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Updating the NFL Coaching Landscape: Playoff Pause for 4 Teams

NFL: MAY 07 Chiefs Rookie Camp Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

When the 2017 regular season came to an end, some NFL franchises decided to go in a different direction at head coach. Of those teams, at least two have already agreed in principle with their 2018 head coaches.

What teams remain? Which candidates are actively interviewing? Which candidates have already found new homes?

At the start of the coaching free agency season six teams had head coaching vacancies they needed to fill: The Arizona Cardinals lost head coach Bruce Arians to retirement, along with veteran quarterback Carson Palmer; the Chicago Bears fired head coach John Fox; the Detroit Lions fired head coach Jim Caldwell; the Indianapolis Colts fired Chuck Pagano; the New York Giants fired Ben McAdoo; and the Oakland Raiders fired head coach Jack Del Rio.


Two of these teams have reportedly filled their coaching positions, while another is rumored to have made a choice that cannot be made official.

The Oakland Raiders decided to make a massive splash by signing Jon Gruden to a 10-year $100 million contract. Gruden has already started building his staff and will prepare the Raiders to make a transition to Las Vegas at some point in 20... well, at some point.

The Detroit Lions appear to be heavily favoring Matt Patricia as their new head coach. There is a relationship that exists between Patricia and General Manager Bob Quinn. It has even been speculated that there was a verbal agreement reached. Of course, nothing can be made official until the Patriots’ season comes to an end.

If the Patricia rumors were to fall through, it has been reported that the Lions are also interested in Jim Bob Cooter, Winston Moss, Matt Patricia, Pat Shurmur, Mike Vrabel, and Steve Wilks.

The Chicago Bears made the latest splash by signing Kansas City’s offensive coordinator Matt Nagy to take over as their new head coach.

This may come as a surprise to some who were stuck on the idea that the Chiefs offensive woes in the second half against the Titans over the weekend would spoil Nagy’s chances in 2018. It appears that the Bears were not concerned by the outcome this weekend and will bring on one of the quickest rising coaches in the NFL.


This leaves only three franchises who have made no strong indication as to their direction to this point.

The Cardinals are reportedly interested in James Bettcher, John DeFilippo, Brian Flores, Mike Munchak, Matt Patricia, Jim Schwartz, and Pat Shurmur. Arizona will have to wait to interview DeFillipo, Flores, Munchak, Patricia, Schwartz, and Shurmur — who are all still in the playoffs. Bettcher would be an internal hire.

If this list is to be trusted, it is safe to say that Arizona will likely not be announcing a decision this week.

The Giants are reportedly interested in Josh McDaniels, Patricia, Schwartz, Shurmur, Steve Spagnuolo, Eric Studesville, and Steve Wilks. Similar to the Cardinals, there are numerous candidates who are still in the playoffs and so it would come as a surprise if the biggest market in football would be in a rush to make a decision without talking to all candidates who are willing to take a call.

Finally, the Colts are reportedly interested in Josh McDaniels, Kris Richard, Mike Vrabel, and Steve Wilks. The team has already completed interviews with McDaniels, Richard, and Vrabel; Wilks will interview this week. It has been highly rumored that Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub is favorite of General Manager Chris Ballard but there has been no official report that he will be in Indianapolis for an interview.

It is odd that McDaniels and Toub (a guy who hasn’t been confirmed as officially interviewing) would appear to the be the front-runners for the spot at this point. Needless to say, the next couple of weeks could be a bit of a roller coaster. It may be that Ballard is waiting for a couple of other candidates to complete their seasons before the rest of the NFL media world will catch winds of his intentions.