As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. After an illustrious 24- year run as the head coach of the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick and the team have mutually agreed to part ways. With Pete Carroll and Mike Vrabel also out in Seattle and Tennessee respectively, we are now up to eight NFL head coaching vacancies. Here we take a look at the latest NFL coaching carousel as well as our best bets for the man to fill each position.
NFL Head Coaching Vacancies
Check out the latest NFL head coaching vacancies and the fall out of the carousel below.
Arthur Smith was spared another mediocre year in Atlanta. Rejoice fantasy football players, Kyle Pitts and Bijan Robinson are finally free! The former Falcons coach finished with a record of 7-10 in all three of his seasons in charge.
Owner Arthur Blank was adamant at his press conference that the Falcons will be looking for a coach to take his team back to the Super Bowl.
Interestingly, Atlanta has quickly moved to make connections with Bill Belichick and are now the favorites to land the legendary head coach at +175 odds. Whether Belichick would prioritize staying on the East coast and conceivably being given full control of football operations, over landing with a team with an entrenched quarterback like Justin Herbert remains to be seen.
Best bet for next head coach: Bill Belichick +175
New England Patriots
The Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era in a graphic.— Pats Buzz (@PatsBuzz) January 11, 2024
You’ll never see anything like it again. 🐐🐐🏆 pic.twitter.com/sgjkjFNAB9
Linebackers coach and former Patriots first-round pick Jerod Mayo seems like the man to step into the void. But, don’t rule out the return of another former New England legend and Kraft family favorite, Mike Vrabel.
Best bet for next Patriots head coach: Jerod Mayo (+200)
*Update Mayo proved to be the Tom Wambsgans of the Pats and has officially been named the next head coach in New England. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Patriots had a succession plan in place as part of Mayo's contract, allowing them to forgo interviewing any other candidates.
After 14 years of success, Pete Carroll is out as head coach in Seattle.
Pete Carroll's coaching philosophy was to value his players more than anything.— Jake García (@Jake_M_Garcia) January 11, 2024
I asked him today what he wants the NFL to do to accomplish that at a league level.
His 1 minute, 40 second answer is worth a listen.
"Why wouldn't we be creating superheroes for our young kids?" pic.twitter.com/BYGXiHc60q
Carroll guided the Seahawks to their only Super Bowl and very nearly won a second with the famed "Legion of Boom" defense in the early 2010s. He finishes his Seahawks tenure as the winningest head coach in franchise history with a 139-89-1 regular season record. The former Jets and Patriots head coach also led the team to 10 playoff appearances.
It's not hard to make the connection to former Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and the head job in Seattle. After all, Quinn was the architect of the "Legion of Boom" and a huge part of Seattle's success.
Best bet for next Seahawks head coach: Dan Quinn (+425)
As mentioned above the Tennessee Titans finished the season 6-11 and fired head coach Mike Vrabel after seven seasons in charge. Vrabel went 54-45 in his time in Tennessee, and led the Titans to the 2020 and 2021 AFC South titles.
After his unit led the NFL in sacks (60), and takeaways (31), Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike McDonald is a hot name in coaching circles. The Titans have already requested permission for an interview, and appear to be in the driving seat at this point in the coaching cycle.
Best bet for next Titans head coach: Mike McDonald (+300)
Los Angeles Chargers
Brandon Staley was mercifully relieved as head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers after failing to get his talented team over the hump. Staley went 24-24 in three seasons as head coach, and failed to win a playoff game despite the presence of Justin Herbert and a veteran laden squad. The writing was likely on the wall after the Chargers epic playoff collapse last January, as a 27-0 lead somehow devolved into a 31-30 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. But a 63-21 loss to the Raiders on Thursday Night Football was the nail in the coffin for the former Rams defensive coordinator.
National championship winning head coach Jim Harbaugh is the odds on favorite to return to SoCal and take the reigns as Chargers head coach. He would immediately provide LA with a jolt of Harbaugh style and energy. He brings an attractive track record of NFL success with him. Harbaugh has proven to be fantastic motivator and coach at every step along his coaching career, and went 49-22-1 as the coach of the San Francisco 49ers, reaching the Super Bowl in 2013.
Jim Harbaugh did it 🏆 pic.twitter.com/DVa7hqglWB— NFL Retweet (@NFLRT) January 9, 2024
Harbaugh has had a ton of success in California as the head man at the University of San Diego, Stanford, and San Francisco. He'd be an excellent mentor for Justin Herbert, and has the coaching chops to accelerate the former 5,000 yard-passer's career.
Best bet for next Chargers head coach: Jim Harbaugh (-160)
Las Vegas Raiders
After a disappointing two year stint with the former Patriots brain trust of Josh McDaniels and David Ziegler in charge, the Las Vegas Raiders are once again hitting the reset button.
Mark Davis passed the baton to former Pro Bowl linebacker Antonio Pierce after relieving McDaniels of his duties and the Raiders went 5-4 down the stretch. Pierce galvanized a deflated Las Vegas squad, and renewed the faith of the Raider faithful.
An Offense in Year 2— Coach Dan Casey (@CoachDanCasey) July 27, 2023
“It’s less learning Concepts, it’s now understanding the answers to the problems.
Every Play Call defenses present problems, now we have the solutions - we’re a lot quicker getting to those solutions.”
- Ben Johnson pic.twitter.com/rDYjIZlAqO
Now Davis must make the decision on whether or not to remove the interim tag or go big fish hunting. With the Raiders also searching for a general manager, more will be known as that process moves along. That being said, this team needs to start anew, and a new general manager will likely want to install his own candidate as head coach. Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson is a likely target. The Lions offense ranked in the top-ten in both passing and rushing efficiency this season, leading Johnson will be a hot commodity this off-season.
Best bet for next Raiders head coach: Ben Johnson (+400)
First-year head coach Frank Reich lasted only 11 games in Carolina, the shortest tenure for a head honcho in the last 45 years.
The deep pockets of David Tepper could tempt Kellen Moore to the east coast. Moore interview for the Panthers opening last year, and made the most of an injury-filled year for the Chargers this season. The former Cowboys coordinators' offense led the league in points in back-to-back years in his tenure there, and could be the man to unlock the powers of first-overall pick Bryce Young.
Best bet for next Panthers head coach: Kellen Moore (+500)
Ron Rivera was relieved of his duties as head coach of the Washington Commanders after going 26-40-1 in four seasons with Washington. Rivera was never able to solve the teams' myriad issues, including failing to find a reliable starting quarterback.
The Commanders new ownership group, led by Josh Harris will undoubtedly wish to install their guy as the next head coach. According to reports, Harris has called in the big guns, as former Golden State Warriors General Manager Bob Myers, and former Minnesota Vikings GM Rick Spielman are set to lead the football operations/coaching search. A creative approach to building the team from the ground up, with some very intelligent minds, is the best any Washington fan can hope for after nearly three decades of decay under former owner Dan Snyder.
Current offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy may be the Commanders best shot at some semblance of continuity. He's known as a hard-nosed, no-nonsense coach with the ability to galvanize his players.
Best bet for next Commanders head coach: Eric Bieniemy (+1200)