Ranking the open NFL head coaching jobs, from best to worst


HR King
May 29, 2001
1. Green Bay Packers

Top candidates: Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Northwestern Coach Pat Fitzgerald, former Colts and Lions Coach Jim Caldwell, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur.

The main attraction with this job is linking up with Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is a quarterback who can take a team to a Super Bowl. Despite this year’s disappointing season, his game hasn’t declined. He still has incredible arm strength. His knee injury slowed him down early in the season, but he fought through the pain and had a good season in which he didn’t turn over the ball. You have to figure the Packers will be looking to hire an offensive coach who can work with Rodgers and capitalize on his talent.

2. Cleveland Browns

Top candidates: Former Packers Coach Mike McCarthy, Josh McDaniels, Rams quarterback coach Zac Taylor, Ravens Coach John Harbaugh (in a trade), former Cardinals Coach Bruce Ariens.

The incredible rookie season of Baker Mayfield makes this a good job. The Browns surprised everyone by going 7-8-1 and thanks to Mayfield, the Browns are relevant. A good offseason could make them a playoff contender next year. They have built a good core of young players on defense. Their offensive line is decent. If they can add a quality receiver, there will be enough good players around Mayfield to create a good offense. As much as the Browns have changed coaches over the years, the coach who gets this job gets the best Browns team.

3. New York Jets

Top candidates: Mike McCarthy, former Dolphins Coach Adam Gase, Zac Taylor, Eric Bieniemy, Iowa State Coach Matt Campbell, Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, Jim Caldwell

What makes this job attractive is working with a talented young quarterback in Sam Darnold, the No. 3 overall pick this year. McCarthy might opt for other jobs because he might not want to be in the spotlight of the Big Apple, but others would love the opportunity. The past couple of drafts have made the defense better. The work has to be done on offense. The Jets have major weaknesses at wide receiver and in the backfield, but the front office can focus on fixing that in the offseason.

4. Denver Broncos

Top candidates: John Harbaugh (in a trade), Matt LaFleur, Eric Bieniemy, Zac Taylor, former Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, Steelers offensive coordinator Mike Munchak

John Harbaugh makes the most sense here, but it would have to happen if Harbaugh wants out of Baltimore and John Elway can work out a trade. Harbaugh would be the perfect fit in Denver. He can hire Gary Kubiak as the offensive coordinator and give Elway what he wants as an overall leader of the team. It might cost a second-round choice, but the trade would be worth it — but Baltimore would have to be willing to go for the trade, following the team’s run to the playoffs.

[Again facing elimination from playoffs late in finale, Ravens survive this time]

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Top candidates: Mike McCarthy, New Orleans Saints tight ends coach Dan Campbell, Pete Carmichael, Josh McDaniels, Eric Bieniemy, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, Cowboys defensive coordinator Kris Richard

To take this job, you have to believe in quarterback Jameis Winston. The decision by Oregon’s Justin Herbert to return to school leaves the draft without a top quarterback prospect, so teams like Tampa Bay that are looking to fix the quarterback position are likely better served to wait until 2020 to select one. Like most teams on this list, the Bucs will be looking for an offensive head coach, but if the top offensive coaches are gone, they will have to look to defense.

6. Arizona Cardinals

Top candidates: Mike McCarthy, Eric Bieniemy, Adam Gase, Pete Carmichael, Matt LaFleur, Zac Taylor, Jim Caldwell

McCarthy would be the natural fit, but it sounds as though he might just sit out the 2019 season. To get McCarthy, the Cardinals might have to give him authority to bring in the players. This isn’t a bad job. There is talent on defense. Josh Rosen has the chance to be a decent quarterback. The Cardinals have the No. 1 overall pick. The biggest challenge is rebuilding the offensive line.

7. Miami Dolphins

Top candidates: John Harbaugh in a trade, Josh McDaniels, Jim Caldwell, Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh, Matt LaFleur, Mike McCarthy

One of the problems with this job is so much talent has been chased away. Losing Jarvis Landry, Ndamukong Suh, Jay Ajayi, Mike Pouncey and others over the past year lessens the value of this job. Owner Stephen Ross said he would not pursue Jim Harbaugh this year, but he has to think about it. Ross should have hired Harbaugh years ago. Ross is a big Michigan supporter and the thought was he would stay with Gase one more year and go after Harbaugh in 2020. Whoever takes this job has to decide if Ryan Tannehill is the franchise quarterback. Gase would not have made the change at quarterback, because he believed in Tannehill. The next coach might have a different opinion.

8. Cincinnati Bengals

Top candidates: Former Broncos Coach Vance Joseph, Browns offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens, Kris Richard, Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, Jim Schwartz, Mike Munchak

This is probably the least attractive job. Bengals ownership likes to hire coaches whom they know, which is why Joseph should have a decent chance of getting the job. Before he left for the Miami Dolphins as defensive coordinator, Joseph was told he would be considered as Lewis’s replacement if Lewis retired. The Bengals are the one team that wouldn’t be married to the idea of only hiring an offensive head coach.

Oct 28, 2010
Honestly, I'd knock the Packers down a few spots. Sure they have Rodgers, but he's aging, they're saddled by his monster contract and he's not the easiest person for a coach to get along with. There's not much veteran talent on the roster and they also don't have all that much young talent coming up.

It sounds weird to say but at this point the Cleveland job is the most attractive one.
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HR Legend
Gold Member
Mar 14, 2010
Retrend I or Retrend II? Or, longshot Retrend III?