Ranking the eight NFL head-coaching vacancies

Ranking the eight NFL head-coaching vacancies

The NFL playoffs may start next weekend, but eight franchises are already looking to 2019 as they begin their head-coaching searches.

Black Monday, the day after the regular season concludes, is usually the time for a raft of changes at the top and so it proved again this year as the Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins all moved on from their head coaches.

Todd Bowles and Dirk Koetter were axed by the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, respectively, shortly after their Week 17 losses, while the Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers ended their campaigns with interim bosses at the helm.

Now all eight franchises are in the market for new head coaches.

Omnisport ranks those vacancies in order of most-attractive post to the least.

1. Green Bay Packers

Future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers is the starting quarterback in Titletown, which means the Green Bay job is one every prospective head coach will covet. The Packers are also steeped in NFL history — no team has won as many as their 13 championships — and are a stable franchise that affords head coaches time having had just two in permanent positions this century.



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2. Cleveland Browns

The 0-16 campaign in 2017 seems an awfully long way away. With record-breaking rookie QB Baker Mayfield and a wealth of young talented players on both sides of the ball, Cleveland looks like a team going places. The Browns, who finished 7-8-1 in 2018, have a load of cap space for 2019 too and Mayfield’s presence means they should be able to attractive high-caliber free agents.

3. New York Jets

Sam Darnold, who was taken two picks after first-overall selection Mayfield in the 2018 NFL Draft, has given Jets fans cause for optimism with flashes of brilliance among growing pains at quarterback. Gang Green have the second-most cap space for 2019 and a defensive stud in safety Jamal Adams. Plus, Patriots pair Bill Belichick and Tom Brady cannot dominate forever in the AFC East.

4. Arizona Cardinals

Arizona also hopes it has its quarterback in place, though Josh Rosen has had little chance to prove he can be the future of the franchise with the team having finished 3-13 in his rookie season. There are some pieces to build around – including running back David Johnson and cornerback Patrick Peterson – while the Cardinals also own the first overall pick in the 2019 draft. However, they are playing in an ultra-competitive NFC West, which includes the playoff-bound Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks.

5. Cincinnati Bengals

For the first time since 2003, the Cincinnati Bengals will hire a new head coach this offseason. Marvin Lewis’ long tenure is over and he leaves behind a roster that needs only minor tweaks, rather than a full-blown overhaul. Andy Dalton’s critics will suggest the Bengals will never have a deep playoff run with him at quarterback, but this is one of the more stable franchises around and the next coach will have time to make his mark.

6. Denver Broncos

Denver’s 2018 rookie group, which featured Bradley Chubb and Phillip Lindsay, was one of the most impressive around, so that should provide encouragement for Vance Joseph’s successor. Von Miller is still under contract too, but the Broncos have issues at quarterback. Case Keenum does not appear to be the answer long term and uncertainty at the sport’s most crucial position means there are more attractive jobs around.

7. Miami Dolphins

They may be able to sell South Beach to free agents, but the Dolphins have lacked continuity and have achieved just one winning season in their past 10 campaigns. Ryan Tannehill’s future at quarterback is unclear and the team desperately need weapons on offense. Minkah Fitzpatrick and Xavien Howard can be key pieces of the defense yet Miami could still be a few years away from seriously competing.

8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There is talent on this Tampa Bay roster — as evidenced by Mike Evans, Gerald McCoy and O.J. Howard — but it has little wiggle room in terms of cap space so the new head coach will have to work with what he has. That will include quarterback Jameis Winston, who, according to reports, will return to the Bucs in 2019 despite throwing 58 picks across his first four seasons.