February 25, 2024

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Belichick, perhaps the greatest NFL coach of all time, suffered through only his second losing season since 2000 as the Patriots went 4-13. Still, he ranks second in career victories with 333, trailing only Don Shula (347). Expect the 71-year-old to fill one of the current openings.

FILLED: Jerod Mayo, 37, becomes the youngest head coach in the NFL. He was a two-time All-Pro linebacker with the Patriots and was elected a captain in only his second season. Belichick hired him in 2019 to coach linebackers and he was the de facto defensive coordinator. The Patriots wrote into Mayo’s contract a year ago that he would succeed Belichick and therefore didn’t have to follow the Rooney Rule, which requires teams to conduct in-person interviews with at least two external minority candidates. Mayo becomes New England’s first Black non-interim head coach.

CHARGERS: Coach Staley and general manager Telesco were fired in mid-December after the Chargers lost five of six following a 4-4 start to the season. A 63-21 loss to Las Vegas sealed their fate. Staley was 24-24 in two-plus seasons, and won only five of his last 16 games. Interim head coach Giff Smith and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore are internal candidates to replace Staley and Las Vegas defensive coordinator Patrick Graham is the only external candidate to be interviewed so far over video conference. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh’s name also comes up frequently.

LAS VEGAS RAIDERS: Antonio Pierce went 5-4 as interim coach after the firing of McDaniels and is the overwhelming favorite to land the permanent job, unless Harbaugh, Belichick or Carroll want it. Whoever it is has an appealing roster with All-Pro receiver Davante Adams (103 receptions) and Pro Bowl edge rusher Maxx Crosby (14.5 sacks).

CAROLINA PANTHERS: The Panthers have had six different head coaches in six seasons under owner David Tepper. The latest, Reich, lasted only 11 games before getting fired with a 1-10 record. Four candidates were interviewed over Zoom by Jan. 12: Panthers interim head coach Chris Tabor, Panthers defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken and Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald.

TENNESSEE TITANS: The surprising firing of Vrabel was followed swiftly by Tennessee requesting interviews with several candidates: Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan, New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, and Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn and offensive coordinator Ben Johnson. Macdonald is another candidate and Pierce also would be interviewed if he doesn’t get the Raiders’ job.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: Less than a week after assuring reporters that he’d return, Carroll stepped down after 18 years and one Super Bowl title, saying he’d move into a front office advisory role. That, of course, doesn’t preclude him from filling one of the current coaching openings. Names that have surfaced as top candidates include current defensive coordinators Raheem Morris of the Rams, Quinn of the Cowboys and Macdonald of the Ravens. All three appear to be strong candidates for multiple teams.

WASHINGTON COMMANDERS: With Adam Peters on board as the new general manager, owner Josh Harris and his search committee turn their attention to the sidelines, which had become chaotic under Rivera. Candidates could include the Houston Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik, and both Rams coordinators, Morris and Mike LaFleur, who worked alongside Peters with the 49ers. Current 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks is another possibility. He led the Panthers to a 6-6 record as interim coach in 2022.

ATLANTA FALCONS: How often can a coach finish 7-10 before he loses his job? For Smith of the Falcons, it was three years in a row. Many of the same assistant coaches associated with other openings are scheduled to interview with the Falcons, including Morris of the Rams, Macdonald of the Ravens, Wilks of the 49ers, Slowik of the Texans, and Glenn and Johnson of the Lions.

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