Barring any more surprises following the firing of David Culley by the Houston Texans, there will be eight head coaching vacancies to be filled in the 2022 NFL offseason.
The Las Vegas Raiders were the first team to lose their head coach when Jon Gruden resigned in October. But the fate of his interim successor, Rich Bisaccia, remains to be seen due to their ongoing playoff run.
Just under a month ago, the Jacksonville Jaguars fired Urban Meyer after a 2-11 start that featured all kinds of controversies. They finished with the NFL’s worst record for the second year in a row.
Six other spots were opened in the hours and days after the 2021 NFL regular season ended. The Denver Broncos, New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans all need new coaches too.
It may be weeks before some of these vacancies are filled, but we can do our best to guess who might be picked to fill the voids.
Here are the TheSpun’s predicted hires for the eight NFL head coaching vacancies:
New York Giants: Wink Martindale (Ravens DC) – Wink Martindale to the Giants might re-energize the franchise in the way Rex Ryan did for the cross-town New York Jets in 2009. He’s a swaggering Ravens coach replacing an overbearing Belichick disciple who everyone on the team despised. There are obvious differences in the teams they took over, but if there’s one thing the Giants need right now, it’s someone who exudes confidence.
(Alternative choices: Dennis Allen, Matt Eberflus)
Houston Texans: Brian Flores (former Dolphins HC) – It’s almost universally agreed that the Dolphins screwed up by firing Flores after going 19-14 over the last two years. But before he left, he restored the Dolphins’ confidence and winning mentality. With connections already in place in Houston, he’s already believed to be a top candidate. Best of all: It’s widely believed that Texans star QB Deshaun Watson would be willing to play for Flores.
(Alternative choices: Josh McDaniels, Jerod Mayo)
Jacksonville Jaguars: Byron Leftwich (Buccaneers OC) – Once a starting quarterback for the Jaguars, Leftwich has helped turn the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive into a juggernaut. And that was before Tom Brady supercharged it. With the team in dire need of a QB guru to mentor Trevor Lawrence, this seems like a no-brainer.
(Alternative choices: Todd Bowles, Kevin O’Connell)
Denver Broncos: Eric Bieniemy (Chiefs OC) – Bieniemy has strong ties to the state of Colorado from his college stardom days and it would thrill Broncos fans to poach their arch rivals top assistant. It doesn’t hurt that Bieniemy has been a top coaching candidate for years and is credited with the superstardom of Patrick Mahomes.
(Alternative choices: Dan Quinn, Nathaniel Hackett)
Miami Dolphins: Doug Pederson (former Eagles HC) – With so many pieces in place from Brian Flores’ time, the Dolphins need a plug-and-play head coach. Pederson is one of the few coaches out there who people would agree is an upgrade from the man they fired. His Super Bowl pedigree alone would make Dolphins fans forget their anger over Flores very quickly.
(Alternative choices: Kevin O’Connell, Todd Bowles)
Minnesota Vikings: Kellen Moore (Cowboys OC) – The top head coaches in the NFC are all young, offensive minds who turned their quarterbacks into stars. Moore has helped turn Dak Prescott into a star in Dallas. Even if he can’t fix Kirk Cousins, he who would be a perfect foil to Green Bay’s Matt LaFleur.
(Alternative choices: Nathaniel Hackett, Eric Bieniemy)
Chicago Bears: Brian Daboll (Bills OC) – Few coaching jobs in recent memory can match what Brian Daboll did for Josh Allen in Buffalo. While Justin Fields is not a carbon copy of Allen, he clearly needs a QB whisperer. And there isn’t a more proven coach out there who can turn a QB from scrap heap to top of the heap than Daboll.
(Alternative choices: Jim Harbaugh, Byron Leftwich)
Las Vegas Raiders: Rich Bisaccia (Raiders interim HC) – Rich Bisaccia is everything the late Al Davis loved in his head coaches: Motivational, loves special teams, willing to throw the ball downfield. But his fate will probably be tied to how the Raiders perform against the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card round. A win would probably get him the job. A loss probably sees him kept on as the special teams coordinator for the permanent replacement.
(Alternative choices: Jim Harbaugh, Rex Ryan)
Who do you think will take over each of the vacant head coaching job?