Thursday, May 26, 2022

Ranking NFL head coaching openings: Who’s No. 1 with Dolphins position latest to be filled?

We started with nine NFL head coach openings and are now down to just two. Most recently, the Miami Dolphins grabbed Mike McDaniel to serve as their new lead man, and the Jacksonville Jaguars hired Doug Pederson after he took a year off from the NFL. The New York Giants hired Brian Daboll as their new head coach, the Las Vegas Raiders took Josh McDaniels from New England, the Chicago Bears hired Matt Eberflus from Indy and then the Denver Broncos hired Aaron Rodgers‘ friend in Nathaniel Hackett. While it’s not official, it appears Kevin O’Connell is on to Minnesota after his Los Angeles Rams wrap up the Super Bowl.

If you were a hot commodity on the NFL coaching carousel, where would you want to coach? You have players, quarterbacks, cap space, ownership — so many things to take into consideration. Below, we will attempt to rank all of the head coach openings from first to worst. 

1. New Orleans Saints 

The Saints finished this past season with a winning record and possess two of the league’s best offensive players in running back Alvin Kamara and receiver Michael Thomas. The franchise also has a winning culture as they have not had a losing season since 2016. 

Those are some of the positives, but the negatives with taking this job include a massive salary cap headache, as the Saints are projected to be $74 million over the cap heading into the new league year. New Orleans will have to have several of their high-priced players agree to contract structures if they are going to contend next season without losing too much of their existing talent. There are also questions at quarterback, as Jameis Winston, who led the Saints to a 5-2 record last season before getting injured, is slated to become a free agent.

It helps that Tom Brady is retiring as well. That will help level the playing field in the NFC South, a division that also includes the Panthers and Falcons, two franchises that have endured a combined eight consecutive losing seasons. 

2. Houston Texans 

The fact that Houston’s 4-13 record was surprising (in a good way) tells you everything you need to know about the state of the team. That relative success was not enough to save David Culley, who was let go after just one season. That does not reflect well on the organization and could make it harder for general manager Nick Caserio to attract a top candidate. That being said, it is expected that the team will pursue Brian Flores, who is familiar with Caserio from their time with the Patriots

Houston has an ongoing conundrum in Deshaun Watson, who was inactive all year. The offense has minimal weapons to build upon but might have something in quarterback Davis Mills. The Texans have some promising young players on defense (specifically Jonathan Greenard and Kamu Grugier-Hill), but they’ll have to add considerably more talent during the offseason. 

The positives of this job include the fact that the Texans hold the No. 3 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. They also play in a division that is devoid of elite quarterback play.

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