As it stands at the moment, there are five NFL head coaching jobs available. That list includes the Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, and Arizona Cardinals. With any season, the list of vacancies will more than likely grow as teams exit the playoffs sooner than owners anticipate. (Looking at you, Chargers, and potentially Cowboys)
Before the vacancy list has a chance to grow, let’s review the current available jobs. Here are the best openings from worst to first.
5. Houston Texans
Turning down an NFL head coaching position would seem like an impossible decision unless it was the Houston Texans offering the gig. Houston has fired their last two coaches after just one season, with the latest victim being Lovie Smith. The franchise is in disarray and seems like a runaway train from the outside looking in.
Coach Smith was given a daunting task with no chance at success. The Texans finished the season 3-13-1, winning the last game of the season, knocking them out of the number one overall pick for this year’s draft. There’s potential in Houston with the team’s draft pick ownership. The only question is, will team ownership ever give a coach the chance to build a team?
4. Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals seemed primed to be the team of the future just two years ago. Now the franchise is looking for a new head man after firing Kliff Kingsbury, just months after signing him to an extension that was set to go through 2027.
Now the Cardinals are left with many questions. One being starting QB Kyler Murray’s future. Murray started in 11 games this season, with the team going 3-8. Murray has the talent, but is a fresh start warranted for the 2019 first-overall pick? Arizona could be an enticing position if Murray takes the next step to elite-level talent.
3. Denver Broncos
One could argue that Denver’s opening is the best spot for a hungry head coaching candidate. Except, Russell Wilson’s downfall could potentially leave the Broncos in a terrible spot for their future success. Nathaniel Hackett was relieved of his duties after just 15 games in his inaugural season.
The Broncos were deemed a Super Bowl favorite back in the summer. Now the team wonders if it is time for a rebuild. Wilson posted only 16 touchdown passes in his 15 starts, which is the worst total of his career. There are a lot of issues in Denver, but as the Giants have proved, a great head coach can completely change the culture.
2. Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts relieved Frank Reich in November and decided to bring in Jeff Saturday as the interim coach for the rest of the season. The Colts were abysmal under Saturday, and the team has already begun interviews for a new head coach before the 2023 season.
Indianapolis has been the landing spot for misfit quarterbacks that have had the media gushing that this team would be a playoff nightmare in the past few seasons. That hasn’t been the case. With the Jaguars growing into the AFC South kings, the Colts will have some work in front of them to own the South again.
1. Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers almost accidentally stumbled into a playoff spot this season. Even though they were in the playoff hunt late into the season, there was no question that the Matt Rhule era wasn’t going to work in Carolina. Rhule went 11-27 in his almost three seasons with the Panthers.
The Panthers went to Steve Wilks after Rhule’s early exit this season. The team looked more competitive under Wilks’s time with the headset. Wilks is being considered for the permanent role, and that decision may end up being a good one for the Panthers. Steady quarterback play next season will be the difference maker in Carolina.