinating experience, plus head coaching battle scars from his three years in Oakland. Allen, who is still only 45, just turned around the perennially unfixable Saints defense. —Andy Benoit

Chicago seems a good fit for offensive coordinators Pat Shurmur or Josh McDaniels, with Mitch Trubisky needing a hands-on mentor. —Peter King


Cincinnati Bengals

STATUS: Marvin Lewis, whose contract had expired, has signed a new, two-year deal with the Bengals.

THE LATEST

The Bengals announced they've signed offensive coordinator Bill Lazor to a new deal. He was one of multiple assistants whose contract was up, so Marvin Lewis gets that one done. —Albert Breer

The Bengals still have a raft of staff issues to work out. They went through an in-season offensive coordinator change, and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s deal is expiring. Sources say a good chunk of coaches on last year's staff are now free agents. So Lewis has immediate decisions to make and plenty of work to do. —Albert Breer


Cleveland Browns

STATUS: Jimmy Haslam has reiterated that Hue Jackson will be retained for 2018.

THE LATEST

Haslam already said Jackson will be back in 2018, and GM John Dorsey affirmed it upon his hiring. What if the Bengals call? Will 0-16 change anything? My belief is Jackson sticks, but I also know Dorsey has done his research. —Albert Breer


Dallas Cowboys

STATUS: Jerry Jones has offered public support for Jason Garrett.


Denver Broncos

STATUS: John Elway announced that Vance Joseph will be the Broncos' head coach in 2018. Multiple assistant coaches have been let go, though offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave who was promoted to the role midseason, will be retained.

THE LATEST

Broncos announce they’ve fired O-line coach Jeff Davidson, assistant DBs coach Johnnie Lynn, special teams coach Brock Olivo, outside linebackers coach Fred Pagac, assistant head coach/RBs coach Eric Studesville and WRs coach Tyke Tolbert. —Albert Breer

Expectation is Broncos will now take a hard look at/address offensive staff and quarterback position this offseason. —Albert Breer

After a season-ending loss to the Chiefs, Broncos players spoke out in support Vance Joseph. CB Bradley Roby: “Rome wasn’t built in one day . . . You can’t expect a guy to come in and flip it around in one year." DE Shaquil Barrett: “We like Coach Joseph, and if he’s back we’re ready to work for him and turn it around . . . You need two to three years to leave your mark, but it’s also out of my hands. I can’t do anything about it.” And veteran DT and first-year Bronco Domata Peko: “I would be disappointed if he was fired. I’m really pushing for him to get another chance. It's always going to be tough for a first-year head coach; you saw how Coach Zimmer struggled at first. Now [Joseph's] got his feet wet and knows how to do it. Everyone loves him, respects him, and he’s a hell of a coach.” —Robert Klemko


Detroit Lions

STATUS: On Monday, the Lions announced Jim Caldwell has been fired.

THE LATEST

Lions interviewed both offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin on Tuesday. —Albert Breer

Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel will interview for the Lions job Wednesday morning, per source. —Albert Breer

Lions GM Bob Quinn said that he and president Rod Wood will run the head coaching interviews; ownership won't be in the room but will be consulted. —Albert Breer

The Lions have asked for permission to interview Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel. —Albert Breer

Lions assistant head coach/O-line coach Ron Prince has been let go, per sources, reflecting the organization's frustration with the run game. Possibility still alive that OC Jim Bob Cooter is paired with a defensive head coach. —Albert Breer

Rumblings had held for a few weeks that Caldwell would be in trouble if he missed the playoffs. I’d expect Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia to be a consideration if Caldwell gets whacked, with the possibility that Jim Bob Cooter and the offensive staff stay. —Albert Breer

CANDIDATES TO WATCH

Detroit has a request in to interview Vikings OC Pat Shurmur.—Albert Breer

Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia immediately becomes the name to watch for the Lions opening. —Albert Breer

Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is reportedly at the top of their list. The question is: Who would Patricia bring as his offensive coordinator? That was one concern teams had last season when Patricia was passed over for head coaching jobs. —Andy Benoit


Green Bay Packers

STATUS: Longtime GM Ted Thompson will transition to a new role within the organization. Head coach Mike McCarthy received a one-year contract extension.

THE LATEST

Source confirms the one-year extension for Packers coach Mike McCarthy. —Albert Breer

Eliot Wolf and Brian Gutekunst are obvious internal candidates, but some there have a belief that Russ Ball might be the guy. —Albert Breer


Houston Texans

STATUS: Bill O’Brien’s is expected to stay. There are reports that he and GM Rick Smith are at odds. In a statement released Sunday, Smith said he is taking an extended leave of absence from the team while is wife is treated for cancer.

THE LATEST

Bills VP Brian Gaine is the man to watch for Houston GM position. He and Bill O'Brien have a great working relationship; both are from the Parcells/Belichick school. —Albert Breer

I hear owner Bob McNair is going to agree with at least some of Bill O’Brien’s requests, and it’s likely now that O’Brien will stay, particularly with Rick Smith’s future understandably cloudy. McNair doesn’t want to lose both men in the same year. —Peter King

Coach Bill O'Brien meets with ownership to discuss the future of the franchise tomorrow. If he is to stay, I'd expect a new personnel chief to come in. —Albert Breer

Simply, a reckoning is coming here. I’d be floored if O’Brien even considered signing an extension without changes to the way the football operation is aligned, and 2018 is a contract year for him. That would create a decision point for ownership—go forward for a year with a coach that would be the No. 1 guy on the market if free, or cut the cord now and move forward with GM Rick Smith. —Albert Breer


Indianapolis Colts

STATUS: The Colts have fired Chuck Pagano.

THE LATEST

Chuck Pagano addressed the team, per those there, in a way that felt to everyone like farewell. Told the players that he loved them for fighting today, and that he'd never forget the group. —Albert Breer

CANDIDATES TO WATCH

If Andrew Luck is healthy, this is the most attractive job opening. Given what Luck’s body has recently gone through, Ballard might be inclined to find a coach who will install a passing game that’s both complex and quick-timed. That’s an unusual combination, but there’s a certain quarterback in New England who has mastered it. The Colts could go hard after Josh McDaniels. —Andy Benoit

The rumor that will never go away is that owner Jim Irsay longs to hire old Colts QB Jim Harbaugh as his head coach. But the domineering Harbaugh, I believe, would be an ill fit with Luck and GM Chris Ballard. —Peter King

Two of GM Chris Ballard’s ex-Chief co-workers, special teams coordinator Dave Toub and offensive coordinator Matt Nagy, have been connected to this one, and there are whispers that Indy could make a run at Pats offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. —Albert Breer

The Colts have been granted permission to interview Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel, per source. —Albert Breer


New York Giants

STATUS: ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is the favorite for the vacant head-coaching position.

THE LATEST

Matt Patricia will have the chance to do a lot of interviews over the bye week, and deservedly so, but I have a hard time seeing John Mara hiring a head coach who wore a Goodell clown T-shirt. —Jenny Vrentas

I’d expect both Patriot coordinators to be considered. —Albert Breer

CANDIDATES TO WATCH

New GM Dave Gettleman is 66 and might not be interested in a long-term rebuilding effort. Jim Schwartz represents a candidate with prior experience, and one who will likely update—but not rewrite—the offensive and defensive playbooks. All the better that he happens to currently work for a division rival. —Andy Benoit


New York Jets

STATUS: The Jets have signed head coach Todd Bowles and GM Mike Maccagnan to contract extensions through 2020.


Oakland Raiders

STATUS: Jack Del Rio says he has been fired, and the Raiders will replace him with Jon Gruden. According to Steve Corkran, the Gruden hiring will be announced Tuesday.

THE LATEST

Three things on Jon Gruden: (1) He's been lining up staff for a few weeks. That's not always a sure sign a guy is coming back, but he's done what he'd need to do. (2) He's not as happy in the booth as he was coaching. And (3) His youngest graduates high school next year. —Albert Breer

Jack Del Rio was under contract through 2020, and a big question was whether Mark Davis would be willing to eat three years on a contract. Now, all eyes turn to Jon Gruden, with whom Davis has had a long-standing fascination. —Albert Breer


Seattle Seahawks

STATUS: Pete Carroll has said he will not retire.


Tampa Bay Bucs

STATUS: The Bucs are expected to retain Dirk Koetter.


Washington

STATUS: Jay Gruden is expected to be retained.

• Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

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